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April, 2024

South Dakota has just been named the best place to retire

Forget sun and beach, what retirees really need is the Midwest, according to a new survey.

Most people might imagine spending their golden years in a warm location with amenities for elderly residents or settling near extended family. But if financial benefits are at the top of your retirement list, there may be a much more unlikely candidate.

Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood, South Dakota
Image.. wereintherockies.com

According to a recent analysis by the financial news site Insider Monkey, South Dakota is the best state to retire in thanks to its "affordable cost of living, friendly communities and good health care."

There are no income taxes in South Dakota, meaning that retirees on a fixed budget can benefit. The state also has the seventh lowest cost of living in the country, according to U.S. News.

South Dakota is not only financially attractive, it also has picturesque scenery and a wide range of outdoor activities, including "hiking, fishing, boating and wildlife viewing," according to Insider Monkey. With a population of just over 900,000, the state remains off the retirement radar for many.

Not a fan of the outdoors? South Dakota's official website praises the state's commitment to revitalizing small communities through the Main Street initiative, which is dedicated to creating "vibrant community centers" to anchor large and small towns.

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

Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota
Image.. Denistangneyjr/Getty

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

Insider Moneky's full top 15 list of the best states for retirees also includes a few warm-weather locations. Other states on the list include South Caroline, Texas, Tennessee, Delaware, Nevada, Wyoming, Iowa and Florida, which ranked a respectable fourth.

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