KEY POINTS

  • Maryland is the worst state for retirement in 2021, according to an analysis
  • Connecticut is among the most expensive states to retire in, the report said
  • Alabama, Arkansas and Alaska are among the top 10 worst states in terms of crime rate

Choosing a state to spend one's retirement years in isn't an easy decision to make, especially if finances, health, weather, closeness to loved ones and other factors are all to be considered. 

All U.S. states were analyzed and ranked by personal finance website Bankrate in terms of affordability, wellness, culture, weather and crime to determine the best and worst states for retirement in 2021. Affordability and wellness were the two factors that weighed most heavily in the ranking.

Affordability is one of the biggest reasons why Georgia topped Bankrate's list as the best state to retire in, with the website citing the "low cost of living and light tax burden."

"It’s a complicated formula to figure out what’s going to attract people to your state and how to create the best climate for them," Bankrate analyst Jeff Ostrowski told CNBC Make It. "It's a combination of factors, some in the control of the state and its leaders and some that are not."

Read on to find out which states ranked as the worst places to retire in this year, according to Bankrate's analysis.

However, Ostrowski made it clear that the report is "just another data point to consider" and that they are "not expecting that someone’s going to make their life decision based on one index."

9. Connecticut (Tie)

While Connecticut is among the top 10 states in terms of wellness, culture and crime, it is in the bottom 20 when it comes to affordability and weather.

Among the 10 worst states for retirement in Bankrate's report, Connecticut ranks the lowest in affordability, with only Hawaii being the less affordable place to live in. The state ranks 36th in weather, an index that factored in three decades worth of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.

9. Idaho (Tie)

Despite having beautiful mountain landscapes and being relatively safer — sixth among the 50 states in the crime ranking — Idaho falls short in weather (43rd) and wellness (39th), which suggests it struggles to provide its residents with sufficient health care, access to food, physical health and economic security.

8. Alabama

Though it has a relatively low cost of living, making it eighth in affordability, Alabama suffers from a high crime rate, has among the lowest number of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments and restaurants per capita and is also in the bottom 12 when it comes to weather.

Alabama is 44th in the crime ranking, with the number of annual violent crimes at 25,046 and property crimes at 131,133 for a total of 156,179 in a year, according to Neighborhood Scout.

6. Arkansas (Tie)

Arkansas is best known for its abundant park and wilderness areas that are home to mountains, caves, rivers and hot springs. While not being the cheapest, this state is far from being expensive, ranking 19th in terms of affordability. It is also in the top 10 in terms of weather.

However, the biggest downsides to retiring in the state are reflected in its wellness (49th), culture (42nd) and crime (46th) rankings.

6. Maine (Tie)

While Maine takes the top spot in the culture ranking and second in safety, the state ranks the lowest in terms of weather and 40th in terms of affordability.

5. Alaska

While it is home to a variety of wildlife, Alaska ranks 49th in terms of crime and 48th in weather. The state is in the middle of the pack for affordability (25th), wellness (23rd) and culture (20th).

4. Montana

Montana hosts diverse terrain ranging from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains. It also ranks third in terms of culture, having its own arts council. But the weather in the state is one of the worst, causing it to come 47th among all states, and the cost of living is relatively high with an affordability rank of 33rd.

3. Kansas

Despite being one of the country’s leading agricultural states, Kansas suffers from a lack of artistic opportunities, ranking 38th in culture, and is one of the more dangerous areas to live in with a crime ranking of 35.

2. Minnesota

Minnesota is home to more than 10,000 lakes, including Lake Itasca, which is the primary water source for the Mississippi River. The region is also somewhat expensive, ranking 39th in terms of affordability.

1. Maryland

The top spot for the worst state for retirement in 2021 goes to Maryland, according to the analysis. Though it ranks fourth in terms of wellness, it is one of the most expensive states to live in, coming in 47th in affordability. It is one of only seven states to impose an estate tax on top of an income tax.

Americans who are planning out their retirement can take a look at the rankings of each state and determine how they want to spend their golden years. Despite the various factors that were used to rank the states, some people may have preference over one element compared to the others.

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