The 10 Most Expensive States To Retire (And The Least Expensive)

By Kathy Morris
Aug. 1, 2022
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Most Expensive States to Retire Research Summary

  • The most expensive state to retire in is Hawaii, with a median home cost of $587,700 and an average annual cost of living at $60,700.

  • The least expensive state to retire in is Mississippi, with a median home cost of only $114,500 and an average annual cost of living at $46,084.

  • Florida has the highest retirement rate in the country, at 19.1%.

  • Alaska has the least percentage of retirees, at only 9.4% of their population.

For a lot of people, their dream job is being retired.

While we hope you don’t dread going to work, there is no denying that many people look forward to retirement. What better way to celebrate a life of hard work than to focus on personal projects, hobbies, and spending time with your friends and family?

Many retirees will relocate to find a location more suited to their new life of leisure and make the most of their retirement savings. According to the latest US Census bureau, over half a million adults over 65 moved states last year.

However, not all states are a great place to retire. In fact, a lot of states are actually pretty dreadful places to retire unless you’re retiring with boatloads of money.

Where should retirees avoid with a 10-foot pole if they don’t want to drain their savings and struggle to make ends meet?

The Most Expensive States To Retire

  1. Hawaii
  2. Colorado
  3. Oregon
  4. Washington
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Vermont
  7. New Jersey
  8. Connecticut
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Minnesota

These high costs of living states will leave you barely scraping by. Notice a trend? The Northeast is particularly harsh on retirees, with 5 of the priciest states to retire located there. Keep reading to see why these states break the bank or scroll to the bottom to see the cheapest states to retire.

How We Determined The Most Expensive States To Retire

We ranked each state 1 to 50 on the following factors:

  • Median House Cost

  • Monthly Home Owner Cost

  • Cost Of Living

  • Medicare Advantage Cost

  • State Medicare Spend Per Person

First, we examined median housing costs using data from the ACS Census. Moving from a state with expensive housing costs to one with cheaper housing costs can drastically elevate retirees’ standard of living and significantly add to their retirement fund. However, vice versa is also true. Many seniors would love to live in Hawaii. However, sky-high housing costs wouldn’t leave them with a lot leftover.

Next we pulled in monthly home owner costs from the ACS. We looked at the percentage of people over 65 who are spending 30% or more of their income on houses. The higher the cost, the more expenses retirees in the state are responsible for. We then used our data on cost of living to provide more context to the costs seniors can expect to face in each state. Living is expensive, even small expenses like toothpaste and a cup of coffee, can add up.

Finally, we examined the cost of healthcare. You might be able to cut coupons or downsize your house, but you can’t choose not to get sick. This area is especially important because healthcare costs continue to rise each year and leaves many seniors scrambling.

First, we examined Medicare Advantage Costs, using data from The Kaiser Organization. Note, Alaska does not have individual Medicare Advantage plans so was excluded from this metric. We then looked at state’s contributions to Medicare per residence. The more a state spends on Medicare, the better for seniors.

1. Hawaii

Median Home Cost: $587,700
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $96.40
Cost Of Living: 60,700

Hawaii may be a tropical paradise, but retirees who dream of beaches should consider Florida or the affordable Gulf Coast. Hawaii has the highest cost of living out of all states. Hawaii also has the highest median home cost in the nation at $587,700. Compare that to Mississippi’s average home price and you have a whopping $473,200 difference. Yikes.

2. Colorado

Median Home Cost: $313,600
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $89.52
Cost Of Living: 53,792

Colorado jaw-dropping landscape might make many retirees long to relocate there, but it will cost them. Colorado has the fifth highest home prices in the nation. To make matters more troubling, the Centinnel state’s spending on Medicare per person falls behind 40 other states.

3. Oregon

Median Home Cost: $287,300
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $75.28
Cost Of Living: 51,900

This Pacific Northwest state is a pricey spot to retire. Oregon’s home prices may not be as expensive as Hawaii, but the $287,300 median home cost will still put a sizable dent in most retirees funds. Throw in low Medicare spending and the fact that 23% of those 65+ spend 30

4. Washington

Median Home Cost: $311,700
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $84.50
Cost Of Living: 51,271

Another Pacific Northwestern state, Washington isn’t affordable for many retirees. Washington has high Medicare Advantage plan costs, and the state spends less per residence on Medicare than almost any other state.

5. Massachusetts

Median Home Cost: $366,800
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $85.56
Cost Of Living: 59,560

Massachusetts is the fifth most expensive state to retire. Retirees in Massachusetts (or perspective retirees) should know the median home value is $366,800. This New England state has one of the highest costs of living in the nation. No doubt that is why many take those retirement savings and go south, buy a nice house and live a little instead of just going broke.

