Culture and Lifestyle
Worst states to retire in the USA: Did you guess them right?

Worst states to retire in the USA: Did you guess them right?

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worst states to retire

It’s a time many of us eagerly anticipate—a chance to bid farewell to the daily grind, embrace newfound freedom, and embark on a chapter of life dedicated to relaxation and fulfillment. But here’s the harsh reality: not all states in the USA are created equal when it comes to retirement.  

While some states offer idyllic landscapes, affordable living, and thriving retirement communities, others can be retirement nightmares, with soaring expenses, limited healthcare access, and unfavorable climates. 

In this eye-opening blog, we’ll unveil the worst states to retire in the USA, shining a light on the places that retirees should think twice about before calling “home.” We’ll explore the key factors that impact retirement quality, why they matter, and suggest better alternatives. Let’s dive in! 

Factors determining quality retirement destination 

The suitability of a state for retirement can vary depending on individual preferences, priorities, and circumstances. However, here are some of the common factors that can impact retirement quality: 

1. Cost of living 

Affordability is the most important consideration for retirees. It’s essential to ensure that retirement income and savings are sufficient to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without excessive financial strain. 

2. Weather and climate 

A comfortable climate can enhance the quality of life and enable outdoor activities. Additionally, retirees with specific health conditions may seek climates that provide relief. 

3. Healthcare facilities and cost 

Access to quality healthcare is crucial in retirement. Consider the availability of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, specialists, and quality long-term care options. Also, the availability of health insurance coverage in the chosen destination is vital. 

3. Crime rate 

The crime rate is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a retirement destination.  Opting for a location with a low crime rate can contribute to greater well-being, peace of mind, and an overall higher quality of life. 

4. Recreational opportunities 

Engaging in meaningful and enjoyable activities is crucial for a fulfilling retirement. Pursuing hobbies, travel, volunteer work, or participating in community events and organizations can contribute to a sense of purpose, personal growth, and overall life satisfaction. 

5. Tax situation 

Tax policies can vary significantly from one location to another and can have a weighty impact on retirees’ finances. Research the tax structures, including income tax rates, property taxes, and any specific tax benefits or exemptions for retirees in the chosen destination. 

The worst states to retire in 2023 

Based on the above parameters, we’ve narrowed down the list of the absolute worst states to retire in 2023. Brace yourself because it’s not looking pretty. Let’s check them out! 

1. Alaska 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • Extreme weather conditions, including long, cold winters with limited daylight. 
  • High cost of living, with housing, groceries, and healthcare expenses often above the national average. 
  • Limited access to healthcare services due to its remote and vast geographical area. 
  • Geographic isolation can lead to a sense of loneliness and limit connectivity to family and friends. 

2. New York 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • Relatively high state and local taxes, including income tax and property tax. 
  • Crowded, untidy, and fast-paced. 
  • Experiences cold winters, especially in upstate regions. 
  • Heavy traffic congestion, particularly in urban areas. 

3. Minnesota 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • Long and cold winters, with heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures. 
  • High tax rates, including taxes on Social Security benefits. 
  • Healthcare services may be limited in rural or remote regions. 
  • Relatively homogenous population which may result in limited cultural diversity. 

4. Maryland 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • Densely populated state, especially in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. 
  • Prone to severe weather occurrences like hurricanes and tropical storms. 
  • Housing, taxes, and everyday expenses can be relatively high. 
  • Higher levels of violent crime compared to national averages.   

5. California 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • High tax rates (can go as high as 13.3%) will eat up your savings. 
  • Highly competitive and expensive housing market, especially in major metropolitan areas like San Francisco and LA. 
  • Susceptible to natural calamities like wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts. 
  • Often face issues of heavy traffic congestion and overcrowding.   

6. Washington 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • High cost of living, including housing prices (28% higher than the US average) and everyday expenses. 
  • Potential transportation challenges due to population growth. 
  • Known for its rainy and cloudy weather, particularly in the western part of the state. 
  • High crime rates, with violent crimes reaching all-time highs since 2022. 

7. Louisiana 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • Has the highest crime rate in the country. 
  • Louisiana’s coastline is experiencing significant erosion. 
  • Access to specialized medical care may be restricted in rural or remote areas. 
  • Has a hot and humid climate, typical of a humid subtropical region. 

8. Massachusetts 

State’s worst drawbacks for retirees: 

  • High state and property income taxes. 
  • Experiences cold and snowy winters, particularly in the northern and western parts of the state. 
  • High cost of housing and smaller living arrangements. 
  • May offer a limited number of natural recreational opportunities. 

Some potential alternatives 

Feeling a little discouraged after reviewing the list of the worst retirement states? Don’t worry, there’s still hope! Just because certain states may not offer the ideal retirement environment doesn’t mean there aren’t other places that are retirement-friendly. Now, let’s shift gears and explore the list of the best states to retire in 2023: 

  1. Delaware 
  2. Florida 
  3. Maine 
  4. North Carolina 
  5. Vermont 
  6. Texas 
  7. Tennessee 
  8. New Hampshire 
  9. Georgia 
  10. Virginia 
  11. Colorado 

Final thoughts 

While it’s disheartening to discover the worst states to retire in 2023, it’s crucial to remember that every state has its upsides, too. Although these states may not provide the most desirable conditions for retirement, there’s always a silver lining. By being aware of the challenges they present, you can proactively seek out alternatives and make informed decisions about your future. 

So, let go of any disappointment about the worst states to retire in 2023, and instead, focus on the thrilling opportunities that await you. Happy retirement! 

Related articles: 


  • What are the worst places to retire in Florida? 

While Florida is generally known for its retirement-friendly environment, a few areas may not be as favorable. Some of the worst places to retire in Florida include Miami, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Bal Harbor, and Tallahassee. Factors such as high cost of living, congestion, tourist activity, hurricane risks, limited healthcare options, and climate make these areas less desirable for retirees. 

  • What are the worst states for taxes? 

Here are some of the worst states for taxes: 

  1. California 
  2. New Jersey 
  3. Minnesota 
  4. New York 
  5. Massachusetts 
  6. Washington 
  7. Maryland 

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