Forget Everything You’ve Heard, The Best Place To Retire Doesn’t Include Sandy Beaches

Somedays when sitting in a crowded cubicle with phones incessantly ringing it’s inevitable that your daydreams will turn to retirement. Those thoughts might entail lounging by the beach in Florida or hitting a few balls on the lush greens in Arizona, but a new report found the best places to retire aren’t in either of those popular snowbird states.

Instead those retirement daydreams should be filled with rolling hills and weekend trips to visit Mount Rushmore, according to’s annual rankings of the best states to retire.

That’s right, South Dakota came out on top when all things were considered including local weather, access to health care, cost of living and tax burden.

For the first time this year’s ranking took into consideration the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a survey gauging people’s satisfaction with their surroundings. Officials with Gallup say that consumers tend to score states higher when they feel safe and cared for.

“While the states that ranked highly may not be thought of as typical retiree havens, seniors should consider more than sunshine when choosing a place for their golden years,” Chris Kahn, research and statistics analyst says in a news release.

This year’s list was dominated with Midwestern and mountain states. In fact, only one eastern U.S. state was able to crack the Top 10 – No. 10 Virginia. Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming rounded out the top five for best in retirement states.

Where should retirees avoid when looking at settling down? According to the rankings the states that scored the lowest for retirement are New York, West Virginia, Alaska, Arkansas and Hawaii.

“Of course, the best place to retire will differ drastically depending on the individual,” Kahn says. “For some, the best place to retire is simply anywhere there’s year-round warmth and sunshine. For others, it’s where family and friends live. Retirees are best off deciding what factors matter most to them and checking the relevant statistics before making a final decision.”

South Dakota Named Best State for Retirement, New York the Worst []

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.