10 Best U.S. States to Retire Comfortably in 2020

senior couple, relaxing by the lake, best states to retire

Having reached your golden years, you are finally free to build a brand new home sweet home in your dream place. You might love the idea of endless nights of stargazing in the countryside, or you might prefer to spend your afternoons admiring artworks in museums. Everyone has a different idea of their ideal retirement place. But before you start dreaming about the type of retirement you wish to have, you should always first consider three crucial aspects which would influence your idea of which are the best states to retire in — Affordability, quality of life, and access to quality healthcare.

Financial services hub WalletHub has recently published a research comparing 50 states, ranking them across 47 metrics in these three broad categories. WalletHub gave the affordability section the most weight at 40%, while the quality of life and healthcare access was equally split by 30% each. Based on WalletHub’s analysis, here is the list of the 10 best states to retire in 2020. We have further included some of the best places to retire within these states, so you will be able to better envision your retirement life in these places.

Get ready to be inspired now!


1. Florida

sunny beach, Key West, Florida, best states to retire
Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay.

Number One goes to the Sunshine State, Florida. Florida has practically become the epitome of retirement for seniors. Its sunny skies, warm weather, and sandy beaches make it immensely alluring to seniors tired of the frigid chill of winters. Its friendly tax system also adds to its retirement appeal. It ranks 2nd in affordability, 5th in its quality of life, and 26th in healthcare.

Besides its world-famous white-sand beaches, there are also many other attractions in Florida, from museums to theatres and of course, Disney World in Orlando. The subtropical climate encourages you to be active and healthy, as you can take up a myriad of hobbies from surfing to swimming. You will also get to make many friends of your age as the Sunshine State draws seniors from all over the country. There are many retirement communities in Florida, and some of the more popular places are Sarasota and Naples. Florida boasts 13 international airports and many regional airports, which makes it easy for you to stay connected with your family. However, as it is also a popular tourist destination, it may not suit people looking for a more subdued retirement.

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: No
Average Home Price: $245,169
Climate: Humid-subtropical


2. Colorado

Denver, Colorado, best states to retire
Image by David Mark from Pixabay.

Colorado draws retirees not only because of its majestic views and wealth of recreational activities, but also its extensive tax benefits and premium health facilities. Its ranks 4th in healthcare, 11 in quality of life, and 17th in affordability. The state has among the lowest retirement income taxes and property taxes in the country. And while sales tax may be relatively high, food and medicine are exempt. Colorado also has over 100 hospitals, amongst them the nationally ranked UCHealth University of Colorado.

The Centennial State has a diverse geography, from sandy dunes to snowy mountains and sparkling lakes, and an unparalleled geological marvel, the Garden of the Gods. All these stunning places offer you endless outdoor fun year-round. Cycle, hike, ski, or even soar to the skies in a hot-air balloon, it is entirely up to you to pick your retirement adventure! Moreover, Colorado’s mild climate means that you get to enjoy the beauty of four seasons without the pain of freezing cold. You can also get to choose your retirement style in Colorado, for this state has the perfect balance of small tranquil towns like Windsor and thriving cities like Denver, which is also one of the best places to live in the U.S right now!

State tax on Social Security: Partial
State tax on Pensions: Partial
Average Home Price: $397,820
Climate: Semi-arid steppe


3. New Hampshire

waterfall in autumn, New Hampshire, best states to retire
Image by Stanley Zimny from Flickr.

New Hampshire might not be on your top list of dream retirement states, for most of us prefer to spend the rest of our lives basking under the warm sun rather than tough it out in the cold. And yet, New Hampshire is in fact every taxpayer’s dream state, for it does not tax personal income and sales. On the flip side, New Hampshire has one of the highest property taxes in the country. The Granite State ranks 4th in quality of life, 6th in healthcare, and 27th in affordability.

New Hampshire is unrivaled in beauty during fall, with beautiful fiery fall foliage adorning its charming historic homes and framing bubbling streams. And if you are a winter lover, you will find yourself enthralled by the Granite State’s wintry beauty. Snow and ice are celebrated here with winter festivals, impressive ice sculptures, and even an ice castle! Apart from its enchanting sights, there is also a plethora of things you can do, from hiking to snowmobiling. Its rural beauty is highlighted in its charming rural towns like Peterborough or Campton which beckons seniors looking for peace and quiet away from the hustle of city life.

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: No
Average Home Price: $290,163
Climate: Humid-continental


4. Utah

Monument Valley, Utah, best states to retire
Image by ArtTower from Pixabay.

Utah, ranking 15th in affordability, 17th in healthcare, and 18th in quality of life is every nature lover’s heaven. It is home to five National Parks which all provide magnificent sceneries unlike any other. You can live out the rest of your life in a constant adventure as you hike through sculpted red canyons and ride your steed along glimmering alpine lakes. And in winter, you can enjoy world-class skiing in Utah’s famous powdery snow.

Besides its beautiful sights and recreational activities, The Beehive State also has many other attractive factors for retirees. Ranking highly in both affordability and healthcare, Utah provides both affordable and high-quality healthcare services, with its top hospital, University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, specializing in geriatric care. Its property taxes are also some of the lowest in the country. It too has a remarkably low crime rate, making it a safe and beautiful home. Some of the best cities to retire in Utah are the St. George and Park City.

State tax on Social Security: Yes
State tax on Pensions: Partial
Average Home Price: $348,376
Climate: Semi-arid steppe


5. Wyoming

Devils Tower, Wyoming
Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay.

Wyoming is another state that nature lovers thrive in. The Cowboy State is not only filled with places of natural beauty, including the world-renowned Yellowstone National Park, it also has low retirement and property taxes. It ranks 11th in affordability, 12th in quality of life, and 33rd in healthcare.

