STUDY: Visit Hawai‘i, but Don’t Retire There

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Hawai‘i may be among the most desirable states to live and vacation in the U.S., but it is one of the poorest to retire in, according to the results of a new study. The online finance website WalletHub reported in 2019’s Best & Worst States to Retire that Hawai‘i ranks 40th in the nation, putting it among the top 10 worst states.

Though Hawai‘i has the highest average life expectancy in the country and ranked No. 2 for healthcare services in the study, health considerations and beautiful scenery don’t quite cut it. Hawai‘i has the highest adjusted cost of living in the U.S. (not necessarily a perk for those living on a fixed retirement income) and ranked 49th for overall affordability. Quality of life did not fair much better. Somehow paradise staggered in at 34th.

For those seeking greener pastures to settle into during their golden years (or pastures where they can at least keep their wallets green), retirees might consider moving to sunny Florida. Though pummeled by the occasional hurricane and devoid of notable topography, the sunshine state is fantastically affordable (No. 1, according to the study), enjoyable to live in (7th in quality of life), and reasonably served by healthcare providers (No. 27). As far as cities go, Orlando, Florida ranks at the top of the list among the best metropolitan areas to retire.


If, as a retiree, you prefer a colder climate or something more mountainous, consider North Dakota or Colorado, which ranked 2nd and 3rd, respectively, behind Florida in the study.

If none of these appeal to the present or soon-to-be retiree, consider the states which are ranked among the least desirable locations to settle into the final years of life: Kentucky, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Cross these off your list. These states presented a poor cost of living, quality of life (what does a person do in these states?) and lackluster healthcare services. To be fair, though, Rhode Island in fact ranked No. 18 for healthcare, but its other scores offered no such redemption.

Those retirees who are well off, already living in Hawai‘i and don’t want to move, or simply willing to sacrifice financial concerns for the well-being and enjoyment of paradise, Pearl City on O‘ahu island makes a good neighborhood to meet similarly aged companions. A parallel report produced by WalletHub assessing the best and worst U.S. cities to retire in described Pearl City as having the highest concentration of residents aged 65 and older.

Graphic courtesy of WalletHub.


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