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Florida topped the list as the best state to retire

Low-cost health care, no inheritance tax ranked Sunshine State high

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Residents drive golf carts through the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.

Residents drive golf carts through the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square on Aug. 12, 2021, in The Villages, Fla. Florida ranked No. 1 as the best state to retire in a new WalletHub analysis.

Phelan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

Four of the top 10 states for retirees are in the West, according to a new analysis by the personal finance company WalletHub.

Florida ranked No. 1 in the comparison of all 50 states across 46 key metrics, including affordability, health-related factors and overall quality of life. Colorado, Virginia, Delaware and Wyoming rounded out the top five.

“Florida is the best state for retirees in part due to its lack of estate or inheritance taxes and its low cost for adult day health care and homemaker services,” according to WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe. “Florida provides a great natural environment for retirees, with the second-most shoreline miles of any state, and it ranks among the top states for adult volunteer activities, golf courses, country clubs, and theater companies.”

WalletHub noted that retirees who would prefer the cool air of the Rockies over the hot climate of Florida may find a home in Colorado, the No. 2-ranked state. It offers similarly taxpayer-friendly conditions, with no estate or inheritance taxes.

Colorado has one of the lowest rates of social isolation for seniors, and very few residents above age 65 are in poverty. It also has some of the best geriatrics hospitals in the country, and ranks extremely high when it comes to the share of seniors who are in good health and who are physically active, according to WalletHub.

Intermountain West neighbor Wyoming also fared well in the analysis with WalletHub, noting it has good protections against elder abuse compared to most states, as well as one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country and little crime overall. It has some of the cleanest air in the country, too, which is a big help to seniors with breathing issues.

WalletHub also cited Virginia for its elder abuse protections. On the financial side, it lacks an estate or inheritance tax and is the 10th most taxpayer-friendly state. “Outside of that, though, it’s not a particularly cheap state to live in,” WalletHub said.

Delaware ranked high largely because it has one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the country, including no estate or inheritance taxes. It has the lowest rate of poverty among people ages 65 and older, according to WalletHub.

Filling out the remainder of the top 10 are Idaho, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Montana and Pennsylvania. Another Western state, Utah, fell just outside the top group, at No. 12. The Beehive State has ranked as high as fourth in past WalletHub lists.