The Best And Worst States For Military Retirees

Don’t you just love when someone else does the leg-work for you? If you’re thinking of retiring from the military, you can stop asking Siri your questions and take a look at this list, which breaks down the most important factors for you. In 2018, WalletHub ranked the best and worst states for military retirees based on the economy, quality of life, and access to healthcare.

The average age for officers to retire from the military is 45-years-old, so depending on the situation, they could be working for another twenty years. That’s why the economic environment is a key factor in this decision making. Quality of life is, of course, important to anyone, and access to health care is a must for military retirees who may have been injured while serving. Here are the top five states for veterans to retire, as well as the bottom five that should be avoided. The irony of the worst place for veterans to retire is too much to handle!

#1 Florida


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What stands out the most about Florida is its high quality of life. WalletHub ranked the state #5 out of 51 for that sunshine, beach, fishing, and golf links. When it comes to the economy and business opportunities, Florida is paving the way for veterans by making it easier to start a business in the sunshine state.

Florida State Official Adam Putnam said, “We’re going to waive the application fees on almost every occupational license that’s out there.” There’s also no state income tax or taxes on military pensions.

#2 Virginia

#2 Virginia

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If Virginia had better access to health care, it would have come out on top. The state is ranked number one for the quality of life and third for economic environment. Virginia’s technology industry is booming, and it’s the fourth most popular state for tech jobs. The internet speed is off the charts, and it’s a great state for starting a business.

However, Virginians aren’t the healthiest, as nearly 30% of the state’s population between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese. But a visit to the beautiful Blue Range Mountains or the Appalachian Mountains will do your soul good.

#3 New Hampshire


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The state of New Hampshire turned out in top ten across all three categories. The small state might not call a lot of attention, but New Hampshire is a good choice to consider for military retirees.

The state boasts some of the largest ski mountains on the East Coast, while also home to the Appalachian Trail. There’s no income tax or general sales tax in New Hampshire, and the median household income is fairly high, at $49,467. The agricultural industry is a big player here, as well as machinery shops.

The next state ranked #1 for economic environment. Can you guess what it is?

#4 Alabama


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The state of Alabama has a diverse and thriving economy, which is ideal for someone entering the job market. The southern state has invested in aerospace, education, healthcare, banking, automobile manufacturing, steel production and more.

WalletHub set the quality of life ranking at #14 for Alabama, which is a great place to be for football fans, with the top-ranking University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

#5 South Carolina


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South Carolina’s ‘quality of life’ ranking bumped the state into the number five spot for best states for military retirees. The southern state boasts 187 miles of coastline and lush landscape. The humid, subtropical climate will have you feeling like you’re on a permanent vacation. The winters are also very mild here.

WalletHub rated South Carolina number fifteen for economic ranking. The major industries in the state include farming, manufacturing, and hospitality-tourism. For military retirees looking to further their education, South Carolina is a great place to be, with over a dozen higher education institutions.

Those were the top five states, now let’s see which states were ranked last!

#47 New Mexico


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Ouch, New Mexico ranked number 47 on the list of best places for military retirees, which is pretty close to last. There aren’t many job opportunities in the state, which isn’t good for young veterans and people looking to transition into a new career.

The weather is pretty extreme, with temperatures ranging from the teens to over 100 degrees. But where this state really tanked on WalletHub’s list is access to health care. They also have some of the lowest ratings in the country when it comes to education, which isn’t good for young families. In fact, in another study, WalletHub rated New Mexico as one of the worst states to raise a family.

Another state not far from New Mexico was one of the worst as well…

#48 Nevada


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While housing is affordable in the state of Nevada, the job opportunities are not there. Unless you’re planning on working in hospitality on the strip, there aren’t many careers worth moving there for. WalletHub also ranked Nevada as one of the worst states to raise a family, with little access to education and childcare.

Divorce rates are also high in the state, and crime is prominent in Nevada. While it may be a good place to vacation, most military retirees won’t consider moving to the Silver State.

#49 Vermont


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Vermont is beautiful, so how did it end up on this list? Even though the state boasts incredible fall foliage and ski resorts, it has nothing going on in the jobs department. WalletHub ranked Vermont number fifty in terms of economic environment, noting it’s a difficult place to start a business. The best case scenario in this state would be working for the government, which could be a good possibility for veterans.

The population in Vermont is small and aging, and access to health care ranks 31 on the list. However, it’s a super safe place to live, which is good for families.

#50 Oregon


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Oregon shouldn’t be at the top of the list for military retirees. The Pacific Northwest state has a beautiful landscape, mountains, and coastline, but not many job opportunities. Although the climate is described as mild, there’s a lot of rainfall in Oregon.

The majority of the state’s population resides in Willamette Valley, otherwise, Oregon has plenty of open lands. Many families are struggling to get by in the state that has the third largest amount of food stamp users in the country. Add this to the list of states to visit, but not retire.

Have you figured out the worst? Find out next!

#51 District of Columbia


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Maybe you didn’t think D.C. would be found on this list, but here it is- in dead last. The nation’s capital is not where you want to be if you’re a military retiree. Although Virginia was ranked the second-best state, D.C. itself ranks number fifty in the quality of life and healthcare categories, and if you’ve ever visited in the winter time you know it’s brutal!

Crime isn’t as bad as it used to be, as it was once named the “murder capital” of the nation in the ’90s. Home prices have reached a 10-year high in the area, with a median housing cost of $435,000. It has one of the fewest populations of veterans per capita, as well as the fewest VA Health Facilities per number of veterans.