Retiree Friendly States Compared


Are you thinking of moving to another state to live on the Cheap? Here is a list that I have compiled over the years while looking for a place to call our “domicile” in our retirement years.  I want my retirement dollars to stretch!!   I personally want to stay in the Western side of the US, so I have listed the states that I’m interested in.   Yeah, I may have to move to “snow country” but, I plan on following the sun when the snow starts to stack!  There are very cheap states on the Eastern side of the Mississippi, but I’m not interested in moving that far. However, if you are interested in any other state, you can use my template to get a good snapshot of the costs, etc.

NOTE:  California is listed first because this is the state in which I currently live. It’s VERY expensive, hence my reason for this research and eventual escape!

If you currently live in any of these states and you think my numbers need to be corrected, PLEASE let me know!  I want to be accurate!  This data was compiled from my internet research. Vehicle registration costs were hard to figure out in some states.


UPDATED May 2017


Sales Tax                 7.500% - 10.00%
Property Tax              .74% (median) LA County 1.16% Sacramento 0.949%
State Income Tax          Top 13.3% (the highest in the country)
Vehicle Registration      High VLF based on Value new, 
                          weight fees, taxes, CHP fee and local taxes. 
                          200-500 per year average
                          An additional fee between $25-$175 will be added
                          starting January 1, 2018. This fee will be based
                          on the current value of your vehicle.
                          **Vehicles in most counties require a bi-annual 
                          smog test.
Median Property Values     425K
Electricity Rates          15.50 cents per KW
State Population           39.5 million


Sales Tax                    5.6%
Property Tax                 0.84%
State Income Tax             2.59% to 4.54%
Vehicle Registration         Comparable to California
Median Property Prices       260K (2017)
Electricity Rates            10.40 cents per KW
State Population             7 million


Sales Tax                        4%-6%
Property Tax                     1.46% (median)
State Income Tax                 NONE
Vehicle Reg                      30-90 per year
Median property Values           172K
Electricity Rates                9.31 cents per KW        
State Population                 814,000
Weather in Hot Springs SD        December – Feb the low is typically 15 
degrees with a high in the mid 40s to low 50s. 
Summer months June-August are the hottest with highs 
in 90s lows in 50s Total snow fall is 34 inches a year 
with the average being 2 inches in winter months Dec-Feb.   
(I included the weather because when you mention 
the Dakotas, people immediately think BURIED IN SNOW-!!!!!  


Sales Tax                             4.6%-8.15%
Property Tax                          .84% (median)
State Income Tax                       NONE
Vehicle Registration                  Comparable to California
                                      Some urban areas require a bi-annual
                                      smog check.
Median Property Values                235K
Electricity Rates                     9.48 cents per KW
State Population                      2,919,056


Sales Tax                                4%-6% (median)
Property Tax                            .58%
State Income Tax                        NONE
Vehicle Registration                    Registration Calculator                                   
Median Property                         199K
Electricity Rates                       7.95 cents per KW
State Population                        582,513


Sales Tax                               NONE
Property Tax                            .83% (median)
State Income Tax Top Range              6.9%
Vehicle Registration                    0-4 years $217.00
                                        5-10 years $87.00
                                        11 years + $28.00
Median Property                         195K
Electricity Rates                       8.93 cents per KW
State Population                        989,415


Sales Tax                             6%-8%
Property Tax                          .69% (median)
State Income Tax top Range            7.4%
Vehicle Registration                  $35.00 to $60.00 per year
Median Property                       171K
Electricity Rates                     8.12 cents per KW
State Population                      1,567,582


Sales Tax                              None
Property Tax                         .87% (median)
State Income Tax                      top Range 9.9%
Vehicle Registration                  86.00 two years
Median Property                       235K
Electricity Rates                     8.82 cents per KW           
State Population                      3,831,074


Sales Tax                             4.7%
Property Tax                          0.6% (median)
State Income Tax                      Flat Rate 5%
Vehicle Registration                  Depends on weight, age, county.
Median Property                       214K
Electricity Rates                     8.61 cents per KW
State Population                      2,763,885


Sales Tax                          6.5% Municipalities can
                                   add up to 3.1% to that, with 
                                   the average combined rate at 8.89%                                                                                      
Property Tax                      .92% (median)
State Income Tax                   None 
Vehicle Registration              Varies by weight of vehicle:   
                                  0–4,000 lbs:$43.75
                                  4,001–6,000 lbs: $53.75
                                  6,001–8,000 lbs: $63.75

Median Property                  254K
Electricity Rates                7.41 cents per KW
State Population                 6,724,540


Sales Tax                       5.12% - 8.6%
Property Tax                   .55%
State Income Tax               4.9%
Vehicle Registration           $27.00 - $62.00 per year
Median Property                $335K
Electricity Rates              9.68 cents per KW
State Population               2,059,179

Use this tool to compare all 50 states in regards to Taxes.

Here is a link to see what Electricity Rates are per state!  This can be a HUGE cost to consider!

Some notes to consider:

****Median property values are state-wide numbers. Actual prices of homes could be lower or higher depending upon the city. This number just gives you an idea the comparison overall with each state.

****Median property taxes are state-wide numbers. Actual property taxes could be higher or lower depending upon county. However, lower property prices in a state with “higher” property taxes could even things out. A person who lives
in a state with “high” property taxes could actually be paying less property taxes than in California because of the low cost of the property.

This spread sheet does NOT cover other costs of living such as groceries, medical care (access), health insurance, fuel, utilities, etc. These are also things to consider when deciding on an overall cheaper place to live.  When doing a Google search on the overall cost of living comparisons between states, I came up with different results.

NOTE: Some states such as South Dakota have a very low population therefore not needing a vast budget for infrastructure.