Where Should I Retire In The USA in 2023

Updated 2022:  This is really the question that started this site 5 years ago.   We wanted to find a way to figure out what is the best place to retire to?   What factors would go into that decision.  If you could live anywhere in the US, where would it be?  In addition, what will be different in 10 or 20 years that you might consider for the state.

If you’re getting close to retirement you’re also getting close to a decision on where to live.  The question of Where Should I Retire in the USA is one that comes up every year for groups of professionals that are ready for the next stage of their life.

For many looking to retire, being close to family is a big concern.  Others still will choose to be on the beach, likely some dreamy place like buying a condo on Marco Island.  When we sat down to examine the best place to retire we look at the entire USA.  Luckily for everyone, there’s a lot of research on this very topic. 

How To Decide Where To Retire To

It’s not as simple as looking at our list of best states to retire to and picking a state.  You need to think more about the different options the actual communities have to offer.

Where does your family live?

If you are going to move for your retirement you don’t want to move to San Francisco while your family lives in Ann Arbor, MI.  Unless of course, you’re trying move to a place to entice your family to come visit you.  While we tend to look at metrics, family seems to be the biggest factor.  Why else would there be so many choosing to retire to places like Maine?

Where would you like to live?

You might be thinking, “duh” but so many retirees don’t even consider this.  In fact, many choose to live close to where they have always lived.   In our research, family and familiarity were the 2 big reasons that retirees chose a destination.   That could be fine if you retire to Arkansas where it’s affordable and you know everyone, but if you’re in a state like Missouri, it might be time to check out why so many are retiring in the southeast.     It’s time to live a little, you’ve earned it.

Does climate affect your health?

The short answer is going to be yes no matter who you are.  Let’s say you always wanted to live in Florida.  In this example, you’d need to be aware of the unrelenting heat and humidity as well as allergens in the air if you’re unfamiliar with them.  Someone with an allergy problem and asthma might not want to move to Florida and may have to settle on the East Coast where it’s a bit cooler (a few degrees makes a big difference) and where the allergy season is shorter.   Do you hate bugs, then the south east is not the place for you, the north west might be more to your liking.

What do the metrics say about retirement?

There are lists everywhere you can think of about where to retire in the USA, including ours which we are partial to.  We tend to think Forbes list is a bit more accurate than others doing research.  For example, AARP has San Francisco as the most livable city for people over 50, while this might be true for Warren Buffet, we doubt San Fracisco is the ideal place for the average retiree.  Whereas Forbes has Athens GA listed as the best place to retire.  In fact, AARP doesn’t list a single Southern state, choosing to opt for places in California (we agree on that one) and bigger cities.   AARP livability index must not include crime or cost of living because their list features Boston and Manhattan, two cities that are pretty expensive.

What’s Your Income Going To Look Like?

Do you plan on working? Do you have a pension?  Did you know there are states without income taxes and there are states that tax your social security?  Picking wrong here could make a big impact on where you live.  For example, Minnesota has a high income tax, taxes social security has a high sales tax, making it undesirable for pretty much any retiree, no matter how big of a Twins fan they are.  This is where retirement planning comes in handy.   Getting a good planner is less about them giving you stock tips and more about them planning your income in your retirement years so that it doesn’t get wasted by the government.

Ultimately the decision is obviously yours but do not let it cause you stress.  Plan it out and enjoy the for many what is a breath of new life and a new place to live.