Dueling Retirement States: DE vs. VA vs. MD vs. NJ

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

October 5 – 2010 Editors Note: This is the second in our series comparing various states as retirement destinations. Don’t miss the first one, Florida vs. Arizona Retirement, or the third, Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC. We welcome ideas for future comparisons.

In our previous retirement shoot-out we compared 2 states, Arizona and Florida, that are natural rivals but geographically quite distant. In this comparison we will compare 4 states that are very close geographically but have some other important differences.

Our approach here is to evaluate various factors for each state, letting our readers draw their own conclusions from the facts. As always, reader input is extremely important. We encourage you to use the Comments section below to tell your stories and express your preferences.

Population (Data from American Fact Finder-U.S. Census Bureau).
With the exception of tiny Delaware, all 4 of these states have fairly high populations. Maryland’s population is 5,476,100 with 11.8% of its population over 65. New Jersey has 8,462,300 residents; 13.1% are over 65. Virginia has a population of 7,449,200 with 11.8% over 65. Delaware’s population is by far the smallest at 837,700, but it has the highest proportion of residents over 65 (13.7%). These states attract most of their retirees from within their own borders or the northeast.

Economics and Home Prices.
All 4 states have higher home prices than the national 2006-2008 median of $192,400 (Census Bureau) or the Zillow 2010 median of $182,200. The national household income median was $52,175 in 2006-8. Of the 4 states compared here, Delaware has the lowest home prices and household income.

Delaware’s median home value in 2006-2008 was $239,700 (Census Bureau). Delaware is the only 1 of these 4 states where home values appear to have increased in the past few years. According to the Zillow Home Value Index the value of a home there had increased to $262,500 in 2010. DE household income is $57,270.

Maryland’s 2006-8 home value was $340,900 (Census Bureau), declining significantly to $246,400 in 2010 (Zillow). HH income was $70,000.

New Jersey’s 2006-8 home value was $367,600, declining $80,000 to $287,000 by late 2010 (Zillow). Median HH income was $69,674.

Virginia homes had a 2006-8 median value of $259,200 in 2006-8, according to the Census Bureau. That value declined slightly by 2010 to $231,800 (Zillow). HH income was $61,044.

Climate
There are no significant differences between these 4 states are far as climate goes. New Jersey has the coldest winters, but only by a few degrees.
State (City) Avg. July High Avg Jan Low
Delaware (Dover) 87 27
Maryland (Baltimore) 91 29
New Jersey (Trenton) 85 21
Virginia (Richmond) 88 28

Tax Environment
Delaware is by far the most tax-friendly state for retirees among this group. Delaware is ranked as having the 24th highest tax burden in the nation. It has no sales tax. It does have several pieces of good news for retirees: it is the 43rd highest for per capita property taxes; social security income is not taxed; and $12,500 of pension income is not taxed. DE does have an estate tax.
Maryland is a high tax state with the 4th highest tax burden in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. It has a top income tax rate of 6.25%; sales tax is 6%. On the plus side for retirees, it is the 26th highest for property taxes, and does not tax social security. MD and NJ are among the few states that have both an estate and an inheritance tax.
New Jersey has the dubious distinction of being the #1 highest state for state/local taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. Its top income tax rate is 8.97%; sales tax is 7%. Particularly hurtful for retirees, NJ has the highest per-capita property taxes in the nation. Fortunately, social security is not taxed. It has both an estate tax and an inheritance tax.
Virginia could be considered tax-friendly, at least compared to NJ and MD. It has the 18th highest state/local tax burden. The top income tax rate is a relatively modest 5.75%; sales tax is 5% (plus localities must collect an additional 1%). It is ranked 18th highest in per capita property taxes. Social security is not taxed, nor are there any inheritance or estate taxes.

