Where to retire is a deeply personal decision that no one else can make for you. However, if you haven't already settled on a destination, a comprehensive analysis of your options can help narrow your search.
We rated all 50 states based on quantifiable factors that are important to many retirees. Our rankings favored states that are affordable—especially in terms of lower taxes on retirees and lower health care costs. Then we took health into account—both the economic health of each state and the overall health of the population. Finally, we rewarded states with relatively prosperous populations of residents age 65 and up.
We ranked 10 states in the top rankings for retirement destinations. They offer a wide diversity of climates and lifestyles, so you're likely to find one that suits your tastes. Of course, states are big places, so we narrowed the search even more for you. Within each, we identified a city or two that should hold particular appeal to retirees.
#6 South Carolina
Population: 4.7 million
Share of population 65+: 14.7%
Cost of living: 12% below the U.S. average
Average income for 65+ households: $39,985
Average health care costs for a retired couple: Below average at $373,631
South Carolina's tax rating for retirees: Tax Friendly
If the mild weather and southern charm of the Palmetto State isn't enough of a retirement draw for you, surely the affordability can tempt you. On top of well-below-average living costs, the tax situation goes easy on a fixed income, too. South Carolina doesn't tax Social Security benefits and offers generous exemptions on other types of retirement income. It also does not levy an inheritance or estate tax. Property taxes tend to be very low.
Hilton Head Island is a popular retirement spot, but Myrtle Beach is generally more affordable. Both places offer ample amounts of golfing, beach bumming and water activities.