top of page
Return to this month's index page
This Month's Cover

Summer 2016


Ranked: 10 Best (and Worst) States
Where You Can Retire Rich

Want to live large in your postemployment years? Here's where your money will go the furthest.

'Do I have enough money saved for retirement?' — it's a question on the minds of many soontobe retirees and Americans across the country — and for good reason. Surprisingly, onethird of Americans lack any retirement savings.

Best and Worst States to Retire Rich


Don't see your state? View the entire ranking here:

To help Americans who look forward to retiring and preserving a quality lifestyle, GOBankingRates surveyed all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to determine not only what's affordable, but where you can actually maximize your retirement savings and live comfortably.

Based off of taxes, living expenses, banking rates, health insurance costs and Social Security payments, here is your financial guide to the best and worst states to retire rich.

Retirees Might Consider Migrating to the Right

  • Retirees Might Consider Migrating to the Right
  • The 10 best states to retire rich lie east of the Mississippi River!
  • New Jersey pays the most Social Security money to retirees, with an average payout of $1,452.47 per month.
  • 8 of the 10 states with the lowest average house listing are located in the eastern portion of the country.

Surprise! The West isn't Best.

  • Even with the lowest property tax in the nation, Hawaii ranks as the worst state to retire rich due to its extremely high average home listing price and cost of living index.
  • Alaska's average health insurance premiums top the most expensive list at a whopping $719.
  • 7 of the 10 worst states to retire rich are located in the West/Midwest.
  • Western states Montana, Oregon and New Mexico spend an average $3,733.83 less on Medicare for their citizens per year than eastern states like New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Want to do your own analysis? Here's each financial factor ranked by state, all in one place. "Warmer places like Arizona tend to be popular destinations to retire, but states located on the east coast in general offer retirees the most bang for their buck," said Kristen Bonner, lead researcher on the study. "We found that these states have lower home prices on average, as well as relatively low health insurance premiums and Social Security benefits among the highest in the country."

Methodology: GOBankingRates ranked these states based on the results of original research and analysis of costs affecting retirees. This cost analysis was based on four types of factors affecting retires: taxes, living expenses, banking, and healthcare and Social Security. These four types of factors were broken down as into sets of data points.

For taxes, (1) state sales tax rates, sourced from The Tax Foundation; (2) property tax rates, sourced from The Tax Foundation; (3) state tax on Social Security benefits, which was weighted twice as much as other tax factors, sourced from Kiplinger.

Three factors were included among living expenses category: (1) average listing price, sourced from Trulia the week of May 11, 2016; (2) median home value, sourced from Zillow's April 2016 data; (3) cost of living index, sourced from, which was weighted twice as much as average listing price and four times as much as median home value.

Two data points were included for the banking cat egory: (1) savings account interest rates, sourced from GOBankingRates' database; (2) 2-year CD account interest rates, sourced from GOBankingRates' database, with both data points weighted one-quarter.

The health and Social Security category included three data points: (1) average health insurance premium, sourced from the Kaiser Family Foundation; (2) average Social Security benefits, sourced from the Social Security Administration; and (3) Medicare spending per capita, sourced from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Nevada ranked 20th of Best Places to Retire Rich

  • Average Social Security benefits: $1,313.43
  • Average health insurance premium: $261
  • Average Medicare spending per capita: $9,597.56
  • Average savings interest rate: 0.08%
  • Average 2-year CD interest rate: 0.616%
  • Average home listing price: $322,917

Nevada has some drawbacks for retirement costs, namely housing prices being higher-than-average. Low savings account and CD account interest rates won't help retirees save much. Nevada does, however, perform well in Medicare spending and average health insurance premiums that are lower than most states.