Florida has long been hailed as the stereotypical place to retire, but states like Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and even Iowa have been ranking high on Best States to Retire lists in recent years. Although it’s easy to determine which states have been deemed the best places in America to retire, avoiding the worst places may take a little more homework.
The Worst States for Retirees
Thanks to oppressive property taxes, Massachusetts comes in at the fifth worst place to retire. Retirees, 65 and older, end up paying 4.6% of the average income in property taxes, which is much higher than the 55 to 64 age bracket.
Vermont comes in at number four for unfunded pension liabilities, high foreclosure rates and steady unemployment and Vermont is also cursed with those high New England property taxes.
Rhode Island is number three on the Worst States for Retirees list due to high taxes. Despite the state’s beautiful coastlines and harbors, the cost of living is just too high for most residents, especially those 65 and older.
Illinois may not be in New England, but it ranks number two on the list. This state lacks pension funding, has a high percentage of unemployment, is among the worst states for foreclosures and is dealing with deficit spending. It was even borrowing money to fund pensions and the fiscal health of Illinois is the worst of any other state. In fact, Illinois used to be considered the worst place in America to retire, at least until 2012.
This year, Connecticut has taken over the top spot on the worst list, for several reasons. The state has shockingly high property taxes and personal income taxes and the cost of living is higher than just about anywhere else in the United States. Although it’s an incredibly beautiful state to spend your waning ‘golden years’, you could end up broke shortly after settling in.
This isn’t to say that if you’ve lived in one of these states all your life that you have to put your house up for sale and move to Kentucky, but it does mean that you have to carefully plan ahead before retirement hits.
Try to get out of debt before retiring. This includes paying off your mortgage and getting those credit card balances down to zero. You can do this more easily by applying for a balance transfer card.
A balance transfer tends to come with a balance transfer fee, but it’s usually worth the cost if you can get your debt combined onto one card. This allows you to make one monthly payment rather than several and you can whittle away that balance much quicker.
Don’t touch your retirement savings until you retire and do all you can with however many years you have left in the workforce to contribute to your retirement accounts. The more you put in now, the more comfortable you will be later, regardless of which state you are living in.