Cost of living : U.S. average Population : 573,909 Best city : Cody
PROS: The Equality State was rated fifth in fiscal health out of all fifty states by the Mercatus Center, which is pretty impressive. Retirees can also save some money because there is no state income tax.
CONS: Wyoming is not a good fit for city folk. If you don’t love nature, you won’t find much to do there. It also has one of the smallest populations in America at 573,909, with no big cities to be found. It is impossible, however, to ignore the natural beauty of the state.
Cost of living : 15 percent below U.S. average
Population : 6.8 million
Best city : Meridian Hills
PROS: The Hoosier State has a cost of living which is 15 percent lower than the U.S. average which means retirees can save a lot on essentials like food and housing. Compare that to California or Hawaii and you’ll see that your money can go a lot further there. There is a lively art scene and plenty of outdoor activities to do in spring and summer.
CON: Despite the low cost of living, Indiana is better for retirees who saved their pennies because the annual income is way below the national average (21.4 percent lower). Also, all retirement income except Social Security is taxed at regular rates and the winters are freezing.
Cost of living : 4 percent above U.S. average
Population : 2.9 million
Best city : Salt Lake City
PROS: Utah offers good healthcare for seniors. It is ranked second in the country according to the United Health Foundation. The Beehive State is also famous for its outdoor activities, with five national forests, five national parks, and 43 state parks.
CONS: Utah is not tax-friendly to its seniors. It taxes Social Security benefits, which may add a burden to retirees who are already struggling financially. Utah has the third-lowest poverty rate in the country for seniors and its income levels are about average. So, it is probably not the best place to head if you are already struggling to make ends meet.
Cost of living : 10 percent below U.S. average
Population : 29.2 million
Best city : San Marcos
PROS: The cost of living is 10 percent below the U.S. average and the average income for residents 65 and older is fairly decent. Texas also doesn’t tax income heavily, leaving more dollars in your wallet. Austin and Dallas are great cities with plenty of things to do.
CONS: Texas is a good financial option except for its healthcare, which is an important issue for retirees. Unfortunately, the poverty rates in Texas are high. The state has the sixth-highest senior poverty rates in the country, at 10.8 percent.
Cost of living : 12 percent below U.S. average
Population : 3.21 million
Best city : Iowa City
PROS: Iowa is great for retirees with no state income tax on Social Security earnings and an income tax break for pension income. UNESCO designated Iowa City as a “City of Literature” in 2008, and it also features a famous university and a lively cultural scene.
CONS: Although Social Security benefits are exempt, Iowa is not all that tax-friendly for seniors. Other retirement income can be taxed up to 8.98 percent. Residents over 55 do have the option of excluding up to $6,000 of taxable retirement income.