Tip for state’s early retirees: Stay put

Delaware just cracked Smart Asset’s list of the top 10 states for early retirement – bouncing its neighbor Pennsylvania off the list. The ratings were based on income tax, sales tax, property taxes, median housing costs, cost of living, healthcare costs and the number of doctor’s offices and entertainment establishments.

Here’s the list:

1. Wyoming
2. Kentucky and Mississippi (tie)
4. South Dakota
5. Florida
6. Tennessee
7. Delaware
8. Nevada
9. Louisiana
10. North Dakota

Delaware made the list despite having the 23rd-highest average effective income tax among states, because it has no sales tax, the fifth-lowest property tax in the nation and the 11th-highest concentration of doctor’s offices.

SmartAsset estimated retirees’ annual health insurance cost would be $10,788, much less than Alaska’s $23,856 and Arizona’s $14,400, but much higher than Texas’ $6,936 or Massachusetts’ $4,927.

Delaware’s median housing cost would be $12,888, cheap compared to California’s $17,964 and New Jersey’s $18,252, but more than $4,000 more than Florida.

With an average effective property tax rate of 0.6 percent, Delaware was one of only 25 states with rates below 1 percent.

Sales tax boosted Delaware’s rank. Only four other states don’t have sales tax: Alaska, Montana, Oregon and New Hampshire. Several states now have a sales tax above 9 percent. Tennessee’s is 9.5 percent and Arkansas is 9.3. Louisiana has a 10 percent tax and Alabama’s is 9 percent.

Smart Asset cautioned that, even in the top 10 states, retirement is pricey. Combined costs of housing, health insurance and other expenses average $33,000, even in the top 10 states.

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