The best states for an early retirement

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    By Nick Wallace/SmartAsset

    Thinking about an early retirement? If so, you'll need to plan carefully. There are a number of financial challenges for early retirees that those who wait until 65 or later don't need to worry about.

    For instance, while you can start claiming Social Security benefits as early as 62, doing so will cut into the benefit you receive throughout retirement. Furthermore, while retirees who are over the age of 65 receive numerous retirement tax benefits at both the state and federal level, younger retirees are often ineligible for these same advantages.

    Another consideration when deciding to retire early is healthcare. While people who are at least 65 years old qualify for Medicare, younger retirees will have to buy their own insurance on the private market. This can cost thousands of dollars a year.

    To find the best states for an early retirement, SmartAsset looked at six separate metrics for each state, emphasizing taxes and living costs in our analysis. We started by calculating effective state and local tax rates for retirees age 55-64, using our retirement income tax calculator to simulate over 600 different tax scenarios in each state.

    We also considered sales tax rates, property tax rates and living costs such as health insurance and housing.

    Click ahead for a look at the top states for an early retirement.

    Editor's note: Data and methodology are explained on the last page.