Physical Environment and Diversity
All 4 of these states are approximately the same from a geographic basis. All have a long coast line and/or waterfront on large bays. All are close to major cities in the Northeast. Virginia is the most distinctive and diverse of the 4, thanks to the mountains in its western half,

Places to Live
All 4 states have at least one important city, and all offer wide choices of college towns or livable small towns. Ironically, Delaware, by far the smallest state in terms of population, has the most number of towns on Topretirements’ list of 100 Best Retirement Towns (3). Those include Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, and Smyrna. Virginia has 2 towns on the list, Charlottesville (#13) and Williamsburg.

Choice of Active Communities
Virginia and New Jersey seem to have the widest variety of active adult communities. At Topretirements we count 21 communities in our Delaware Directory of Active Communities, 16 in our Maryland Directory, 41 in the New Jersey Directory, and 38 in the Virginia Directory of Active Communities.

Retirement Popularity
Based only on the number of towns making the Topretirements’ list of 100 Best Retirement Towns, one could conclude that Delaware and Virginia are the most popular states for retirement among these 4. Delaware’s low tax environment is certainly a big reason for its popularity. New Jersey, as expensive as it is, does have many, many retirees living there and some attractive retirement towns like Princeton and those on the South Jersey shore (such as Toms River and Brick). In our opinion Maryland is an under-rated retirement destination. It might have high taxes, but it does have many charming and historic towns like Annapolis, Chestertown, and Leonardtown that make great retirement spots.

Aesthetics and Intangibles
All of these states have their admirers and each has its detractors. But all of them contain some wonderful places to retire, if the mid-Atlantic region is the region where you would like to retire. Rather than take sides on the issue, we recommend that you visit cities and towns in these states and see if you can’t find the place of your dreams. The region is not that big – in a few trips you should be able to get a good idea of the places that could offer you a happy retirement experience.

For your reference:
State Retirement Guides
Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ
Florida Retirement 101
Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC
Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida
California Retirement 101
Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, and Utah
The Mountain States: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY
The Pacific Northwest: Oregon vs. Washington

What state do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on October 5th, 2010

73 Comments »

  1. […] your reference: Part II: Comparing Mid-Atlantic States – DE, MD, NJ, VA The Best of the Best Places to Retire How North Carolina Climbed over Florida as #1 Retirement […]

    by » Dueling Retirement States: Arizona vs. Florida Topretirements — October 6, 2010

  2. There are many ‘tax friendly’ lists published for those who wish to move, but few especially for the retiree. A pretty long time ago I saw a Kiplinger’s article that specifically compared all states as regards to retiree finances, and Delaware was by far the winner. Of the three counties, the bottom two were preferable.

    Of course, there are other variables, such as proximity to a good teaching hospital and perhaps a college.

    by Joan Dalton — October 6, 2010

  3. I’m originally from NJ and am thinking of going back to retire there. Family is there. South NJ, Pine Barrens, Whiting area. In your “Dueling States, NJ, MD, VA, DE” article, DE is very enticing for retirees; especially with all the tax advantages etc. NJ is high. But to visit family the travel from DE to NJ is long. Is it worth it? Help! Comment/suggestions from any one?

    by Vincent Sabath — October 6, 2010

  4. @ Vincent Sabath: Depends on what you mean by “long”. Two possible alternatives to Delaware that would be within a reasonable drive to southern NJ would be the upper counties of Maryland’s eastern shore and southeastern PA. MD is a high tax state and the trip would be as long as from Delaware. Conversely, PA is more tax-friendly and if you retired to a community north of Philadelphia, a road trip over to the Whiting area would be a lot more doable. And the SEPTA rail system in SE PA would give you a lot of public transportation access all over the Philly area.

    by Glenn — October 10, 2010

  5. Hey Vinnie! I’m originally from Jersey. Retire in Lewes, DE, take the ferry and a short NJTransit train ride and you/re there! Good Luck. I’m thinking of DE as well!

    by Marie — October 13, 2010

  6. […] » Dueling Retirement States: De Vs. Va Vs. Md Vs. Nj Topretirements […]

    by Baltimore City Property Tax | Maryland | County Property Tax — October 19, 2010

  7. […] » Dueling Retirement States: DE vs. VA vs. MD vs. NJ Topretirements […]

    by Retirement Communities – Why Live in a Retirement Community — October 26, 2010

