The Best Places for Military Retirement
For most military members, their retirement is a time of celebration. There are many details that go into determining where you want to retire from your service. The fare of living in different areas can vary greatly when it comes to housing, healthcare, food costs, and other necessities. If you are considering retiring from the military soon, here’s what you need to know about some great places for military retirees:
Table of Contents
- Where Do Most Retired Military People Live?
- Affordable Places For Military Veterans to Live
- How to Plan Your Retirement Abroad
- Check Visa and Residency Requirements
- Research Safety and Political Stability
- Determine Rules of Foreign Ownership
- Visit Before Moving, Rent Before Buying
- Consider an All-Cash Purchase
- Organize Your Assets (and Taxes)
- Settle Your Healthcare
- Get an International Driver’s License
- Think About Working During Retirement
- Plan to Stay Connected
- Tips for Selecting a State to Live
Where Do Most Retired Military People Live?
If you think about states that have the eldest people, Florida is probably the one that comes to mind. And you would be right. According to the latest statistics from the Census Bureau, 20.5% of people in Florida are over 65 years old. USA Today has reported this.
On a per-capita basis, Florida’s military veterans are 20th. On a total population basis, Florida has 8.6% of its residents being veterans.
In Alaska, there are a lot of people who have fought in wars. They are called veterans. 12% of the state is made up of military retirees, which means that 1-in-8 people in Alaska have served in the military.
Virginia is one of the cities with a high number of veterans. There are 10.6% in Virginia, Montana has 10.6%, and Wyoming has 10.2%.
It’s great to stay in a place where people have similar life experiences. If this is important to you, any of these states are good places for military members to retire.
There are approximately 17.4 million veterans in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2019. More than fifty-fifty of these veterans are 65 or older, and most served during the Vietnam War or Gulf War. Most veterans are men, and 81% were white males in 2019.
Veterans made up 7% of the nation’s total population in 2019. But some states were home to way more veterans than others. New York had the smallest percentage of veterans, at 4.3%.
If you are trying to save money by living longer, moving to another country might be the answer. Living in a foreign land can offer more opportunities to see the world, and it may also have a lower cost of living than your home country.
But which are the top countries for retirees? International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index features the best countries for retirees each year. And in 2021, five Spanish-speaking Latin American countries were on this list. If you are planning to live in a foreign country, you should put learning Spanish on your list.
Affordable Places For Military Veterans to Live
Virginia is near Washington DC. It has a lot of veterans. Some schools are good, and some hospitals are good. You can live in Virginia with a low cost of living and good schools.
Florida is one of the leading places for retired military people. Florida is the third-largest community of veterans in the US and offers a complete tax exemption on military retirement salaries. This city also has some of the top VA hospitals in the country if healthcare is important to you and your family.
If you are looking for a state where the financial incentives are good, then Alabama is a good place for you. In addition to having a stunted cost of living compared to other states, it also provides tax incentives for military retirees. In Alabama, all military salaries are tax-exempt. And there is a specific property and vehicle tax credit for veterans.
Alabama also has programs that offer discounts on hunting and fishing licenses. Alabama is a great state for veterans. There are many plans and benefits available to them. Alabama might be the best state for military retirees.
According to the WalletHub rankings, Maine is very high when it comes to veterans per 100 people. This means that there are many veterans in Maine. They are also very good at finding homes for their homeless veterans, and they have more veteran-owned businesses than other states.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the 14th best city in the United States for employment opportunities for veterans. It is one of two cities that ranked in the ten best cities for veterans but did not rank number 1 or 2 in any category.
According to government statistics and metrics, Alaska is the most veteran-friendly place to live. There are more than 10% of people in Alaska who are military veterans. The unemployment rate is 2 points less than the unemployment rate for people who aren’t from Alaska and don’t have military experience. Additionally, the average income among veterans is the highest in the country.
Boise, Idaho, ranked third for veterans. The city also ranked 16th for jobs. If your idea of retirement is a kayaking adventure, you should come live in Idaho. There are some places where you can do that, or if you like wine, there are vineyards.
