A happily retired couple riding together on a moped down a tree-lined road.

Go Ahead, Make the Move: Best States To Retire to in 2024

Moving Tips and Hacks Retirement

by Sofia Rivera Posted on March 22, 2024

Retirement evokes images of the sweet life — sipping coffee on the veranda, enjoying long lunches with friends, going to see a movie whenever you feel like it, or inviting neighbors over for a margarita to watch the sunset from your beach house. But where is that beach house exactly? And can you enjoy that veranda year-round? To find your answers, you’ll have to explore the best states to retire. 

But as you think about shifting from work to play, you may be wondering what states rank as the best states for retirement. It’s only natural — this is an important time in your life you’ve fantasized about for years. You want to get it right. Now is an ideal time to start planning your retirement, and part of that process may be choosing to relocate to a state where the weather meets your needs, you can afford a perfectly sized house, and recreational activities, healthcare, and other costs are in line with your overall retirement budget.

A couple is looking at a map together as the sun shines down over their shoulders. They’re traveling to different states to figure out where they want to retire.

If you’re trying to figure out the best states for retirement, consider starting your search in Florida, Colorado, and Virginia.

What Are the 10 Best States to Retire in 2024?

If you’re ready to enjoy that sweet retiree life and you want to get a move on, here are the best states for retirement, according to WalletHub.*

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

*WalletHub compared data from all 50 states and evaluated each state considering 46 factors, including financial concerns like cost of living and tax-friendliness, as well as living conditions such as weather, access to care, how much of the population is 65+, and bingo halls per capita. 

We’re going to take a deeper look at each of these top 10 states, but first, let’s address a few other things that may be on your mind. 

A retired couple lounges on two wooden chairs on a beach in Florida. They’re holding hands and looking out at the surf of the blue Gulf waters.

A retired couple lounges on two wooden chairs on a beach in Florida. They’re holding hands and looking out at the surf of the blue Gulf waters.

5 Best Mild Climate States for Retirement

You may have noticed that most of the states on our list of 10 best states to retire in 2024 aren’t necessarily “warm” places to live. And while living in a sunny state isn’t for everyone, we know there are still plenty of retirees looking for a hot spot to land. So these are the 5 best states for retirement with mild weather, along with their overall rankings on the Wallethub list:

    1. Florida (best overall)
    2. Virginia (3rd overall)
    3. South Carolina (11th overall)
    4. Arizona (14th overall)
    5. North Carolina (15th overall)

Best States To Retire in 2024 FAQs

Q: What is the best state to retire in 2024 for retirees?
The best state to retire in 2024 is sunny Florida, according to WalletHub, thanks to its relative affordability and high quality of life for seniors. That’s followed by Colorado, Virginia, and Delaware. 

Q: What state has the lowest cost of living for retirees?
Alabama ranks as the most affordable state to retire, per WalletHub. The southern state boasts a cost of living nearly 16 percent below the U.S. average, with particularly low costs for housing, transportation, and groceries. 

Q: What are the most tax-friendly states for retirees?
According to SmartAsset, seven states are “Very Tax Friendly” for retirees. These states have friendly property, sales, estate, and inheritance tax rates. They also have either no state income tax, no retirement income tax, or a substantial tax deduction on retirement income.

    1. Alaska*
    2. Florida*
    3. Georgia
    4. Mississippi
    5. Nevada*
    6. South Dakota*
    7. Wyoming*

*No state income tax
Q: What are the 3 states that don't tax retirement income?
There are actually four states — Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania — in which retirement income is exempt from taxation (including income from Social Security, pension, 401[k], and IRA). Note that New Hampshire does have a 4 percent tax rate on investment income (dividends and interest earned), as of 2024, but that will be phased out by 2027. There are also eight other states, in addition to New Hampshire, that have no state personal income tax. 
Q: What states do not tax pensions and Social Security?
This one’s a big one for retirees when it comes to where to retire. Most states — plus the District of Columbia — do not tax Social Security benefits. And the 15 states listed below don’t tax pension income, making them among the best states to retire with a pension: 

    1. Alabama
    2. Alaska*
    3. Florida*
    4. Hawaii
    5. Illinois
    6. Iowa
    7. Mississippi
    8. Nevada*
    9. New Hampshire*
    10. Pennsylvania
    11. South Dakota*
    12. Tennessee*
    13. Texas*
    14. Washington*
    15. Wyoming*

*No state income tax. Note that New Hampshire does have a 4 percent tax rate on investment income (dividends and interest earned), but that has started being phased out as of 2024.

Q: What states don’t tax your 401K when you retire?
There are just three states that don’t tax distributions from 401(k) plans, IRAs, and TSPs (Thrift Savings Plans) — Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Illinois. Additionally, there are nine states that don’t impose a state income tax — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Note that New Hampshire does have a 4 percent tax rate on investment income (dividends and interest earned), but that is being phased out.

