The 12 Worst States to Retire in 2024 in the US

Mitch
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As the golden years approach, many of us dream of a comfortable and relaxing haven to stretch our legs, soak up the sun, and savor our hard-earned retirement. With considerations like cost of living, healthcare accessibility, and quality of life, some states may not make the cut for your happily ever after.

Hold on to your armchairs, folks! We’re about to unveil the 12 states you should think twice before sending out your change-of-address cards for retirement in 2024.

Alaska

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
Diego Delso via Wikimedia Commons

 

While the allure of the Northern Lights and vast wilderness of Alaska might sound appealing, the harsh reality of high living costs, coupled with the most expensive healthcare in the nation, can be a financial strain for those on a fixed income.

The extreme cold and isolation can also pose physical and social challenges – this isn’t the ideal place for retirees seeking a bustling social scene or readily accessible amenities. It sure is beautiful, but it might be best appreciated through a postcard for retirees.

New York

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
King of Hearts via Wikimedia Commons

 

Known for its vibrant cultural scene, trendiest fashion, and iconic landmarks, the Big Apple does have its share of allure. According to WalletHub’s 2024 rankings, it surfaces as one of the worst states for retirement primarily due to its high cost of living, healthcare costs running higher than the national average, and substantial taxes.

Additionally, the hustle and bustle of city life might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you yearn for tranquil, slow-paced twilight years – making it a tough apple to swallow for those living on a retirement income.

New Mexico

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

 

While the state boasts a rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes, it is plagued with high crime rates and a less-than-stellar healthcare system. According to FBI data, New Mexico has the fourth-highest violent crime rate and the second-highest property crime rate in the nation.

Moreover, the United Health Foundation ranks the state’s healthcare system as the eighth-worst in the country. Despite the allure of its vibrant art scene and tantalizing chili peppers, retirees might find the state’s practical realities less than enchanting.

Washington

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
Chelles1980 via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Pacific Northwest’s gem, Washington, with its lush landscapes and bustling tech scene, is a favorite among adventure seekers and innovators. However, retirees may find the cost of living to be a hurdle too high.

Seattle, for instance, has a cost of living index that’s 72.3% higher than the national average. Additionally, the state’s sales tax, one of the highest in the U.S., can significantly bite a retiree’s budget. Even the typically cooler weather can disadvantage those seeking a warmer climate in their golden years.

California

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
Christian Mehlführer via Wikimedia Commons

 

Let’s take a detour to the sunny state of California, known for its glamorous Hollywood stars, stunning beaches, and tech-savvy Silicon Valley. However, regarding retirement, California might not be as golden as it seems. The cost of living is sky-high, making it one of the most expensive states in the country.

The median home cost, for instance, dwarfs the national average. Then there’s the state’s infamous tax rates – among the highest nationwide. Add to this the state’s precarious propensity for natural disasters, and California slips into the list of the 10 worst states for retirees in 2024.

Texas

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
Leaflet via Wikimedia Commons

 

Buckle up; we’re heading to the Lone Star State. Despite its favorable tax environment with no state income tax, Texas stumbles when it comes to healthcare and overall living costs. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Texas ranks 40th in the nation for healthcare, making it a concern for those in their golden years.

Additionally, while it might seem tantalizingly low in some rural towns, the cost of living can skyrocket in bustling urban landscapes like Dallas or Austin. Therefore, be prepared to saddle up for a wild cost variation ride in Texas!

Arkansas

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
RBraley via Wikimedia Commons

 

While its nickname, “The Natural State,” might paint a picture of endless natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, the retirement scene is less than idyllic. Data reveals that Arkansas has one of the highest poverty rates among seniors nationwide, nudging it into our top ten.

The state’s healthcare system also leaves much to be desired, with a scarcity of top-tier medical facilities. Additionally, the state tax system isn’t very friendly to retirees, with social security income and pensions subject to tax. Therefore, despite its natural allure, retiring in Arkansas might not be as peachy as it first appears.

Oklahoma

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
Michael Barera via Wikimedia Commons

 

Unfortunately, Oklahoma, known for its cowboy culture and capacious plains, ranks unfavorably when it comes to retiree living. Statistically, Oklahoma has a higher-than-average crime rate, which retirees may find unsettling.

Despite having a cost of living 14.8% below the national average, healthcare quality in Oklahoma is comparatively low – a crucial factor to consider as health needs often increase with age. And let’s not overlook the extreme weather; tornado season isn’t exactly a retiree’s delight!

West Virginia

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
ForestWander via Wikimedia Commons

 

While the state’s cost of living is well below the national average, an appealing factor for many retirees, other aspects of life in the Mountain State are less inviting. Healthcare quality ranks among the lowest in the U.S., and the state’s economy has struggled to diversify beyond the declining coal industry.

The poverty rate, a concerning 17.8%, reflects these economic struggles. Furthermore, the state’s well-being index score is low, indicating that residents report lower satisfaction with their environment, social ties, financial security, and physical health. These factors make West Virginia a challenging option for retirees aiming for a carefree post-work life.

Alabama

The 10 worst states to retire in 2023 in the US
Rivers Langley via Wikimedia Commons

 

The Heart of Dixie brims with charm, history, and classic Southern comfort, but the numbers tell a different story for retirees. A significant concern is the state’s healthcare infrastructure, which ranks among the lowest nationwide, putting a strain on older adults.

Furthermore, Alabama’s crime rate is higher than the national average, adding a layer of security concerns to retirement life. Lastly, while the cost of living is low, the state’s poverty rate is alarmingly high at 16.9%, suggesting many residents lack financial stability. So, before the sweet lullaby of southern hospitality lures you, it’s essential to consider these economic factors.

Tennessee

Tennessee
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Tennessee offers affordability, but retirees prioritize health and financial stability as they age. However, the state faces a shortage of medical personnel, especially in dental and mental health offices. Retirees in rural areas must travel longer distances for hospitals. Crime is a concern, so retirees should examine crime statistics. Small towns provide a secure environment with access to amenities found in larger cities like Memphis and Chattanooga, despite higher crime rates there.

Mississippi

Mississippi
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Mississippi emanates small-town charm, rendering it an idyllic haven for retirees seeking tranquility. However, rural dwelling presents its own unique set of trials. This captivating state, affectionately referred to as the Magnolia State, boasts a humid, subtropical climate that contributes to its distinction as one of the rainiest regions in the U.S. Unfortunately, it also contends with below-average life expectancy rates and a concerning poverty level, second only to Louisiana.

Despite these adversities, Mississippi remains an irresistible choice for those yearning for a serene and picturesque abode.

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Author

  • Mitch

    A computer science enthusiast with a keen interest in technology and games, Mitchelle (Mitch) contributes a cutting-edge perspective to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrating her academic knowledge with her personal passions

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