May 28, 2024

Move over, Florida, a new locale ranks as the best state to retire in.

Although in 2022 the Sunshine State was named the No. 1 state to retire in, Virginia has taken the top spot this year, according to personal finance website WalletHub’s “2023’s Best States to Retire” study.

WalletHub evaluated all 50 U.S. states in three key categories: affordability, quality of life and access to health care. Each category factored in data from various agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Council for Community and Economic Research.

A state’s overall retirement friendliness was based on its total score across all three categories. So even if a state scored high for affordability, lower scores for quality of life and health care could bring down its overall rank.

Virginia ranked 16th for affordability, and 11th for both quality of life and health care, but still earned the highest score overall. Looking at just affordability, Alabama ranked as the cheapest state to retire in.

Florida came in ninth in affordability and fourth in quality of life, but its 28th place ranking for health care brought down its overall ranking.

Here are the 10 best states to retire in, according to WalletHub:

  1. Virginia
  2. Florida
  3. Colorado
  4. Wyoming
  5. Delaware
  6. New Hampshire
  7. South Dakota
  8. Minnesota
  9. Idaho
  10. North Dakota

Remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to retire, and where someone chooses to spend their post-work years will depend on various factors.

“When people think about retirement, where to live really depends on your priorities and goals,” Dawn Carr, a professor and faculty associate at Florida State University’s Pepper Institution on Aging and Public Policy, said in WalletHub’s study.

Your priority may be to live in a less expensive state, while someone else may want to live closer to family.

Regardless of where you hope to retire, try spending time at that location during different seasons of the year to get a feel for what it might be like to actually live there. This will also allow you to get a sense of what kind of opportunities a potential retirement community may offer.

“Choosing where to live is a big move in life and deserves all the upfront work necessary to check out those desires and assumptions as best as possible,” Kathy Black, a professor of aging studies at the University of South Florida, said in WalletHub’s report.

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