Cost of living: 11 percent above U.S. average
Best city: Rehoboth Beach
PROS: Delaware was rated as tax-friendly. The state does not tax Social Security benefits and also exempts some investment and pension income for people over 60.
CONS: The cost of living is still 11 percent above the national average and seniors in the state have a below U.S. average income. When you combine these two things, it may be hard for some retirees to easily afford their essentials in Delaware.
Cost of living : 4 percent below U.S. average
Population : 5.9 million
Best city : Madison PROS: The Badger State offers a low cost of living and tax breaks on the retirement income of low-income residents. It also has some of the best cheese in the country, and if you’ve never tried a cheese curd you’re in for a treat.
CONS: Wisconsin is not especially tax-friendly and has the lowest average household income for residents 65 and over in the country. Social Security is exempt, but all other retirement income is taxed. To make matters worse, healthcare costs are higher than the national average.
Cost of living: one percent above the U.S. average
Population: 786,729 Best city: Rugby PROS: North Dakota is tax-friendly for retirees with low-income tax rates of 1.1 to 2.9 percent and a low cost of living to boot. Plus, you would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful natural landscape.
CONS: North Dakota taxes retirement income but that shouldn’t impact retirees greatly since the cost of living is low. Like South Dakota, this is not the place for city lovers with a population on only 786,729.
Cost of living : 12 percent below the U.S. average
Population : 1.97 million
Best city : O’Neill
PROS: The Cornhusker State can offer retirees a very low cost of living and is in good condition financially. Nebraska is ranked sixth in the nation in fiscal health by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
CONS: Although the cost of living is low, Nebraska is not very tax-friendly to seniors with most retirement income taxable. The only way in which Social Security is exempt is if your income is less than $43,000 for single filers or $58,000 for joint filers.
Cost of living : 5 percent below U.S. average
Population : 2.1 million
Best city : Taos
PROS: Don’t believe everything you see on TV, New Mexico is nothing like Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul. It is a beautiful state with stunning views and a relatively peaceful way of life.
CONS: While the beautiful sunsets may fill your heart with joy, the tax situation will not. New Mexico is the “Least Tax-Friendly” state because Social Security, retirement income and pensions are all taxable. The state does offer certain exemptions for low-income seniors.