For many, the idea of retiring in Georgia is appealing. The state has a lot to offer, including bustling cities, quaint towns, and quiet countryside. Depending on what a perfect retirement looks like to you, there’s a decent chance Georgia could offer it. However, you do need to arrive at retirement properly prepared. If you’re trying to figure out how to retire well in Georgia, here’s what you need to know.
Cost of Living
When it comes to the cost of living, Georgia is less expensive than average. Popular cities like Augusta, Savannah, and even Atlanta all fall below the 100 mark, meaning they are less expensive than places like Chicago, Boston, of San Francisco. Even Charleston, South Carolina, comes in higher. What does a lower than average cost of living mean? It means that your dollar goes farther.
One of the areas where Georgia shines is housing costs. The median home value comes in near $207,000, while the median recent sales price sits around $212,500. Compare that to the national averages of $248,857 and $250,000, respectively, and it’s clear that you may get more home for your dollar in Georgia.
When it comes to consumer products, it’s also cheaper to be in Georgia. The score for the state, based on the most recent data available (2016), sits near 117. For the same period, the national average for urban consumers across the country came in around 240.
If you live in Georgia, you do have to pay state income taxes. Typically, the rates vary from between 1 and 5.75 percent. However, retirees can get a better deal.
If you are age 62 to 64 years old, up to $35,000 in retirement income is excluded from taxation. Once you reach age 65, the exclusion goes up to $65,000. Additionally, taxable Social Security is exempt from state-level taxation.
There are also property tax homestead exemptions for retirees in Georgia of up to $4,000. That’s just another benefit of choosing to retire in Georgia.
Part-Time Job Opportunities
Generally, Georgia has a strong selection of part-time job opportunities, allowing retirees to bring in additional income as they transition away from the full-time workforce. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment across the state came in near 3.1 percent. In comparison, the national unemployment rate pre-pandemic was 3.5 percent.
Currently, part-time job opportunities are in flux. However, if the situation resolves, Georgia can have many options that are suitable for retirees.
Best Cities for Retirees in Georgia
There are plenty of great cities to choose from in Georgia. However, if you’re a retiree, you need to consider your needs. Access to doctors, the availability of recreation, and similar factors all play into your decision.
SmartAsset crunched the numbers, determining which cities best help retirees thrive. At the top was Cumming, a city with plenty of opportunities for recreation, a large senior population, and plenty of medical facilities.
Other strong options included Decatur, Stone Mountain, Austell, and Snell. However, score wise, they came in significantly behind Cumming. But that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to those locations either. Peachtree City is considered one of the safest and greenest cities in the state, which may be appealing.
Even Atlanta could be a good option if you enjoy the big city life. It has a wide selection of retirement community, warmer winter temperatures, and plenty of amenities and entertainment options.
Ultimately, Georgia can be a great choice for retirees. The tax breaks alone make it worth considering, let alone the lower cost of living. You could potentially retire comfortably with a retirement income of around $56,500 a year, which is pretty affordable in comparison to many other locals.
Do you have any other tips that can help a person figure out how to retire well in Georgia? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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