Wyoming is characterized by a diverse terrain spanning from arid plains to rugged mountains. With its vast expanse of natural landscapes, Wyoming is a great place for retirees looking to lead an active lifestyle, with plenty of outdoor recreation like hiking and fishing. You can stay healthy and active all year round, for even in winter, there is a multitude of activities to engage in, such as snowshoeing and dog sledding! There are quite a few places in Wyoming that are great to retire in, such as its capital, Cheyenne, or resort towns like Jackson Hole.

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: No
Average Home Price: $250,890
Climate: Semi-arid continental


6. Delaware

boats in a river, Lewes, Delaware
Image by Lee Cannon from Flickr.

Delaware is not only tax-friendly for retirees, it is also an inexpensive place to retire in. It ranks 7th in affordability, 18th in healthcare, and 35th in quality of life. This state has no sales tax and its property tax rates are one of the lowest in the U.S. And if you had wanted to retire in Florida for its beaches but think you might tire of a summer that never ends, Delaware is for you. Delaware, with its myriad of sandy beaches, is made for beach lovers who also enjoy the changing beauty of four seasons.

The Diamond State may be the second smallest state in the country, but there is a treasure trove of things to do in this tiny but robust state. On one hand, it is rich in history and culture, with an abundance of regal historic buildings like the DuPont mansions. On the other, beach lovers will be delighted by its picture perfect-beaches, perfect for luxurious sunbaths in summer. And one of the best places to retire in Delaware is unsurprisingly a beach resort town — Rehoboth Beach.

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: Partial
Average Home Price: $254,108
Climate: Between humid-subtropical and humid-continental


7. Virginia

historical building, Winchester, Virginia
Image by Brent Moore from Flickr.

Virginia has relatively low retirement taxes and low property tax rates, which makes the state appealing to budget-conscious retirees. Its crime rates are also among the lowest in the country. The state ranks 13th in quality of life, 18th in affordability, and 24th in healthcare. It is also a disabled-friendly state, with many wheelchair accessible places and attractions. Hence it would be ideal for retirees with mobility-impairment.

Surrounded by sandy beaches and rugged mountains, living in the Old Dominion would give you the best of both worlds whereby you can hit the beach on one day and hike the mountains on the next. Virginia also has a long and substantial history which is reflected in historical towns like Williamsburg and Winchester. These lovely towns are the ultimate retirement utopia for history aficionados. It also enjoys many festivals all year round, so you will never run out of activities to do!

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: Partial
Average Home Price: $285,229
Climate: Humid-subtropical


8. Wisconsin

lake city, Madison, Wisconsin
Image by David Mark from Pixabay.

Wisconsin ranks 8th in quality of life but is placed at 22nd for healthcare and 24th for affordability. Though the property taxes can be high in this state, it offers full sales tax exemptions not just for groceries but also for medicine. This will ease your wallet quite a fair bit, as medical care can take up a huge part of your expenses.

The Badger State is a fantastic place for foodies, as it is famous for its cheese and beer. Wisconsin is the largest cheese-producing state in the country and is home to the Brew City, Milwaukee. There are also many opportunities for outdoor recreation, from fishing in any of its 15, 000 inland lakes to hunting for a white-tailed deer or even a black bear!

Its capital, Madison, has been consistently rated as one of the best cities to retire. Madison is a beautiful city surrounded by not one, but five sparkling lakes. It is not only a picturesque city, for it also has a rich cultural scene. You can fully indulge in the arts by catching live music or visiting the city’s finest museums. However, the temperatures in Wisconsin can dip to below freezing in winter, hence it may not be suitable for people who don’t enjoy the cold.

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: Partial
Average Home Price: $202,029
Climate: Humid-continental


9. Idaho

ski slope, snowy mountain, Sun Valley, Idaho
Image by Alistair Howard from Flickr.

Idaho has a lower cost of living than average, making it rank 13th in its affordability and 19th in quality of life, but 30th in healthcare. As Idaho is pretty remote, you may lack access to quality healthcare. But, it does have one of the lowest crime rates in the country, making it one of the safest places to live in.

Its climate is mild, and you get to enjoy all four seasons with breathtaking mountain sceneries. Even if you are not a mountain person, the Gem State has diverse geography with numerous lakes, meadows, and forests for you to explore. Idaho is the perfect place for nature enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, and even horseback riding! Active retirees would love living in Sun Valley or Twin Falls, where you can enjoy a great variety of outdoor adventures.

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: Partial
Average Home Price: $285,982
Climate: Semi-arid steppe


10. Iowa

people cycling, High Trestle Trail Bridge, Iowa
Image by Phil Roeder from Flickr.

Iowa ranks 7th in quality of life, 13th in terms of healthcare, and 31st in affordability. Iowa is also moderately-tax friendly for retirees, and residents are exempted from sales tax on medicine and food. But its property taxes are on the higher side due to its low home values.

Its weather can be on the extreme side, with incredibly hot summers and freezing winters. Despite this, there is a range of activities to appeal to almost everyone in the Hawkeye State. With over 1,600 miles of bike trails, active retirees will enjoy cycling through urban landscapes and rural countries. The surrounding parks and lakes also offer you hiking and fishing opportunities.

Iowa is one of the top agricultural states in the country, so you can always enjoy fresh produce in its many farm-to-table events. Nature lovers will love living in Decorah, a beautiful small town surrounded by rollings hills and rivers. More of a literary buff? Iowa City supports writers and celebrates the literary scene with its Literary Walk and annual Iowa City Book Festival.

State tax on Social Security: No
State tax on Pensions: Partial
Average Home Price: $152,885
Climate: Humid-continental