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Ultimate Steps to Prepare for Retirement Living5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you want to enjoy your retirement days, you need a plan and start preparing. During this stage of life, good health, social activities, and having enough money are all crucial! Therefore, you should consider a few factors as it approaches.

Whether you plan to retire in a few years or decades, taking a few steps ahead of time can help you have everything you need to pursue your dream retirement lifestyle. Find the detailed explanation and tips you need below!

Before choosing where to retire, you need to analyze several aspects. The most important are the state’s cost of living, state and local tax rates, sales taxes, health care and Medicare access, weather, leisure, and social activities.

Also, you should know if the state where you plan to live after retirement is tax-friendly. Do you want to stretch your savings as best you can? If so, you should pay attention to the policies for property taxes, for example.

Every place is different. In some cities, retirees must pay an inheritance tax, while some states tax social security income.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an underlying illness or need therapy for a medical condition, you should also make sure that the new place you’ll be living offers multiple health care options.

Other things you should consider are the weather and the environment. Do you prefer cold or hot cities? Do you want to live near the mountains or think sunny days are better for you? Answer those questions before making a decision!

In other words, taking into account how much you can spend on average, the potential tax burden, available medical services, and other important factors can help you choose a better location.

Retirement Living by State: How Far Can You Stretch Your Retirement Income

Retirenment Savings

Stretching your retirement income also depends on several factors, including the cost of living and dollar value. That’s something to keep in mind if you plan to move somewhere else.

In some states, your retirement dollar may not go as far as it used to do in your home city, while it may go farther in others.

The US 10 states with the best value for a dollar include Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and South Dakota, West Virginia, among others. Hawaii, New York, California, and New Jersey are among those with the worst dollar value.

Compared to your expected retirement budget, each state’s value for a dollar can help you figure out how much purchasing power you’ll have or how much you’ll be able to stretch your retirement income.

What You Should Know About Retirement Living Taxes by State

Taxes are also a financial factor you should consider before your retirement planning. Many people forget to analyze the state taxes before finding a new place to live in. However, you should keep in mind that these factors can affect your budget and income.

Some states have become ideal destinations for retirees because they have no income taxes or offer property tax relief programs. Others promise low sales tax rates to reduce the financial burden on people. However, some try to make up for that lack of tax with higher estate tax rates.

Should You Consider State and Local Taxes?

Income, sales, and property tax rates can contribute to a person’s tax burden. Although each state tries to balance them and offer tax breaks or other benefits to retirees, these are the ones that you will probably have to pay in most locations you choose to live in:

  • State income taxes
  • State estate taxes
  • High property taxes
  • Local sales taxes
  • State inheritance taxes

You should also check whether there’s other taxable income, as some states tax pension income or social security benefits. In some states, retirees must pay other taxes, including the gas tax/fee, for example.

Do You Have to Pay State Income Tax in All States?

In some locations, you do not have to pay state income tax. The US tax-friendly states that fall into this category are Alaska, Nevada, Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Although New Hampshire does not require retirees to pay income taxes, it’s among the states that tax interest and dividend income.

How to Find Retirement Communities

If you already included the local sales tax and income tax rates to estimate your budget, now you must find the retirement community. However, if you don’t know how to do it, don’t worry! Find the best tips here. This is what you should look for:

Leisure Opportunities

If you want to enjoy your retirement days, you need a recreation schedule. Therefore, you should look for a community that promotes socializing or hosts activities you can get involved in. Try to get that information before making a decision!

Lifestyle

You should also pay attention to any community restrictions or policies to see if it fits your desired lifestyle. Do you want to have a dog? Make sure that the retirement place you choose does not have rules against pets.

Medical Care

As mentioned, medical attention is vital. Even if you do not have any disease and are healthy, you should choose a community with good specialists or medical care providers. It’s essential if there’s an emergency, for example.

Maintenance

You should also check the available maintenance options. If you want to buy a property but don’t want to take care of repairs or cleaning during your retirement days, finding a community that provides these services as part of its monthly fee is essential!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, preparing for your retirement is not complicated, but it takes time and knowledge. Therefore, before defining what to do in the future or choosing a place to move, you should consider all the policies regarding income tax.

Also, you have to keep in mind that sales tax and estate tax rates can affect your retirement budget. Make sure you consider them when doing your-preplanning economic research.

You should also remember that each state is different. While some do not require retirees to pay property taxes, others tax social security income or have high sales tax and estate tax rates. If you consider all these details, planning your dream retirement will be a piece of cake!

About 

Edwin Cannon has spent his entire career in the financial industry and specializes in alternative investments and surviving marketing turbulence. He started My Retirement Paycheck to help educate consumers about retirement investment options that aren't typically introduced by advisors.