About 10 percent of the adult citizens in the state are veterans, and while the values of living are generally smaller than the national average, housing values are a bit higher. On-base services are only available at one location. It is on the southwest edge of the state.
But there is the Boise VA Medical Center and clinics in Mountain Home, Salmon, Sandpoint, Caldwell, Lewiston, Coeur d’Alene, and Twin Falls. The state offers many benefits to veterans. They include reduced fees for hunting and fishing licenses, employment preference for state jobs, and reductions in property taxes for vets with service-connected disabilities.
How to Plan Your Retirement Abroad
Check Visa and Residency Requirements
Immigration and Residency laws change from country to country. You can find out if you need a visa to enter and live in the country that you are interested in moving to by looking at the U.S. Department of State’s information for each country.
There is also other useful information on the website. It says how long a passport will be valid for and what vaccinations are recommended or required. It also tells you that there are currency restrictions when entering and leaving the country.
Research Safety and Political Stability
The U.S. State Department has details about how safe and stable countries are. They update this information often to make sure that they have the most up-to-date report. It’s possible that there will be travel warnings. These are messages about countries. The U.S. may also stop people from going to certain countries, but the information is updated often and usually only for short periods of time.
You may not be able to go to certain places if you are a foreigner. You should know that you are subject to the country’s rules while you’re there.
Determine Rules of Foreign Ownership
Many countries have rules about who can own property and what the property can be used for. Some countries don’t let people from other countries own property. Before you decide to move to a country, make sure you look into the restrictions there. If they do not work with your plans or money, don’t go. Talk with a local real estate agent about it and see what they have to say. You can find agents through the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA).
Even though a country does not restrict who can buy property, it may control what happens when non-citizens sell their property.
Also, make sure that your home is in good condition. In the US, when people buy a home, they usually get legal rights to it. In other countries, it can be stiff to know the rules. That’s why you should always hire a real estate agent and a lawyer from that country. They will help you understand and keep track of everything.
Visit Before Moving, Rent Before Buying
Living in a country is different from being just a tourist. Try to stay in the neighborhoods and areas you are considering. Live like the locals do by visiting more than one season. In order to make a good decision about buying a home, you need to visit it during the worst time of year. This will inform you if there are problems with the house.
You won’t always be able to get away once you live there. It’s good to find out about the country or region’s history and culture. You can do this by joining local clubs in your area.
After you move, find a place to rent first before you buy. That way, you can see if the area is right for you. If it is, then start looking for houses.
Consider an All-Cash Purchase
It is hard to find a bank in the U.S. or another country that agrees to fund someone’s mortgage for a property in another country. Banks abroad might make loans, but they might ask for a very large down payment.
Try and find a house that you can buy in cash. When you buy with cash, it will be easier to make a deal. You will have more ability in the negotiation process and also get a better deal.
Organize Your Assets (and Taxes)
You are retiring abroad, but your money doesn’t have to leave the US with you. You can keep your stocks, bonds, annuities, and IRAs in the US, where you know the economy and political situation.
Unless you surrender your U.S. citizenship, you will still be subject to the same income tax requirements as if you lived in the U.S. You will need to file an income tax return with the IRS and declare any money that comes out of your retirement account.
You need to rattle on to a tax advisor before you move away. You should also stay in contact with them while you are abroad, so they know about your taxes at home and in the new country. If you decide to pass your assets abroad, talk with an accountant or attorney to discover how they will be charged.
To pay bills, you can open a bank account to accept money transfers from your U.S. account and pay them each day.
Online banking and brokerage accounts make it easy to manage money while you are in another country. But be aware that there are some countries that you cannot send money to. If you live abroad, your Social Security check can take a long time to get there. Direct deposit is a good idea so that your money will arrive on time. This way, there are fewer problems with currency change or check-cashing fees.