Q: What are the best states to retire in 2024 financially?
Wondering what's the best state to retire in money-wise? “Cost of living” is used to determine the affordability of a region. It takes into account healthcare, groceries & food, housing, transportation, etc. Now, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your retirement home — from weather and quality of life to taxes and cost of living. But if we’re looking at affordability alone, these 10 states rank as the best for retirement, according to WalletHub, with Alabama topping the list as the best state (financially) to retire in.

    1. Alabama
    2. South Carolina
    3. Delaware
    4. Florida
    5. West Virginia
    6. Tennessee
    7. Wyoming
    8. Nevada
    9. Idaho
    10. Georgia

Q: What is the best state to retire in, according to the U.S. News & World Report?
According to the U.S. News and World Report, as of 2024, the best state to retire in is Pennsylvania, based on the fact that Pennsylvania cities hold the top five spots on their list. Pennsylvania made our list, too, though it didn’t snag the top spot.

Top 10 Best States for Retirement in 2024

As important as they are, tax rates aren’t the only thing to consider when finding the right state to retire in. Let’s dive into our top 10 list and see why we consider these states as the best states for retirement in 2024. 

A retired couple enjoys a sunny day at a beach in Florida. The man is casting his fishing line into the clear, blue waters while his wife is sunbathing nearby.

If you’re set on retiring in Florida, check out Pelican Bay, Highland Beach, and Siesta Key, which are the best places in the state to retire, according to Niche.

1. Florida

Once again, Florida leads our list of best states to retire, as it’s one of the most affordable places for retirees. Why? Florida is a “very tax-friendly state” with no state income tax and no tax on pension income — which is great for people who want to enjoy their retirement fund to its fullest potential. The cost of living is 3.1 percent more than the national average, but the state doesn’t have estate or inheritance taxes either, another plus when thinking about the best states to retire for taxes. 

Florida has a thriving senior community with plenty of recreation for retirees, including fantastic beaches, beautiful natural attractions like freshwater springs, and some of the best golf courses in the country. The top three best places to retire in Florida are Pelican Bay, Highland Beach, and Siesta Key, according to Niche.

However, you also have to consider its weather and climate. Florida is known as The Sunshine State and, while it does offer warmer winter temps than most other parts of the country, it also experiences hot, humid summers as well as tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

2. Colorado

If the Florida heat isn’t for you, Colorado’s dry climate might just be. Those hoping to fill their Golden Years with lots of physical activity will thrive here, thanks to the forgiving weather and surplus of stunning mountains, parks, and trails. According to WalletHub, colorful Colorado ranks exceptionally high for the proportion of seniors who are in good health and have a physically active lifestyle. And, perhaps relatedly, it has one of the lowest rates of social isolation among seniors. 

Not to mention, there are no estate or inheritance taxes in Colorado, making it easier to transfer your property or wealth to loved ones later in life. Unsure which Colorado city to hone in on? Check out Denver — the top three best places to retire in Colorado (Columbine Valley, Holly Hills, and Cherry Hills Village) are all in the state’s capital, according to Niche.

3. Virginia

Ever thought about living in sweet Virginia? Those looking for the best states to retire definitely should. Though the cost of living is a tad above the national average, it is the 11th most taxpayer-friendly state, per WalletHub (no taxes on Social Security income here!). 

And when it comes to protecting seniors and promoting their health, Virginia shines. There’s great access to top-notch geriatrics hospitals and, importantly, it is one of the best states for elder abuse protection

On the fun side of things, living in Virginia means access to over 7,000 miles of lovely shoreline and countless weekend trips within easy driving distance, from Charlotte, NC, to Washington, D.C. — not to mention tons of exciting day trips within the state itself. If you’re unsure where to start your search, take a look at Rockwood, Massanetta Springs, and Belmont Estates, which Niche dubs some of the best places to retire in Virginia.

4. Delaware

Delaware may be small, but it’s got a lot of character. This northeast coastal state is chock full of charming little towns with plenty to keep you busy in your retirement. From Atlantic Coast towns like Rehoboth Beach to quiet, suburban Greenville, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Delaware. Not to mention, the state’s close proximity to other large metropolises (Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Philadelphia, to name a few). 

While the cost of living is a bit higher in Delaware than the national average, the state income tax is relatively low, and there’s no state or local sales tax. Residents also enjoy solid access to healthcare and a lower risk of social isolation. 

If you enjoy cozying up to a fire in the winter, you’ll have plenty of opportunities with Delaware’s long, snowy winters. And don’t worry if the cold isn’t your thing; the spring and autumn months in Delaware are gorgeous, and the summers are mild. 

Niche lists Bethany Beach, Rehoboth Beach, and Lewes as the top three best places to retire in Delaware, so be sure to check those out. 