  8. […] retirement destinations. Don’t miss the first, Florida vs. Arizona Retirement, or the second, Delaware vs. Maryland vs. Virginia vs. New Jersey. We welcome ideas for future […]

    by » Dueling Carolinas: North Carolina vs. South Carolina As the Best Retirement State Topretirements — November 15, 2010

  9. Hey Glenn, I live north of Philadelphia. It is a very nice area. But we will
    not be able to retire here because the taxes are very high. I have lived here
    all my life.

    by Ken — February 2, 2012

  10. Southern Delaware is wonderful and has tons of things to do. We live just above Lewes DE right off Coastal Highway. Easy trip to the beaches without the traffic hassels. (about 11 minutes from Milford) we have great food stores, Tanger Outlets, Hundreds of restaurants of all types, (we are the ‘Culinary Coast’), Classes for adults at University of Delaware, Lewes Campus, and of course, our gorgeous clean beaches. Retired here 6 years ago from PA to TAX FRIENDLY DE! Downsized and bought a beautiful new condo. Could not be happier!

    by Coastal Lady — August 29, 2012

  11. To Coastal Lady – thanks for the comments about DE. My husband and I are looking around the Lewes/Rehoboth area as our destination, sometime next spring. Hadn’t seen many comments here from DE retirees so yours were a welcome sight, especially since they were so positive!

    by KathyJ — August 30, 2012

  12. Coastal Lady, thanks for the DE update. I hope to fly up early next year to look at various communities – will probably start looking in the Lewes/Milton area. My husband and I are from NJ originally and are currently living in Houston (which I will be so glad to leave due to HOT HOT summers, high property taxes and terrible traffic.) We originally considered PA but decided on DE due to low property taxes and overall tax friendliness to retirees. Do you live in Milford? What is the name of your community? Thanks again for your positive comments.

    by Fionna — August 30, 2012

  13. I also live in Nj and looking at DE as a tax friendly state to retire. I love saltwater fishing and need beaches close to where i will live.Has anyone visited coastal DE community’s? I think i would like a all age community rather than 55 and over.

    by Snapper05 — August 30, 2012

  14. My wife and I have been investigating where our “best place to semi-retire” will be. We’ve used topretirements extensively, as well as many other sources – lots of them were gleaned from comments posted on this website. Our criteria are complex – family, home prices, taxes, weather, access to water/beaches, healthcare, and so on.

    Three criteria – home prices, access to water/beaches and family led us to focus on FL and DE. We both have lived in the MD/DC area most of our lives and much of our family is in the area. Over the past year, our research gave us insight.

    HUMIDITY
    I favored it partly because one of my brothers lives in FL and I attended college for a year and lived in Boca Raton. But, for the past year, I kept records for temperature and dew point for Annapolis, MD and Melbourne, FL. [Dew point is a humidity measure of comfort/discomfort. Any dewpoint over about 70% is not comfortable.]

    The results were revealing. For FL, the DP was 70% or over 50% of 263 days (didn’t recored results all 365 days) whereas MD was 70% or over 17% of 263 days – and MD/DC is considered humid. And it is, but for far fewer days].

    DELAWARE
    We have decided to move to DE. Low taxes, most any town in Sussex county is close to the beach. Taxes of all kinds are very low. Home prices for a given floor area are higher on average than FL homes but not substantially so, and Annapolis is about 1.5-2.0 hrs away. Lots of other reasons too. We like DE.

    by Roger — August 31, 2012

  15. Concerning the information about Maryland Tax: you forgot to mention the additonal, up to, 3% county income tax which you must add to the 6% state income tax. 8.5% to 9% is probably more accurate.

    by Brent Cole — August 31, 2012

  16. Thanks for sharing your very interesting research. Delaware has come up as tops on tax-friendly screens, but I’d never before seen facts on humidity or the dew point. I’m not a major fan of humidity.