Major cards like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted in many places around the world. This is another way to pay for things if you don’t have enough money. You can contact your credit card company about making payments automatically.
Settle Your Healthcare
Many U.S. health insurance programs will not protect you while living abroad, so make sure you get a plan that does. If you are on Medicare, it is important to know that it does not help much when traveling outside the U.S., so make sure to find a good plan for when you travel!
Depending on where you go for retirement, it might be cheaper and easier to get health care. If the country already has subsidized care for citizens, make sure that foreigners get the same type of health care. If you’re not a citizen of the country where you plan to live, you need to find out what kind of health insurance coverage will be available. You can ask other people living there for help or look online for information from American or international companies.
If you are used to the best healthcare, it will be hard for you because it might not be accessible in your new country. You may need to set aside some money each year or even leave the country and go back home for healthcare.
If you have been seeing a doctor at home, ask them if they know of anyone who is near your new destination. This way, it will be easy to get medical help when you need it and for ongoing medical conditions.
Get an International Driver’s License
Many countries don’t recognize driver’s licenses from the U.S. You may need to get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from a group named the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance. You need a driver’s license to drive. You might need an international one if you want to drive abroad. They usually expire in 1 year, so make sure you get the right one with enough time.
Think About Working During Retirement
For some people, retirement does not mean not working. Some people volunteer or work part-time jobs after they retire. Others start new businesses in foreign countries.
If you plan on working, make sure that the country does not have any rules that would prevent you from finding a job or starting your own business.
Plan to Stay Connected
Even if they are retired, many people find the most difficult part of living abroad is missing friends and family. You should have a plan in place to stay in touch with the people you care about. If you want to stay connected with people who might not live nearby, you can use smartphones and online video-conferencing software.
It is very important for the connection to be strong and reliable. It is best if you live near a library or café with a connection to the internet. But, if that’s not viable, you can still go there and use their connection to get online.
You need an emergency plan. Give your family your contact information and a copy of your passport when you leave. And take the contact information for your family back home with you when you travel. The U.S. embassy or consulate is the place people go to ask for help if they need it. You should inform your friends and family how to get there, just in case they need it one day.
Tips for Selecting a State to Live
Look at the Tax Structure of the State
Military pensioners will get money from work when they retire. But you might have to recompense more for taxes in some states. It is important to know about the economic environment and tax burden where you want to live. You need this information before moving there.
Some states provide a tax break to veterans. Others don’t tax military salaries at all. These benefits will affect how much money you have in your new home and can be a major element in deciding where to live.
What is Your Healthcare Outlook?
Military retirees get free healthcare from the VA, but that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be able to use it wherever you move. You need to make sure that the place where you live will let you use it.
You might want to move to a place near a VA Medical Center. You should also find out what other types of healthcare services are offered there for veterans.
Are There Special Discounts and Other Services?
You should buy a new home. Some states will give veterans discounts or special services to honor their service. Find out if your state does this because it can be an attractive offer for many veterans and their families.
What’s Your Career Outlook?
Many military retirees will find a new job once they finish their service. So when you are looking for your next home, get a sense of the job market and how it matches up with skills you have developed during your military career.
Some companies hire veterans to work for them. Veterans do not need to worry about finding a job because the company hires them.
What is the Veteran Community Like?
A lot of people desire to live in a place that has lots of other people like them. That’s why military retirees might want to move somewhere with a lot of veterans. Many communities have organizations that help veterans. They are usually made up of ex-military officers and personnel. Veterans might like moving there because they have a lot of friends to talk to.
The Cost of Living
Life is expensive if you are raising a family. When moving to a new state after giving years of service to the military, you should consider the cost of living before settling where to live. People who do not know what they want to do with their lives can get a job in some states. States have different taxes and salary expectations.
There are many factors to consider when retiring from the military. Where will you live, how much money will you need for your monthly expenses? When should you retire, and what benefits do you qualify for as a veteran? The answers depend on each individual’s needs, but there are some things that most veterans want in their post-military life.