- Share of population over 65: 12.1%
- Crime rate: 3,182 crimes per 100,000 people
- Median home value: $349,400
- Life expectancy for population over 65: 85.3 years
- Retiree tax picture: One of the Least Tax-Friendly
The Golden State could be a fool’s gold choice for your golden years. Except for Social Security benefits, retirement income is fully taxed, and California imposes the highest state income tax rates in the nation (the top rate is a substantial 13.3%). The state sales tax of 7.5% — a temporary hike from 7.25% that’s set to expire in 2016 — is also daunting. The sales tax can reach as high as 10% in certain cities and counties that collect additional local taxes. It’s no wonder why California ranks so high among the top ten tax-unfriendly places for retirees.
Living costs are high, too. The median home value in California is more than double the national median and the second-highest of all 50 states, behind only Hawaii. Plus, if you were thinking of supplementing your fixed income by returning to work, the state’s unemployment rate of 8.5% as of November 2013 (compared with 7% for the U.S.) might put a kink in those plans. The percentage of residents over 65 is by far the lowest of the ten states on this list.