If your dream retirement involves snow instead of sand, you’re in luck. Many of the cheapest and best places to retire are in cold-weather states.

If you’re more into skiing than sunbathing, you may find a cheaper cost of living in places like Bangor, Maine or Juneau, Alaska.

Retirement costs in states where temperatures dip well below the national averages could wind up saving you a bundle compared to states with sunnier climates.

What makes a place a “best place” to retire?

Of course, where you retire involves more than just day-to-day living expenses. Other factors include taxes, health care costs, state poverty rates, and the fiscal well-being of the state, not to mention the cultural life of a state.

So we have compiled this list of eight colder-weather states* with a well-rounded quality of life, and where average household income for retirees is less than $45,000 annually** (That’s well below the national median household income of $60,000.)

1. Alaska

Average temperatures

January: 23°
June: 63°

Average income for 65+


Alaska also gets high marks for its cultural offerings and low taxes.

2. Idaho

Average temperatures

January: 38°
June: 81°

Average income for 65+


Idaho ranks high for the state well-being and low crime, and health care.

3. Iowa

Average temperatures

January: 31°
June: 82°

Average income for 65+


Iowa gets good marks for healthcare, low crime, and culture.

4. Maine

Average temperatures

January: 28°
June: 74°

Average income for 65+


Maine gets a good score for the overall well-being of the state, low crime, quality of healthcare and culture.

5. Michigan

Average temperatures

January: 30°
June: 78°

Average income for 65+


Michigan scores well for low taxes and ranks in the middle of the list for crime and culture.

6. Montana

Average temperatures

January: 33°
June: 76°

Average income for 65+


Ranks near the top for health care, taxes, culture, and crime.

7. South Dakota

Average temperatures

January: 22°
June: 78°

Average income for 65+


South Dakota gets high marks across the board for culture, quality of healthcare, low crime, and overall state wellbeing.

8. Wisconsin

Average temperatures

January: 29°
June: 75°

Average income for 65+


It ranks well for culture, quality of healthcare, and low crime.

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