• Bernhardt Wealth Management

Mobile Retirees: Where They're Going

You may have read that a record number of people decided to retire during the COVID pandemic, some as part of the so-called “Great Resignation” and others, already at or near retirement age, who simply decided that they didn’t want to face the uncertainties of the workplace during a public health crisis. Though the media sometimes made it sound like a mass exodus from the workforce, in fact only about half of all people age 55 and over are actually retired: just 2% more than before the pandemic began.

For those who have decided to retire, according to statistics compiled by the US Census Bureau people who are moving as a result of retirement are three times as likely to leave their current home state as those moving for work-related reasons. Of all the people who retired and moved away from home, a remarkable 47% decided to leave their home state.


Where did they go? The rankings differ modestly from 2020 to 2021, but it seems clear that retirees generally prefer a warmer climate and tax-friendly jurisdictions—but not always both. In 2021, Tennessee was the most popular relocation state (13.1% of retirees), followed by Florida (11.3%), Pennsylvania (10.7%), North Carolina (10.3%), South Carolina (9.4%), Kansas (7.0%), Arkansas (7.0%), Georgia (6.3%), Maine (5.4%), and Louisiana (4.3%). The top states in 2020 were, in order, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, and Alabama.


Of those states, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas do not impose a state income tax or tax on pension income, while Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Missouri and Texas do not levy state taxes on a retiree’s Social Security benefits.


Some of the most popular cities for retiree relocation included (again, in order): Mesa and Scottsdale, Arizona; Henderson, Nevada; Savannah, Georgia, Paradise, Nevada; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fort Myers, Florida; Cary, North Carolina; Eugene, Oregon; and Tucson, Arizona. But it should be noted that these are net numbers, where the retirees moving out were subtracted from the number of retirees moving in. Charlotte, Mesa, Henderson, and Tucson were among the cities that also experienced the largest number of retirees moving away.


Whether your retirement plans involve a relocation or not, they require careful evaluation and consideration of the various financial and non-financial impacts on your life. At Bernhardt Wealth Management, we work with clients who are looking toward retirement to help them develop planning and strategies that smoothly weave retirement into the fabric of their lives, taking into consideration their most important life goals and priorities for the future. If we can help you develop or fine-tune your retirement plans, we would love to hear from you. And to learn more, click here to read our article, “Just Lookin’ for a Home: The Most- and Least- Expensive States to Live In.”


Buen Camino!

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