A federal pension provides some financial security in a retirement world increasingly riddled with uncertainty. But it also means living on a fixed income.
Whether you have ample savings to cushion your pension or rely solely on a monthly check, keeping expenses low is key. Of course, no one wants to spend their retirement worried about money or unable to enjoy the break they’ve worked so hard to earn—so a chance to live a joyful, passionate life is also key.
The city where you choose to live can greatly affect your financial security, while also determining your opportunities for entertainment, volunteering, and meeting new friends. Tax structure, cost of housing, public transportation, and access to senior support resources such as senior living communities are all significant.
Here are some of the very best places for seniors to retire.
Seniors flock to Florida for a reason: it offers a break from the cold, an attractive destination for friends or family to visit, and numerous money-saving benefits.
Florida has no state income tax and does not tax Social Security, allowing your money to go further. The cost of living in the most popular cities can be high, but seniors willing to live in rural or less popular areas can save plenty of money. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked Fort Myers as the second-best place to retire in the U.S., citing plenty of enriching activities and an affordable median home price of just $231,000. Sarasota and Lakeland also remain affordable.
Because there are so many seniors living in Florida—making up about 23 percent of the population—numerous community agencies serve seniors of every income and need level.
If you prefer to have four seasons but still love a temperate climate, Georgia is a good alternative to Florida. Beginning at the age of 62, you can apply for a retirement income exemption. Many cities also offer property tax discounts or exemptions to seniors over 65.
Atlanta is a bustling, sprawling metropolis featuring an active cultural life, hundreds of excellent restaurants, and a rich tradition of activism. This makes it a great location for seniors who want to be involved in their communities or volunteer with local charities.
Outside of Atlanta, there are plenty of verdant green spaces. The rural parts of Georgia feature fishing holes, mountains, and limitless natural splendor.
Georgia is home to many exceptional senior living communities that seamlessly merge independence and support, helping seniors live out their retirement dreams. Senior living communities are often a more affordable option than living at home. Canton is an increasingly popular destination, blending close proximity to Atlanta with the beauty of a rural Georgia town.
For seniors who relish quiet and natural beauty, it’s hard to beat Wyoming. Jackson Hole offers hunting, fishing, and year-round recreation. Wyoming also has one of the lowest costs of living in the United States, with Laramie and Casper among the most affordable cities in the state.
Your retirement income will go further in Wyoming than it does almost anywhere else. The state has no income tax, does not tax Social Security or pensions, and keeps sales taxes low. Seniors are also eligible for a wide range of property tax exemptions.
Alaska is known for being cold, but much of the state is quite temperate during the spring and summer. For seniors who crave a little adventure, it’s a can’t-miss spot filled with fishing, hunting, camping, and stark beauty.
Property taxes are high, but there is no state income tax and no sales tax. Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, offers easy access to medical centers and retirement communities.
There’s no escaping the fact that Hawaii has a high cost of living, so seniors who are pinching pennies should skip this destination. But if you have a solid retirement account or a good pension, Hawaii offers an exceptional quality of life. For seniors who want to invest in real estate, there’s also a chance to make money through rental properties.
Hawaii does not tax federal pensions and is home to several military bases, making it a good option for military veterans who may continue accessing services through the VA.
Nevada comes with a relatively high cost of living. But in return you get 24/7 access to virtually endless entertainment, including dozens of casinos that welcome seniors with open arms.
There is no state income tax and no Social Security tax, allowing your income to go further. Yahoo! Finance recommends Gardnerville as the best place in Nevada to retire, citing a low tax burden, a large senior population, and plenty of quality medical centers.
You might not immediately think of South Dakota when you consider retiring, but upon closer inspection, this state may be a great fit. There is no tax on Social Security, no income tax, and property and sales taxes are also low. Couple this with the low overall cost of living, and South Dakota becomes a more attractive option.
Consider moving to the beautiful lakeside town of Mobridge, which boasts a large community of retirees, excellent public schools for your grandkids, and very low crime.
No matter where you choose to live, be sure to check out senior living communities in the area. These attractive homes offer affordable living and 5-star accommodations. For seniors looking to save money and stay busy, it’s hard to beat senior living.
For the past 5 years, Chris Harper has been the Vice President of Communications at The Arbor Company. His dedication to fulfilling Arbor’s mission of providing unparalleled care to seniors has made him a passionate advocate for senior health, memory care, and aging with dignity.