6. Vermont

Median Home Cost: $223,700
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $58.66
Cost Of Living: 51,977

If Vermont makes you think of picturesque bed and breakfasts and maple syrup, you might be surprised to see it’s such a cruddy place to retire. However, when you look at the numbers, retiring in Vermont doesn’t add up for many. 27% of Vermont seniors spend 30% (or more!) of their incoming cash on home ownership expenses.

7. New Jersey

new jersey
Median Home Cost: $327,900
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $75.18
Cost Of Living: 56,109

New Jersey’s coast location, proximity to NYC, and access to airports that fly almost anywhere might tempt some retirees. But with a sky high monthly home ownership costs and a median home price that is a staggering $327,900, it’s no wonder so many New Jersey seniors relocate for warmer weather and a more manageable cost of living.

8. Connecticut

Median Home Cost: $272,700
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $71.06
Cost Of Living: 59,502

Connecticut isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s pretty expensive- especially if you’re looking for a place to retire in comfort. Connecticut has the 3rd highest cost of living in the nation and high monthly home ownership costs.

9. New Hampshire

Median Home Cost: $252,800
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $48.67
Cost Of Living: 55,103

New Hampshire is the 9th most expensive state to retire. 25.81% of New Hampshire seniors spend over 30% of their income on home ownership costs. Doesn’t leave a lot of cash left to spend on that boat you’ve always wanted, huh?

10. Minnesota

Median Home Cost: $211,800
Medicare Advantage Monthly Cost: $111.62
Cost Of Living: 52,115

Minnesota may be great for working families, but for retirees the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” might as well be the “land of 10,000 expenses.” Minnesota has the lowest average home cost of the top 10 states, but low Medicare contributions and high Medicare Advantage costs keep healthcare costs high. We didn’t take into account the winter heating bills for this one, but we’re sure they’re also a doozy.

Summary On The Most Expensive States To Retire

Look, maybe you have a small fortune to spend on your retirement and can comfortably retire anywhere. But for most people that isn’t the case. Where they choose to retire will drastically impact their quality of life and help (or hinder) stretch their retirement savings.

Retirees should keep in mind this data is statewide, so costs may vary based on cities.

The Cheapest States To Retire

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. West Virginia
  5. Indiana
  6. Louisiana
  7. Kentucky
  8. Missouri
  9. Alabama
  10. Tennessee

The Most Expensive States To Retire, From Most Expensive To Least

Rank State Avg. Home Price Cost Of Living Medicare Spending/Capita
1 Hawaii 587,700 60,700 $8,592
2 Colorado 313,600 53,792 $9,287
3 Oregon 287,300 51,900 $8,942
4 Washington 311,700 51,271 $8,997
5 Massachusetts 366,800 59,560 $11,899
6 Vermont 223,700 51,977 $9,231
7 New Jersey 327,900 56,109 $12,614
8 Connecticut 272,700 59,502 $11,964
9 New Hampshire 252,800 55,103 $9,397
10 Minnesota 211,800 52,115 $9,917
11 Rhode Island 249,800 53,240 $10,901
12 Virginia 264,900 54,264 $9,677
12 New York 302,200 59,128 $12,179
14 Wisconsin 173,600 51,120 $9,608
15 Maryland 305,500 58,178 $12,000
16 California 475,900 57,315 $11,833
17 Nevada 242,400 52,698 $10,796
18 Illinois 187,200 52,304 $11,116
19 Delaware 244,700 53,112 $11,460
20 New Mexico 166,800 48,050 $8,663
20 Idaho 192,300 45,801 $8,737
22 Maine 184,500 51,305 $9,325
22 Arizona 209,600 51,341 $10,096
24 Montana 219,600 47,083 $8,238
25 Alaska 265,200 54,400 $9,288
26 Pennsylvania 174,100 49,914 $11,243
27 North Dakota 185,000 46,814 $9,461
28 Michigan 146,200 48,837 $11,318
29 South Dakota 159,100 45,410 $9,315
29 Utah 256,700 47,922 $9,084
31 North Carolina 165,900 49,575 $10,260
32 Kansas 145,400 48,054 $10,126
33 Wyoming 213,300 47,951 $9,050
34 Florida 196,800 52,206 $12,229
35 Nebraska 147,800 48,076 $9,956
36 Texas 161,700 48,160 $11,895
37 Georgia 166,800 47,946 $10,429
38 Ohio 140,000 45,853 $11,038
39 South Carolina 154,800 46,568 $10,298
40 Iowa 142,300 48,882 $9,317
41 Tennessee 158,600 46,785 $10,371
42 Alabama 137,200 45,824 $10,267
43 Missouri 151,600 46,159 $10,457
44 Kentucky 135,300 43,308 $10,368
45 Louisiana 157,800 47,975 $11,811
46 Indiana 135,400 46,838 $10,714
47 West Virginia 115,000 44,823 $10,268
48 Oklahoma 130,900 46,613 $10,429
49 Arkansas 123,300 44,571 $9,479
50 Mississippi 114,500 46,084 $11,021

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Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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