Cost of living: 7 percent above U.S. average
Population: 8.6 million
Best city: Roanoke
PROS: The cost of living is higher than the national average, but senior incomes in Virginia are high, which could balance things out. Healthcare, which is an important issue for retirees, is mostly reasonably priced. Plus, Social Security is not taxed and residents who are 65 and over can deduct $12K of their income.
CONS: Retirees on a tight budget may have a hard time with the higher than average cost of living. And although Virginia has plenty of nice cities like Richmond, Lexington, and Roanoke, they don’t have the big city feel of New York or Los Angeles. If you are looking for a major metropolis, Virginia is probably not right for you.
Cost of living : 12 percent below the U.S. average
Population : 1.97 million
Best city : O’Neill
PROS: The Cornhusker State can offer retirees a very low cost of living and is in good condition financially. Nebraska is ranked sixth in the nation in fiscal health by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
CONS: Although the cost of living is low, Nebraska is not very tax-friendly to seniors with most retirement income taxable. The only way in which Social Security is exempt is if your income is less than $43,000 for single filers or $58,000 for joint filers.
Cost of living : 5 percent below U.S. average
Population : 2.1 million
Best city : Taos
PROS: Don’t believe everything you see on TV, New Mexico is nothing like Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul. It is a beautiful state with stunning views and a relatively peaceful way of life.
CONS: While the beautiful sunsets may fill your heart with joy, the tax situation will not. New Mexico is the “Least Tax-Friendly” state because Social Security, retirement income and pensions are all taxable. The state does offer certain exemptions for low-income seniors.
Cost of living: 17 percent above U.S. average
Population: 5.4 million
Best city: Colorado Springs
PROS: The United Health Foundation ranked Colorado as fourth in senior health rankings in the nation. The state’s seniors also have low rates of obesity and physical inactivity compared to other places. Does that mean that Colorado’s retirees will live longer and healthier lives?
CONS: Buying a house in Colorado is not easy, it can become downright competitive in desirable cities like Denver. The high altitude can also be an adjustment, but after you get used to it, you will probably enjoy the nice weather, until winter that is.
Cost of living : 7 percent below U.S. average
Population : 5.2 million
Best city : Bluffton
PROS: South Carolina, not surprisingly, also has year-round mild weather which makes it an appealing place for retirees. The Palmetto State is also quite affordable, with a cost of living that is seven percent below the U.S. average. It is also tax-friendly for retirees, leaving more money to spend on your quality of life.
CONS: Although the weather is usually mild, the summers in this southern state can get hot and humid. Plus, South Carolina is not the healthiest state around, with plenty of smokers, rising obesity levels and a low consumption level of fruits and vegetables.