It’s easy to find guides to the best places to retire. There are numerous books and articles. But it’s not so easy to find a list of places you shouldn’t retire to. Of course, you could pick up the latest Census report and see which areas are losing population. But the web site TopRetirements.com put together a list of the 10 worst states to retire. There aren’t any real surprises in the list. The worst five states, starting from the bottom, are Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
A few words of caution always are in order when considering such surveys. This survey considers only five factors: fiscal health, property taxes, income taxes, cost of living, and climate. The survey doesn’t consider sales taxes, saying that in most states they’re only a nuisance. It’s really a survey to determine the most expensive states to retire in. Fiscal climate is considered, with an emphasis on government employee pensions, because poor fiscal conditions and underfunded pension plans likely would lead to higher taxes. California was on the list of worst states last year. But this year the survey added two new criteria. The state fell off the list because despite its high income tax rates the prototype retired couple used in the survey would pay almost no income taxes, plus California has a great climate.
These surveys should be only a starting point, because the criteria used might not be the most important ones to you, or you might be in a different tax situation than the prototype taxpayer used. They’re interesting, worth reading, but aren’t the final word.