The Top States for Retirees in 2021
What is the best state to retire in? Well, that might depend on what’s most important to you. Are you a year-round sunshine type of person who’s looking to squeeze in as much warm weather as possible? Or are you a financial wizard that is trying to maximize your retirement payouts? Whatever it is that draws you most, here is our list of some of the best retirement states.
You’ve had enough winter to last you a lifetime, we get it. Lucky for you, it’s totally possible to flat-out call it quits on winter. And if you’re worried about the tax side of things, well, there are a couple of options that won’t even require you to choose between the heat and taxes that can’t be beat.
Are you really surprised that “The Sunshine State” made the top of the list? Probably not. But in addition to a healthy amount of over 55 communities in Florida, activities that are geared to retired folks, and warm weather year-round, the state also has some pretty reasonable tax advantages. Expect to pay no state income tax—which means Social Security retirement benefits, pension income and income from an IRA or a 401(k) are all untaxed—and no estate or inheritance tax. Plus, property and sales tax rates are close to the national mark.
With average lows in the 50’s and highs in the ’90s, South Carolina has some pretty temperate weather (just keep in mind that it gets colder, the further inland you get). But in addition to some pretty balmy but not-too-hot days, you’ll also enjoy some reasonable tax rates. South Carolina does not tax Social Security retirement benefits and it provides a $15,000 taxable income deduction for seniors receiving any other type of retirement income. Add that to the fact that the state has some of the lowest property taxes in the country, and you could be looking at your future home in one of South Carolina’s 55+ communities.
Not afraid of a little cold weather? Well, good on you. Because some of us consider 50-degree temperatures to be full-on coat weather. The good thing about a little winter though is that it pretty much guarantees you a romantic view of all four seasons. Sure, there are some non-romantic parts to it, but those in the know understand that there’s nothing cozier in life than the start of fall, and nothing more renewing than the beginning of spring. While there are many options for places that have 4 seasons, here our some of our top spots for active adult communities that provide you with a full winter, spring, summer and fall.
The best place to catch all four seasons is probably on the East Coast, while there are plenty of options for 55+ communities in the Northeast, those active adult communities in Pennsylvania may be overlooked at first glance. But Pennsylvania should certainly be one state worth considering—especially if you fancy a little New York City trip here and there. On top of boasting all four seasons, Pennsylvania has some pretty tax friendly policies. The state fully exempts all income from Social Security, as well as payments from retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs. It also exempts pension income for seniors aged 60 or older. You’ll pay slightly more on property tax rates, but the average total sales tax rate is among the 20 lowest in the country. Yippee!
55+ communities in New Jersey should also be on your list as you consider places to retire that provide you with beautiful 4 season weather. Like Pennsylvania, New Jersey experiences the full breadth of seasons and, more importantly can provide you with plenty of different vibes. From the big city feels of NYC, the laid-back beach vibes of the Jersey Shore, and even the college town feel of Princeton active adult communities in the area have a lot to offer. And while New Jersey is not necessarily known for its friendly property taxes, the state does exempt Social Security from state taxes providing active adults with some relief.
Top Retirement States for the Fiscal Aficionados
You like a warm, sunny day as much as the next person. And maybe you even enjoy a little bit of fall weather here and there. But that’s not how you expect to plan your retirement. Because truth be told, you are a planner, and you know how to think of everything—including the best way to get the most out of all of your hard-earned money. Well fear not, there are quite a few top retirement states for those who would rather keep more of their money in their pocket.
If you want to pay the least taxes, you might have to make quite the move. All the way to Alaska, where there is no state income tax. What exactly does that mean? No tax on Social Security retirement benefits or pension payments, and no state sales tax, estate, or inheritance tax.
Looking to explore your Southern manners? You’ll find taxes in Georgia to be rather polite. Georgia does not tax Social Security retirement benefits and provides a maximum deduction of $65,000 per person on all types of retirement income for anyone 65 or older. Sales tax rates and property tax rates are also relatively moderate and there are no inheritance or estate taxes so a new home in one of Georgia’s 55+ communities may be right for you.
Want to enjoy a safe bet for retirement and keep the risk-taking on the table? Then head to Nevada, where there are no state income taxes and relatively low property taxes. While the state sales taxes are higher than average, Nevada has plenty of other perks for active adults in the area. From hiking at one of the area’s national parks to visiting “Sin City” gambling and entertainment, a new home in one of Nevada’s over 55 communities may be perfect for you.
While there are other ways to pick your top retirement states, but considering weather and taxes isn’t a bad place to start. Of course, not everyone is considering buying a new home for their retirement. But it could work out for you if you do your research and choose wisely.
Contributed to The 55+ Society
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