Samantha Smoak
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@samanthaksmoak

It’s never too early to start thinking about retirement — 30 percent of retirees haven’t saved enough cash –so the sooner you start planning, the better. When calculating the amount you need to save in order to meet your desired standard of living depends on where you want to retire.

Earlier this year, WalletHub released a report of the best states to retire and compared each state across three dimensions: (1) affordability, (2) quality of life and (3) health care. Then, each state was evaluated against 41 indicators such as crime, cost of living, health, weather, public transportation, proximity to attractions and overall quality of life.

Some states scored poorly in some categories, like cost of living, and made up for it in others, like health care, so when planning your dream retirement destination, make sure to consider factors such as your health, your finances and how you plan to spend your time.

Here are the best states to retire in 2018.

1. Florida

It’s no surprise the Sunshine State topped the list of best places to retire, despite ranking No. 20 in health care. Famous for nearly year-around warm weather, beaches, and of course, Disney World, Florida is the most affordable state for seniors and has the highest percentage of population age 65 and older. 

2. Colorado

Colorado comes in at No. 2 for health care and No. 5 for quality of life – but didn’t crack the top 20 for affordability. Residents enjoy 300 days of sunshine each year, cuisine like no other and plenty of outdoor recreation with easy access to the conveniences of city life.

3. South Dakota 

South Dakota is the second most affordable state for retirees and has no state income tax, making it very friendly to budget-conscious retirees. Famous for Mount Rushmore, there are plenty of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing and skiing.

4. Iowa

A top state for health care, Iowa’s cost of living is 12 percent lower than the national average. Iowa’s plains and rolling hills are complemented by some of the best cultural attractions and outdoor recreation options for seniors.

5. Virginia

Virginia offers a milder climate than the most southern and northern states, with golfing weather 9 to 10 months of the year. With easy-access to Washington, D.C., there is plenty of American history to explore. If history isn’t your thing, the varied landscape – from beaches to mountains – offers plenty of activities for all. 

6. Wyoming

Wyoming is very friendly to retirees from a tax perspective because there’s no income tax. Home to Yellowstone National Park, much of Wyoming’s land is government owned, so there’s lots of territory to explore, making it ideal for an outdoorsy retirement.

7. New Hampshire

New Hampshire has the lowest property crime rate in the country, and is the third safest state. The Granite State is also home to unique attractions the grandkids (and grandparents!) will love such dog sledding, the Ice Castle, Story Land and Santa’s Village.

8. Idaho

Idaho’s capital, Boise, is a uniquely outdoor-orientated city. From fly fishing to skiing, there is no shortage of outdoor activities. The Potato State also has many art attractions, including a philharmonic orchestra, a ballet and opera company, art museums, public art displays and theaters.

9. Utah 

With a low crime rate and a higher than average life expectancy, Utah is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in the country, including Canyonlands, the Great Salt Lake, Zion National Park, Capital Reef and more. You’ll also find world-famous skiing, the Sundance Film Festival and outdoor concerts.

10. Arizona

Rounding out the top ten is the Grand Canyon State. Arizona doesn’t tax social security, and there’s no gift, state or inheritance tax. And, of course, it’s home to national treasures like the Grand Canyon and Red Rock State Park. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, there’s plenty of time to enjoy outdoor activities, such as one of the 421 golf courses, 70 of which are nationally ranked. Though the desert climate makes it one of the hottest states on the list, there’s no need to worry – it’s a dry heat.

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Samantha Smoak is a journalist turned PR professional based in Nashville, Tennessee. For sports jokes and dog pictures, follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @samanthaksmoak.

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