15 Places Retirees Are Picking Over Florida (When Florida Won't Do)

Add a few of these states to your list of potential places to retire rather than going to Florida.
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
couple resting on loungers at beach

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Florida may be at the top of your list of states you’re considering for retirement, but there may be better options than the Sunshine State.

Some states may have more affordable taxes even though Florida doesn’t have a state income tax. Others could have nice weather or more affordable housing that could help you maximize your retirement savings.

So before you pack up and move to Florida, take a look at these states and see if one of them is a better retirement home for you.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now


Christopher Boswell/Adobe Delaware River By Wilmington at Dawn

Ideally situated between New York City and Washington, D.C., Delaware offers a calm lifestyle but easy access to big cities. In its 90 miles, you can live at the beach in the south or in the rolling hills of the northern part of the state.

Delaware is considered a tax-friendly state for retirees as Social Security is not taxed, while retirement funds and pensions are only partially taxed.


Jenifoto/Adobe desert sunset with mountain phoenix

If you want to live somewhere warm, think about Arizona as an alternative to Florida. You'll have to trade the beach for a warm desert, though.

Arizona, like Florida, has plenty of 55+ communities that cater to retirees, and 18.5% of the state’s population is over the age of 65. That puts it in the top 15 states with the highest 65-and-up populations.


f11photo/Adobe Des Moines Iowa skyline in USA

You may be surprised to see Iowa on the list, especially considering the weather is not the same as Florida. But there could be some advantages to living in the Midwest state.

Iowa ranked in the top 10 lowest cost-of-living states in 2023, which could be important when you’re living on a fixed income.

That lower cost of living includes housing with a median sale price of $227,500 for all homes in Iowa in March compared to $415,600 for the same time in Florida.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.


Vladimir Grablev/Adobe Tunnel Parking Overlook Shenandoah National Park

Some retirees are flocking to North Carolina as an alternative to Florida only to be surprised by the taxes they have to pay on their retirement income.

Instead, head a little farther north to Virginia, which is more tax-friendly for retirees. The state doesn’t tax your Social Security and only partially taxes income from retirement accounts or your pension.


checubus/Adobe beautiful pittsburgh at twilight

Pennsylvania ranks in the top 10 when it comes to states with the highest percentage of residents over the age of 65, with 19.1% of residents falling into that category.

One reason older residents may stick around is the state’s friendliness when it comes to retirement taxes. Pennsylvania doesn’t tax Social Security, retirement account withdrawals, or income from pensions.


SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe St Louis Missouri USA

Missouri has a lower cost of living index compared to Florida, coming at 88.5. Florida’s cost of living index is 100.7.

One factor that lowers the cost of living in Missouri is housing. The median sale price for a home in the state was $248,200 in March compared to Florida’s $415,600 for the same month.


Kevin Ruck/Adobe Atlanta Georgia USA Skyline

Check out Georgia as an option if you want to get close to Florida without crossing the state line.

Georgia, like Florida, is a tax-friendly state for retirees with no taxes on Social Security and only partial taxes on retirement account income and pensions.

The state also has a lower cost of living index at 90.8 compared to Florida’s 100.7, which can be a motivator if you’re living on a fixed income.


Jo Ann Snover/Adobe Grand Teton over Snake River Wyoming

Wyoming has a low cost of living, with a cost of living index of 92.4, which is less than the cost of living in Florida.

The state is also very tax-friendly for retirees. Wyoming, like Florida, doesn’t have a state income tax. It’s also tax-friendly specifically for retirees with zero taxes on Social Security, pensions, and income from retirement accounts.


f11photo/Adobe busy downtown Detroit at twilight

Michigan may not be a good option if you’re seeking year-round warmth, but there are other factors to consider if you want to retire there.

The state is friendly to retirees with no tax on Social Security and only partial tax on pensions and retirement account income.

It also ranks in the top 10 for most affordable states with a cost of living index at 90.6 compared to Florida’s 100.7.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today


SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Jackson Mississippi skyline over Capitol Building

Another state that has beaches and warm weather without being Florida is Mississippi.

The state can work for retirees who are looking for low taxes as Mississippi doesn’t tax Social Security, retirement account income, or pensions.

The state also had a median sale price of $243,400 for homes in March compared to Florida’s $415,600.


Don Lewis/Adobe chimney rock nebraska during day

Nebraska can be a great choice if you’re trying to save money on a fixed income.

The state’s cost of living index comes in at 90.9, which is lower than 100.7 as a cost of living index in Florida.

One of the factors that keeps the cost of living index low in the state is housing costs. The median sale price for homes in Nebraska was $289,000 in March compared to $415.600 in Florida.


SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Las Vegas Nevada Skyline during day

Nevada is a very tax-friendly state for retirees who are worried about taxes while on a fixed income.

The state has no state income tax and doesn’t tax Social Security, retirement accounts, or pensions.

West Virginia

Barry/Adobe West Virginia Rail Road Bridge

West Virginia ranks third among states with the largest percentage of the population over the age of 65; 20.9% of its population is over that age. That’s a good point if you want to live around others close to your age.

It’s also affordable, with the fourth-lowest cost of living in the country, an index of 87.7, which is below Florida’s 100.7.


George/Adobe Sunset over Mobile Bay Alabama

Right below West Virginia in the cost of living index is Alabama with an index of 88.3, making it an affordable choice for some retirees.

The state is also somewhat friendly when it comes to taxing retirees. You will get fully taxed on your retirement account withdrawals, but the state doesn’t tax Social Security or pensions.

South Carolina

f11photo/Adobe cars on street charleston south carolina

South Carolina could be another option if you want to live somewhere near the water in the south without going all the way to Florida.

The state has a friendly tax policy for retirees with no tax on Social Security and only a partial tax on retirement account withdrawal and pensions.

Housing in South Carolina is also more affordable with a median sale price of $370,600 in March compared to $415,600 in Florida.

Bottom line

Spotmatik/Adobe happy senior friends sailing luxury yacht

Florida may be a good destination if you retire early and want to live in a climate that is warm year-round, but there may be other considerations.

In addition to knowing how much you'll spend annually as a retiree, you also want to consider the location of your new home. Is it close to airports? How are its medical facilities? Will you find a community of like-minded people?

As you research where you will spend your next act, you should consider working with a financial advisor. They will run what-if scenarios based on your current retirement savings and other investments to see if you can afford the lifestyle you want. Having that information may help you decide where you want to live.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards


Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee



Why we like it

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt