There are states for retirement that everyone considers, like Florida and there are states people forget about like West Virginia, and then there is California. California ranks higher on our list than most because although it has the highest income tax in the country, the 2nd highest real estate prices, abysmal cost of living and higher than average crime, it does have factors that might outweigh those things for retirees. For example, California has oppressive taxes, but offers exemptions on social security. It’s got ridiculous real estate prices but offers the 6th best health care in the country, and based on how we had to do the numbers with health care, that’s not an easy feat for a big state. In our study, California ranked 10th in weather but that’s because we based it on numbers because anyone that’s been to California will tell it might have the best weather of any state in the nation.
In our view, California is the state everyone wishes they could retire to if money, politics and earthquakes weren’t in the equation. Amazing beaches, mountains, wine country and golf. All the conveniences of having multiple major cities nearby and amazing health care. These features help make it the 23rd best state retire to on our list. If you could retire anywhere and you had billions, this is probably the state you choose.
Read that last line in the paragraph above. If money were no object everyone would choose California, but for most retirees money matters. We think California is a viable option if you don’t need to work during your retirement and you’re willing to live further away from many of the things that attracted you to California in the first place. For everyone else, there are cheaper options and with less oppressive taxes. Yes, you should also consider earthquakes as part of your retirement plan here. If they bother you, take California off your list.
Best Retirement Cities reviewed all 50 states against 10 different retirement criteria to determine what was truly the best state to retire to.