How To Choose the Best Retirement States

Enjoying retirement

You've waited for decades for this day to come, and it is finally here. You are officially retired and are the envy of your coworkers. You and your spouse are considering a move, but to where? The U.S. offers 50 beautiful states; here a few things to consider when deciding the best retirement state for you:

  1. Money matters, specifically taxes. Although many people pay close attention to the state income tax rates of different states, for most retirees who are past their peak earning years, property taxes and sales tax are more significant factors. Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine did a study comparing the real cost of living in the capitol cities for each of the 50 states. Here's a quick summary of their findings:
    • #1 Dover, Delaware came out to be the most affordable. There is no sales tax and real estate taxes are very reasonable.
    • #2 Juneau, Alaska took second place, but the costs were about double that of Dover. And, in Alaska, you've got the weather and the extended periods of darkness to consider!
    • #3 Frankfort, Kentucky came in at number three. They offer low property taxes, generous retirement income exemptions, and there is no sales tax on food.
    • #4 Columbia, South Carolina takes fourth place for its low sales tax rate and very reasonable property taxes.
    • #5 Albany, New York rounds out the top five due to the fact that the New York retirees are permitted to earn a considerable income before they have to worry about paying any state income tax. Additionally, New York offers generous senior exemptions for property taxes.
  2. One more word about money; rural towns are often considerably more affordable than urban areas. There is more than cost to consider, however, so please read on for other factors to think about!
  3. Are you a warm weather fanatic or do you enjoy the changing seasons? There is no right answer for everyone; of course, personal preferences must prevail.
  4. Is it important to you to have your family living nearby or are you fine with traveling greater distances for visits? Consider your expectations about visiting when making your decision and be sure to talk to family members to get their input. Some families do just fine with occasional visits while others prefer to be "come for coffee" close.
  5. Talk to your friends to see what their retirement plans are. Often the "best" place is wherever you have friends!
  6. Request tourist and relocation information from any states that you are even remotely considering. Simply go to your favorite search engine and type in "tourist information" along with the name of the state. You will soon find that your mailbox is overflowing with informational packets from all across the country!
  7. Once you have begun to narrow the field, take vacations to visit some of your top choices. Be sure to look around as a potential resident and not just as a tourist. Some places that are wonderful to visit may not be as attractive as a full-time resident. Inquire about crime rates and housing costs, as well as access to health care, social clubs, and recreational facilities.
  8. Consider moving to a college town. Towns that boast large universities are normally bustling with activity. Athletic events, cultural opportunities, exceptional medical facilities, and even continuing education are all at your fingertips. Additionally, college students are often in need of part-time jobs, so hiring someone for yard work, snow removal, errands, and other household chores should be easy and affordable.


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