The Best 5 States for Retirement Living

If you are considering a move to a 55+ community, it is important to consider your options. In an effort to help you learn about climates and surroundings that might appeal to you, we have compiled a list of some of the best states for retirement living. We took into account many factors, including climate, cost of living, and availability of top medical care, crime statistics, and the opportunity for a variety of outdoor recreational activities, post-retirement employment, and opportunities for volunteer work. Of course, there are quality 55+ communities in every region of the nation, but these states cropped up repeatedly in our research:

Arizona: This Southwest state's climate and relatively low cost of 55+ living make this state a favorite for retirees. Averaging 286 days of sunshine per year and less than 11 inches of rainfall, the warm, dry climate calls to those tired of colder, wetter climes. The exceptionally low humidity is a plus, as well. A 100-degree day can feel more like 85 because of lack of moisture in the air. Although there are some well-known expensive retirement areas in Arizona, the average cost of living is still about 5% below the national average, and income and property taxes are generally relatively low. There are many recreational and cultural activities available to residents of 55+ communities near such metropolitan centers as Tucson and Prescott, as well.

New Jersey: The Garden State may seem like an odd choice for retirement, with its higher taxes and less-than-hospitable winters, but New Jersey has much to recommend it. The state has a rich history and access to a wide range of cultural arts, continuing education, and broad expanses of attractive green spaces. It also has a notable concentration of top-tier health services. An important aspect of retirement communities in New Jersey is the breadth of offerings in terms of lifestyle. Those who want a quieter community and outside spaces are just as likely to find a place they like as those with a bent toward the excitement and culture of the city.

North Carolina: Known for world-class golf courses, a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, and a rich cultural history, North Carolina provides a great diversity of activities for seniors to enjoy. The state’s moderate climate, offering the best scenic beauty of all four seasons and generally mild winters, makes it a place where life can be enjoyed year-round. North Carolina also boasts some of the finest health care facilities in the nation and a relatively low cost of living compared to many other retirement destinations.

California: Although the cost of living is higher in the Golden State than many other retirement destinations, the vastness and diversity of the state mean there are many options for 55+ living. If cost is not a primary concern, such areas as Santa Barbara offer gorgeous architecture, an incredible arts scene, and boutique shopping all within minutes of some luxurious 55+ communities. However, there are many more affordable spots in California that may also appeal to seniors, with perks such as dynamic scenery, world-renowned golf courses, and a broad range of cultural attractions. And an additional plus: California doesn't tax Social Security payments, which can help to offset the higher cost of living.

Florida: Warm weather, great beaches, entire infrastructures created to cater to seniors, and no state income tax all makes Florida a retirement Mecca. The fact that so many seniors migrate south to Florida is also a plus, because not only in your own chosen 55+ community, but also all around town you will find opportunities to interact with other active seniors. Cost of living may be prohibitive in some areas, and post-retirement employment opportunities may be more scarce than in other states, but the fantastic warm weather and relaxing resort-like atmosphere of many of Florida's communities may trump the financial drawbacks.

When considering your options, do not restrict yourself to retirement communities located near the area in which you currently live. One of the great things about being retired is that you can decide where to live based on your own tastes and desires, not employment opportunities.

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27 Sep 2016

By Robert Fowler