- Retirees can live most comfortably in Mississippi, thanks to affordable housing and an overall low cost of living, according to an analysis by GOBankingRates.
- Hawaii is the least affordable place for retirees to settle. They’ll need at least $117,724 each year to live comfortably in retirement.
- Cost of living is only one factor when you decide where to retire. Taxes, convenient transportation and the availability of health care also matter.
Looking to stretch your retirement savings as far as it will go? Consider packing your bags for Mississippi.
The Magnolia state took top honors as the locale where retirees could live most comfortably, according to an analysis by GOBankingRates.
The personal finance website studied consumer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, along with cost-of-living information from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.
Accounting for annual consumption costs — including food, housing and health care — and a cash buffer in savings, a retired household can expect to spend $53,071 annually in Mississippi to live comfortably, GOBankingRates concluded.
The BLS assumed the average household age 65 and up would have 1.8 people in it.
Oklahoma and Arkansas followed in second and third, respectively. You can retire comfortably on about $54,000 in both states, GOBankingRates found.
Annual housing expenses work out to $12,434 in Oklahoma, making it an affordable place to live.
Arkansas offers some of the lowest health-care costs in the country for retirees: Those over 65 spend an average of $5,687 on medical expenses, according to GOBankingRates.
One state that seems to have it all in terms of low costs and accessibility for seniors is Tennessee, said Andrew DePietro, lead researcher at GOBankingRates.
The Volunteer state ranked in seventh place.
"Tennessee has a low cost of living, and it also has well-connected cities," DePietro said. "They don't tax wages, only dividends and interest."
If you're hoping to retire to Hawaii's prime beaches, expect to shell out a huge chunk of your nest egg.
It will cost you $117,724 annually to retire comfortably in the Aloha atate. Nearly half of that — $51,837 — comes from housing, GOBankingRates found.
The District of Columbia and California rounded out the three costliest destinations. Retirees' grocery bills in the nation's capital average $4,872 annually, more than in any state.
Those residing in California are paying some of the highest transportation bills: an average annual expense of $9,166, GOBankingRates concluded.
Retirees should consider other factors in addition to how much food and housing will cost them.
For instance, state taxes — including levies on retirement income, property and sales — all add to seniors' monthly costs.
Thirteen states tax Social Security: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
State estate and inheritance taxes, on the other hand, take a bite out of what you leave to your heirs.
Amenities, including a variety of transportation and the availability of health care are also key considerations for retirees, said DePietro.
"Geography has an interesting impact on health-care costs," he said, noting that far-flung locations seem to pay more for medical care.
Indeed, retirees in more remote states seem to have higher medical expenses. Annual medical expenses in Alaska averaged $9,685, while those costs were $7,719 in Maine.