Top Ten Worst States…

in which to retire:

Here are the 10 worst states for retirement, and some of the reasons why each is on the list. With this ranking the No. 1 spot is the worst of the worst.

10. Rhode Island — high property taxes

9. Maryland — high property taxes and other costs

8. Maine — low life expectancy and harsh climate

6. New York (tie) — high property taxes and other costs

6. Ohio (tie) — low life expectancy

5. Massachusetts — high property taxes and other costs

4. Illinois — high property taxes and high unemployment

2. Alaska (tie) — high cost-of-living and harsh climate

2. Pennsylvania (tie) — low life expectancy and tough economy

1. Michigan — harsh weather and a tough economic climate

Read about MoneyRate’s list of best-rated states for retirement.

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  • Pat Pope

    Wow, I live in Ohio. Guess I better look to move.

  • dave

    hmmm, blue states, high taxes….hmmm

  • Joe Canner

    Using life expectancy as a criteria for choosing a place to retire is a bit foolish. Life expectancy at birth (which is presumably what is being reported here) is dependent on many factors, most of which are relevant in the first 20-30 years of life (infant mortality, crime, etc.). A better measure would be life expectancy at age 65, which would measure the quality of health care and of the environment.

  • Yeah, my home state of Mississippi is actually pretty good for retirees: low costs of living, warm, humid climate with gentle winters (brutal summers, but that’s what air conditioning is for), and plenty of elder-focused health care, restaurants, shopping, etc. Even the churches are full of older people, and it’s quite easy to find churches with traditional hymn services, bustling elder ministries, etc. We have relatively quiet beaches, non-mafia casinos (if you’re into that sort of thing) and tons of bingo.

    Retirees usually aren’t raising kids, so they don’t have to worry about our educational system being close to, if not, dead last in the nation. If they’re living on pensions, they don’t have to worry about our job market not being that great, either.

    Yup, we’re a great state to retire to. The picture’s a little less rosy if you’re young, or a new parent, though.

  • kberghuis

    So much for my dream of retiring in Detroit. Guess I’ll stay in Pennsylvania. We’re #2!

  • Joe Canner

    Tim #4: Your comment touches on something else I was thinking of regarding why property taxes are high in some areas:

    (1) My state is in the top ten but also has one of the best school systems in the country, suggesting that high property taxes indicate a commitment to quality education.

    (2) The states on the list with high property taxes are also mostly northern, so perhaps these states don’t care about keeping property taxes low for seniors, because they know many of them (especially the wealthier ones who would be paying more taxes) are going to go south for retirement anyway. My state has a special program for seniors that protects them from high property taxes that result from rapidly increasing property values.

    (3) Within my state, property taxes are quite variable, with city tax rates being much higher than suburban areas because there are so many abandoned and otherwise low-tax-producing properties. Since the states on the list have large urban populations, this might explain why their average tax rates are higher. (This addresses Dave’s implication in #2 that the higher taxes are because of being “blue”: correlation, but not necessarily causation.)