Two men and a woman on horseback on a snowy Wyoming ranch. Mountains tower in the background

Wyoming’s natural scenery is so stunning, it's no wonder it's been dubbed one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. From Yellowstone to Grand Teton, be sure to check out its national parks.

5. Wyoming

Not only do Wyoming residents enjoy a cost of living 2.5 percent below the national average, but they pay a smaller proportion of their income toward taxes than they would in most other states. Notably, it’s one of the nine states with no state income tax.

It also doesn’t hurt that Wyoming’s natural scenery is stunning. It’s no wonder Thrillist dubbed it the 10th most beautiful state in the U.S. You’ve most definitely heard of Yellowstone National Park, which brings in droves of visitors every year with its unbelievable geysers, hot springs, majestic canyons, and abundant wildlife. But there are so many other natural beauties to see in Wyoming, too, from Grand Teton National Park to Red Canyon

As for the best places to retire in Wyoming, Niche recommends Ranchettes (also ranked the ninth best place to live overall in Wyoming), Thermopolis (the Wyoming city with the second-lowest cost of living), and Worland (ranked the #1 best place to buy a house in Wyoming).

6. Idaho

  • Average home value: $443,500
  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,550
  • State income tax: 5.8%
  • Cost of living: 105.5
  • Population 65+ years: 17%

Idaho has landed on many coveted lists in recent years, from the most affordable states for retirees in the U.S. to the all-around best places to live in the country. Why wouldn’t you want to call the Gem State home? Locals boast about the abundance of gorgeous natural scenery, which is great for retirees who want to stay physically active and embrace the great outdoors. They also tout the state’s small-town friendliness that makes newcomers feel welcome — essential when finding a new home for your golden years. 

Idaho is also known for its 30 historic byways, so even if you’re not up to exploring the lush, varied surroundings (think: mountains, deserts, lakes, rivers) on foot, you can almost always find a scenic route to drive. A note of safety, though: Idahoans experience all four seasons, including cold, snowy winters, where the average snowfall is a whopping 184 inches. So be sure to get your snow tires checked and your parka packed, and know that if you’re not one for cold weather, there’s always sunny Florida.  

Though the cost of living is slightly above average, it’s more affordable than many states, and retirees will appreciate the lack of tax on Social Security income. It offers other retirement fund-saving perks, too, like no estate or inheritance tax, and a homeowner’s exemption tax that benefits those who own their homes. When considering where to buy property, take a look at Sun Valley, Wallace, and Ketchum, which Niche names three of the best places to retire in Idaho

7. New Hampshire

If you decide to retire in New Hampshire, you’re in good company. More than a fifth of the population is over the age of 65, after all, and it’s only growing. What does retiring here look like, though? Think: Driving to charming Portsmouth for boutique shopping and a bite to eat, enjoying the natural beauty of the White Mountains and the 18 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, and an easy drive for day trips to nearby cities like Boston. The Granite State may be small, but it is certainly mighty.

New Hampshire also enjoys the huge benefit of having no state income tax and no sales tax! However, it’s worth noting that it does have some of the highest property taxes in the country, and the cost of living is almost 6 percent above the national average. Retirees can rest easy, though, knowing that it also has one of the lowest crime rates in the country

When you’re looking for which town to settle down in, consider this guide to the best places for seniors to live in New Hampshire. Exeter, Peterborough (which Niche dubs the best place to retire in New Hampshire), and Gildford top the list, with lovely Portsmouth close behind.

8. Minnesota

Retiring in Minnesota means having unparalleled access to good healthcare: A big part of the reason for its eighth-place ranking is because it comes in first place in the healthcare facilities per capita category. It also placed third in life expectancy, third in having an elderly-friendly labor market, and — here’s a fun one — first in number of theaters per capita. 

It’s also not hard to live affordably in Minnesota, thanks to its below-average cost of living, which includes lower costs when it comes to groceries, healthcare, utilities, and transportation. Housing is slightly above average, though pretty affordable compared to many other states — the average home value is just below $325,000. 

Some of the best places to retire in Minnesota, according to Niche, are Mendota Heights, Lake City, and Edina. Wherever you live, though, be sure to travel around the state to visit sites of interest like the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Mall of America, and Gooseberry Falls State Park, just to name a few of the incredibly diverse things to do around the state. 

9. Montana

When it comes to the best states to retire, Montana ranks particularly high in the quality of life category, making it one of the best places for seniors to live. And it’s not hard to realize why when you consider the breathtaking scenery (don’t miss out on Glacier National Park), the emphasis on outdoor recreational activities (fishing, walking, hiking, skiing, you name it), and the plethora of small towns with a laid-back lifestyle. 

On the flip side, those thinking about retiring in Montana should keep in mind that the winters can be long and harsh, which can contribute to feeling isolated, particularly if you do live in one of those small, quaint towns. 

