After55.com asked, and our readers answered: What state is your retirement choice?
More than 700 people between ages 50 and 89 took part in our senior living survey, which included the question of what state respondents live in or plan to retire in.
Here’s what After55.com’s audience had to say about the most popular states for retirement:
No surprise here. The Sunshine State was preferred by almost a quarter of survey respondents. In fact, more than 19% of Florida’s population is composed of people 65 or older.
Why do so many people flock to Florida?
The great weather and beaches definitely help. But Florida also is one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees. “Florida has no state income tax, estate tax or inheritance tax, and it doesn’t tax Social Security or other retirement income,” according to Kiplinger.
Additionally, the state ranks fifth in the country for fiscal soundness.
Not too far behind Florida was California, with just over 20% of respondents either living in or planning to move to the Golden State.
This selection was both expected and surprising. For starters, the cost of living is extremely high. In fact, you can expect to find some of the highest taxes in the country in California.
California at least doesn’t tax Social Security benefits. And we can’t deny that California has some of the most beautiful weather in the United States.
In third was Georgia, the choice of 7% of senior living survey respondents. It’s easy to understand why the Peach State is among the most popular states for retirement.
Besides warm weather and low living costs, Georgia also offers one of the lowest health care costs in the country. And Kiplinger declared Georgia one of the top 10 most tax-friendly states as well, citing no tax on Social Security benefits and a 4% state sales tax.
Just one word of caution about Georgia if you’re a single female looking for a man: In our admittedly unscientific survey, only about 8% of those interested in Georgia were men. In the other four top states, men still were outnumbered by women, but at about 30% to 70%. Look for more about gender differences in retirement preferences in a future post here on the After55.com blog.
The Grand Canyon State wasn’t far behind Georgia in our survey, at 6%.
With plentiful sunshine, dry heat and amazing desert landscapes, it’s no wonder that 16% of the state’s population consists of residents age 65 or older. Arizona also is another state with a favorable tax system for seniors. There’s no estate tax or inheritance tax, Kiplinger points out, and the median property tax on the median home value is the 16th lowest in the country.
Rounding out the top 5 is Texas, the choice of 5% of respondents.
Like the other top picks, Texas has a warm climate. It also has no state income tax and a lower cost of living than the rest of the country.
Rick Salmeron, founder of Dallas-based Salmeron Financial Network, adds that the Lone Star State has a great economy, low unemployment and a robust housing market. Just consider which part of Texas you want to retire in. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is very expensive, but The Woodlands, 30 miles from Houston, has a favorable cost of living.
Where Do You Want to Retire?
Are you ready to move now? Check out After55.com’s guides to senior living in our readers’ top 5 states:
What do you think of our readers’ choices for most popular states for retirement? What are the good and bad points about retiring in your state? Tell us in the comments below!