Can you believe it’s that time of your life already?
You’ve done everything you set out to do – acquired the job you wanted; got married and had a family; you’ve moved house several times, each time to a bigger, better one; then came the grandchildren; and now you are wondering if there’s something else you can do before you ‘stop’ completely.
Is it that time to ‘hang up your boots’ and plan for retirement?
So, you know it’s time for a change, and yet you’re scared of getting stuck in a rut for the last years of your life?
Do you want to make the most of your money and to see the years of your hard work of saving and planning finally pay off?
Have you thought about retiring but are unsure of how to make your retirement dreams come true?
Retirement in the USA
We’ve all thought about it, but how many of us plan for our retirement properly?
Are we going to work hard all our adult lives and then settle for just getting up for work one morning and then not the next?
It takes a long time for us to accept this dramatic change in our lives as we learn to adjust, physically and mentally, to a significant part of our lives just stopping.
The average retirement age in the USA is 63 years old, and there are a number of factors which contribute to why people retire.
So why settle for mediocre?
Why not make the next stage in your life an adventure – something to look forward to and to plan for?
Let’s make retirement fun!
Planning for your future
There are a number of questions you have to ask yourself honestly when planning retirement:
- When do you want to stop working?
- What do you want to do when you retire?
- Retirement isn’t free – how much money do you need to enjoy life?
- Where do you want to live – a significant question!
- Do your retirement plans coincide with your partner’s?
Many people think retirement means just stopping work and trying to find things to fill the day for the rest of their life.
You couldn’t be further from the truth – the USA is a vast country and how much exploring of where you come from have you done?
So much choice when it comes to retiring in the USA
Did you know that the USA is ranked 24th in the world for being a great place to retire to?
Pensioners have a fantastic opportunity to move to a place in the US that suits their financial budgets as well as their interests.
The real challenge ahead is finding that special place that needs all those essential retirement needs.
Comprehensive studies have been done which look at housing affordability, happiness, taxes for the retired, healthcare, and data has been collated, which is useful to use when making huge personal decisions.
Of course, retirement is a personal individual choice with significant factors to consider including family and friends, the weather, cost of living, etc.
However, affordability and quality of life are the key to a happy, fulfilling retirement.
Because we’re focusing on best places to retire to in the US, we’ve taken into consideration the significant economic factors…
Other factors include house prices, cost of living compared with the national average, state tax issues which also includes whether a state imposes income taxes on Social Security or whether it offers exclusive deals for retirement incomes and if the estate or inheritance tax is affected.
The best states to retire to
As you know, retirement generally comes with the age when we can receive Social Security or pension benefits.
However, 25% of people of retirement age don’t have the finances to enhance their retirement packages so where they live, now that they’re not earning, is vitally important.
This is where researching into states in the US, which are affordable areas is essential.
Moving to a state that lets you keep the lifestyle you are used to is therefore essential.
According to a study by Bankrate, the Mount Rushmore State of South Dakota is the best state to retire to, closely flowed by Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Florida.
This survey takes into consideration crime rate, healthcare, taxes, etc. so why South Dakota?
The survey by Gallup’ State of American Well-being’ pulls together more than 2.5 million surveys, which judges how people feel about their lives and residents of South Dakota have continuously scored the highest since 2013.
In South Dakota, residents are also immune from income taxes and live in the second most tax-friendly state in the US.
The weather in South Dakota though isn’t as pleasurable as in Florida where retirees can enjoy an average of 70 degrees in the ‘Sunshine State.’
Florida, with its beautiful Clearwater and Miami beaches on its doorstep, is another low tax haven although healthcare is pretty steep.
Utah is ranked high up in the states to retire to as the Beehive state is excellent for the cost of living, crime rates and taxes and healthcare.
Idaho, the Gem State, is an affordable state which boasts a healthy medical system although it isn’t thought much of as a cultural highlight.
New Hampshire proves itself to be the safest place to live and also provides first-class healthcare, low taxes, and copious amounts to do. However, there is a high cost of living, and the weather is infamously cold!
Arizona is a state known for its beautiful sunny weather, the abundance of golf courses for retirees to enjoy. It’s tax-friendly and offers affordable housing. It’s also home to great parks like the Grand Canyon National Park and the Red Rock State Park.
So, once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of the top states to retire to, now you have to decide on which town or city appeals the most!
Now for the best places to retire to in the US
Again, this is going to be extremely subjective, but:
Lancaster in Pennsylvania is a modern city with lots going on. Its vivid art scene is combined with history, which for retirees offers excellent value and exceptionally high quality of life. With its farmland, suburbs and entertaining downtown with its monthly arts and music festivals, lots are going on for everyone. Even in the winter months as it has a mountain resort, hiking, and infamous dog park!
Whereas Orlando, Florida ranks high in surveys for its many activities and its affordability which is helped by its residents paying no income tax. Or how about Fort Myers renowned for retirees. Lots of water, dream weather, a combination which shouts ‘heaven!’. Just beneath Fort Myers, still in Florida, is Sarasota – fishing, sailing, beach…
Texas, San Antonio is a great retirement spot which is full of history and Hispanic culture. Lots of entertainment or sports to see throughout the fantastic 300 days of sunshine each year. Did I mention the vineyards?
For those who fancy heading further west, look no further than Wenatchee, Washington. Roughly 150 miles east of Seattle, the cost of living here is slightly above average, but it certainly makes up for it. It has a low crime rate and accessible healthcare as well as a healthy economy. Like Florida, it has no state income tax.
However, Alabama has low-living costs and tax-friendly policies, which excuse most pensions and Social Security from state income tax. Densely populated with plenty of cultural activities there are lots here for pensioners to be kept happy.
The best place to live when retired in the US
Well, that’s really up to you.
The United States of America is a vast country and offers so much to everyone – it is the land of the American Dream.
From all the surveys we have looked at, it appears that each and every retiree has different reasons for settling where they do to end their days in retirement.
However, it does appear that of all the places you Americans tend to head towards is still the state of Florida with its multitude of senior opportunities.
Anywhere in Florida is seen as a retirement haven.
Whereas the place that seems to be topping all the charts, ticking all the right boxes for you retirees is Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Lancaster is extremely affordable compared to other cities and housing; there is less expensive than the national home price.
Expenses such as food, health, transport, etc. are roughly the same as the national average.
What also appeals to many people are the four very distinct seasons that Lancaster has on offer. You can still have your BBQ in the hot summer!
Lancaster isn’t too big – 7 square miles just about covers it so getting around isn’t too problematic.
Lancaster is renowned for it is Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, and other ‘Plain People.’ However, these communities don’t inhibit others from all the modern wonders of technology on offer!
But the choice is yours – the American Dream is still obtainable even if you have a few grey hairs, wrinkles and a bit of a pot belly!