11 Non-Florida Destinations for Your Golden Years

Florida has been America’s go-to retirement destination for the longest time because of its pleasant weather, beaches, and cultural diversity. Lately, however, people are seeking more alternatives to the Sunshine State due to high housing costs and severe weather conditions. Here are some alternative locations within the US to Florida for retirement.

IOWA

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Iowa tops the charts as the best retirement location because it doesn’t tax social security and retirement income for people over fifty-five. In addition, primary daily necessities like groceries and prescription drugs are tax-free.

It is also a great retirement location for those who wish to buy a home because of the state’s Homestead Tax Exemption, where homeowners aged sixty-five and above are eligible for a tax exemption of $6500 from January 1, 2024.

DELAWARE

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With its beautiful Atlantic Ocean coastline, Delaware is one of the most preferred retirement destinations. 20.8% of the state’s population is over sixty-five years of age, and its proximity to Manhattan and Jersey City makes it the perfect spot. The state’s proximity to cities like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York City, and Jersey City makes it an ideal location for retirees who don’t want to lose the urban connection.

Delaware does not tax Social Security or Railroad retirement benefits, and there is no sales tax. It is also ranked the second-best city for retirement, according to Bankrate.

ALABAMA

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Alabama is an excellent place for retirees to find a community; the state boasts an 18% retiree population. The cost of living in Alabama is 16% lower than the national average; this ensures that living here won’t burn a hole in retirees’ pockets.

Healthcare is one of the main things retirees look for, and the average healthcare spending by a retired couple is 4.4% less than in other states.

Kiplinger Personal Finance rates Alabama as tax-friendly due to its low-income tax, around 2-5%, and the exclusion of social security benefits.

MISSISSIPPI

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Mississippi is an excellent place for retirement because of its low cost of living, 14% lower than the national average. Social security and pensions are exempt from taxation in Mississippi, similar to Florida. Another plus point is the low cost of healthcare services; the state’s healthcare services cost 2% less than the national average.

Mississippi is the best state for anyone who wants to retire on the seashore and loves beaches. The state has many great beaches, like Gulfport, Ship Island, Biloxi, and Bay St. Louis.

VIRGINIA

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Virginia has the lowest crime rate and boasts strict elder abuse laws. Bail amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000.

In Virginia, retirees aged sixty-five or older can get a tax deduction of $12000. The state is a great alternative to Florida for retirees seeking quality of life and security in their retirement years.

NEW MEXICO

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA downtown cityscape at twilight.
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New Mexico is a culturally diverse state with a place for everyone. Retirees aged sixty-five and older can deduct up to $8000 from their taxable income, and pensions are partially taxable. The state does not have any estate or inheritance tax like Florida. Groceries and prescription drugs are tax-free, and as a bonus, there is no “Pink tax.”

The southwest has a warm climate with mild winters, making it ideal for retirees. New Mexico also has three UNESCO World Heritage sites: Taos Pueblo, Chaco Canyon, and Carlsbad Caverns.

WYOMING

Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming Under the Early Morning Cloudy Sky with the forest in the foreground
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Wyoming is the least populated state in the US, with just 581000 residents, 17.8% of whom are over sixty-five, ensuring that retirees don’t have isolation issues.

Wyoming is extremely tax-friendly. No personal income tax exists, and social security and pensions aren’t taxed either. Prescription drugs, essential for retirees, are also not taxed, making it an ideal location for retirement.

The state also has many scenic destinations for retirees, from national parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone to Hot springs like the Grand Prismatic Spring and Mammoth Hot Springs. Retirees can also taste the Wild West in places like the Cheyenne Depot Museum.

MAINE

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21.8% of Maine’s population are sixty-five or older, the largest share for any state in the US, ensuring a community for retirees. Maine is also the third safest state in the US in terms of personal and residential safety, making it an ideal place for retirement.

Maine does not tax retirement and military benefits; groceries and prescription drugs are tax-exempt.

Any retiree who wants an active retirement filled with adventures would love Maine. The state boasts a 5,000-mile craggy coast, dense forests, and numerous offshore islands.

SOUTH DAKOTA

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South Dakota is one of the best alternatives to Florida for retirement. The cost of living is 7% lower than the national average, and housing is 12% lower.

The scenic state could be considered one of the most retirement-friendly states as there is no personal income tax or estate and inheritance tax, and social security and pensions are not taxed.

One major reason to choose South Dakota for retirement is its healthcare. The state is ranked as the 9th best state for healthcare and is home to top-ranked hospitals, including the Sanford USD Medical Center. Prescription drugs are also tax-free.

TENNESSEE

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Tennessee is one of the US’s most “financially stable” states. There is no personal income tax in the state, and retirees don’t have to pay any tax on their social security and pension. Similar to Florida, there is no estate or inheritance tax.

Tennessee is home to the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains, Bald Mountains, Roan Highlands, and Unaka Mountains, among other attractions. The state is unique due to its four seasons, which are pleasant for retirement.

RHODE ISLAND

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18.9% of Rhode Island’s population is over sixty-five, indicating that it’s a preferred destination among retirees. The state does not tax Military pensions and Railroad benefits, Social security and Pensions are partially taxable. Groceries and Prescription drugs are exempt from taxes, ensuring affordability for retirees. Similar to Florida, Rhode Island does not have any inheritance tax.

The temperature is cooler than in Florida, which is one reason retirees prefer Rhode Island. It also offers a vibrant cultural scene and entertainment all year around, with the state hosting famous festivals and events like the Charlestown Seafood Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Bristol 4th of July, and the Misquamicut Spring Fest, among others.

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