When it comes to affordability, Montana is right on par with the national average, so if you’re moving from a more expensive state, your wallet will likely breathe a sigh of relief here. And in terms of costs of groceries, health, utilities, and transportation, costs are actually below the national average. (Another upside: There’s no sales tax in this state!) It’s housing costs that you’ll need to allocate more of your retirement funds toward, as the average home value is around $448,000, making it one of the more expensive markets on this list. 

Some of the best places to retire in Montana, according to Niche, are Libby, Whitefish, Hamilton, and Deer Lodge. 

10. Pennsylvania

With no tax on retirement income, a cost of living below the national average, affordable housing, and a relatively low state income tax rate compared to other states in the Northeast, Pennsylvania is definitely a contender for one of the best states to retire to. History buffs will delight in the many historic sites and buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. If you’re more of a nature-lover, there are 86,000 miles of rivers and streams, over 6,700 miles of trails, 22 ski resorts, and 124 free state parks, where you can hike, bike, and ski to your heart’s content. And if you’ve even wanted to explore the Appalachian Trail, that’s here, too! Additionally, Pennsylvania’s cities are home to world-class museums, art, dining, breweries, and more pro sports teams than you can shake a stick at. Moving to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, in particular, will provide plenty of opportunities for big-city living, if that’s what you’re looking for.

It’s important to note, though, that Pennsylvania experiences harsh winters with lots of snow, and the state is known for having bad traffic, in general — both reasons why driving here can be difficult. There are also additional taxes to consider. For instance, municipalities and school districts can impose an additional tax on residents, called a local Earned Income Tax (EIT).

According to Niche, the best places to retire in Pennsylvania are Penn Wynne, Spring House, and Shrewsbury.

Other Popular Retirement States

There are as many opinions on places to retire as there are on retirement itself — especially in a country as large and diverse as the United States. For example, Retirement Living ranked New Hampshire as the best state to retire in its 2024 study, followed by Maine, Iowa, Idaho, and Mississippi. Why New Hampshire? Retirement Living’s methodology evaluated quality of life and cost of living using 13 metrics. New Hampshire ranked first for affordability and 13th for quality of life, while Maine came in 5th in affordability and 15th in quality of life, enough to push the Pine Tree State into 2nd place. 

Worst States for Retirement

Now that we’ve covered some of the best retirement states, you may be wondering which states not to retire in. According to WalletHub, the five worst states for retirement are Kentucky, New Jersey, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Oklahoma. Here are some of the reasons why:

Though Kentucky has a below-average cost of living, it has a flat rate state income tax of 4.5 percent and ranks low in WalletHub’s evaluations of quality of life and health care. 

New Jersey has a cost of living almost 20 percent higher than the national average, a state income tax that can range up to 10.75 percent, and a climate that swings from cold, snowy winters to warm, humid summers. 

Mississippi has a low cost of living, but older residents have a high risk of social isolation

Rhode Island, on the other hand, ranks decently well for health care, but residents there have to fund an above-average cost of living, which can be stressful in retirement. 

And while Oklahoma ranks fairly well for affordability (thanks in part to the cost of living nearly 18 percent below the national average), it has one of the lowest rankings for quality of life — those looking to retire there should be wary of tornados, extreme temperatures, and limited access to public transport and healthcare options

An older man is loading a PODS container in the driveway of his home.

Now that you have an idea of the best states to retire, let PODS help to make your move as smooth as possible, so you can start relaxing in your dream retirement destination in no time. 

Getting Ready To Make the Big Move

While affordability and tax burden are sensible things to consider when choosing a retirement destination, there are always other factors to consider, such as where your children and grandkids are living. And — say you end up retiring in Maine — you could always become a snowbird and travel to Georgia or Florida for the colder months. Just something to think about!

But regardless of where you decide to move, you’ll inevitably need to figure out the ins and outs of how you’ll get there. If the days of DIYing it with a moving truck are behind you, consider using portable moving and storage containers. PODS will deliver a container straight to your driveway, where you can take all the time you need to pack your things up. The best part? If you need help with the lifting and loading, PODS can refer you to local packing and loading help. Once everything is loaded and ready to roll, PODS will pick up your container and drive it to your new home, so you can enjoy the journey to your new retirement state and dream home. You deserve it!

Check out the PODS Blog for everything moving and storage — from packing tips and neighborhood guides to decluttering and downsizing, we’ve got you covered.

Sofia Rivera is a Brooklyn-based lifestyle editor and frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Boston magazine, Apartment Therapy, and more. You can most often find her redecorating her apartment, trying out a new recipe, or trekking all over the city.  

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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What about Healthcare? I would think as you age you would want to make sure you have availability to good healthcare and senior services should things turn.
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Some of us don't care if it's not extremely warm!
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