This State Was Just Named the Best Place to Retire by a New Study — and It’s Not Florida

Retirees should be heading to the Midwest if they want the most bang for their buck, according to one analysis

<p>peeterv/Getty</p> Deadwood, South Dakota


Deadwood, South Dakota

Forget sunshine and beaches, what retirees really need is to head to the Midwest, according to a new study.

Most people might imagine spending their golden years in a warm location with amenities that cater to older residents or settling in near extended family. But if financial benefits are at the top of your list of retirement wishes, there may be a much more unlikely candidate in the mix: A recent analysis conducted by financial news site Insider Monkey found South Dakota to be the best state to retire to thanks to its "affordable cost of living, friendly communities, and adequate healthcare."

There are no state income taxes in South Dakota, it notes, meaning retirees living on a fixed budget may benefit. The state also has the seventh lowest cost of living in the country, per U.S. News.

Related: This City Was Just Named the Friendliest in the U.S. — Have You Been?

<p>DenisTangneyJr/Getty</p> Rapid City, South Dakota


Rapid City, South Dakota

South Dakota isn't just financially attractive, however, it also boasts picturesque scenery and a wide array of outdoor activities including "hiking, fishing, boating and wildlife viewing," according to Insider Monkey. With a population of just over 900,000 residents, the state remains off the retirement radar for many.

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Not big on the outdoors? South Dakota's official website touts the state's commitment to revitalizing small town communities via its Main Street initiative, which is dedicated to creating "vibrant community centers" to anchor towns both big and small.

Despite its attractive cost of living, South Dakota may not be a good fit for all. The state also has harsh winter weather with average lows in January dipping below 10 degrees.

<p>Wirestock/Getty</p> Yankton, South Dakota


Yankton, South Dakota

Other recent surveys came up with a variety of top picks, but many with similar themes: named Iowa as its number one in 2023, citing low cost of living and tax rates as well as affordable housing costs and ample space, Wallethub, meanwhile, chose Florida in 2024, giving it the top spot in quality of life rankings, but the 29th for health care.

Related: Portugal Named the Best European Country to Retire, New Study Finds

Insider Moneky's complete top 15 list of the best states for retirees includes a few warm weather locales as well. Other states that made the list include South Caroline, Texas, Tennessee, Delaware, Nevada, Wyoming, Iowa and yes, Florida, which landed at a respectable number four.

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