    by Linda — August 31, 2012

  17. For me the only down side for DE is winters same as NJ.Guess i can go to warmer climate for a long 3 month weekend.:lol:

    by Snapper05 — August 31, 2012

  18. As you can see, we live in NJ. Just got another tax hike 😥 and we are done with NJ. We too are looking at DE. For those of you who made the move any suggestions on how/what/where did you find your fav location in DE. Any suggestions on a real estate agency? We plan to visit Sussex county this month to look around.

    by Bernadetteinnj — September 1, 2012

  19. We live in Minnesota but my wife’s children reside in New Jersey. We have visited DE and fell in love with Lewes, but did not spent much time there. In addition to concerns about medical care, I am very concerned about public transprotation. I know about the Lewes-Cape May Ferry and the trolley service from Lewes to Rohebeth Beach(but nothing about the frequency). Can anyone give us information about other forms of public and private transprotation? Thank you.

    by brutae — September 2, 2012

  20. All the info above is great. My husband and I are young retiree’s (59) and are looking to move closer to our grandchildren, currently have a 10 hr drive. DE sounds the best to us and will only be a 2-3 hour drive.
    We’re looking for 55+ communities with many activities; any suggestions?

    by leavingduxma — February 16, 2013

  21. Stay out of Maryland taxes and hidden fees going up all the time. We live in MD but cannot wait to retire and get out Just got hit with rain tax

    by skinsfan — June 17, 2013

  22. i believe nj is the best place to retire base on things to do and place to go . since i love the theater and art nj, with its access to new york , atlantic city, phyli , the beach,all one to two hours away . however with its tax burden new jersey have lots of room for improvement

    by roy b — September 11, 2013

  23. We live in Red Bank Nj (http://www.redbank.com/) and love it here. I’m retired 3 years and my wife retires next month. We would love to stay here but the real estate taxes are 9,000 a year. Plus state tax and sales tax. Roy B is right there is so much to do here. We are 6 miles from the beach, an hour and a half car ride to Atlantic City and Philadelphia, an hour and a half train to Penn Stataion NYC, an 8 mile drive and 45 minute ferry to South Street Seaport in NYC, Jets and Giants, Yankees and Mets, Rangers and Devils, Knicks, all close by. Red Bank has very walkable downtown (http://www.walkscore.com/score/red-bank-nj) with lots of restaurants and stores. Lots of events in the town: a food wine walk 5 times a year, Riverfest festival, Oyster festival, Classic Cars weekend, Street Fair, concerts in the park. Within 6 miles of Monmouth University which has Division 1 basketball and Brookdale Community College which offers classes at very reasonable prices. Lots of parks in the area for hiking (http://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page.aspx?Id=2483), 2 dog parks within 6 miles, 1 mile from a Trader Joe’s and 3 miles to Whole Foods. A great area to live in. So why are we thinking of moving? I would love to have warm weather year round and the cost of living is high.

    by Mike Sinark — September 12, 2013

  24. There are also 2 theatres in town for plays and concerts.

    by Mike Sinark — September 12, 2013

  25. skinsfan-I too am a Skins fan – we will survive:) Okay, I have never heard of a rain tax before…could you explain that in more detail, all I can think of is now they are taxing water? Wow! The powers that be may add a tax to water bills, okay, but a RAIN tax? Really? I am just curious…

    by DianaF — September 12, 2013

  26. Can’t wait to escape NJ – as fast as possible. Property taxes are userous and traffic is omnipresent. Yes, there is lots to do, but I would gladly trade more boredom for less mass confusion and governmental control.
    We can move to practically any other state (with the exclusions of California and NY)and give ourselves a big raise. We;ll find things to do – not worried about that. Just hoep we find someone desperate enough to buy our house in NJ.

    by Kelly — September 12, 2013

  27. Kelly we moved from CT to Florida and then Texas and could not believe how much cheaper it was! We would never move back to the North East! Talk about a rat race! CT taxes you on everything although I heard taxes are worse in NJ! If you like the warm weather look south if you like the cold look into Co. Good luck where ever you end up.

    by Skip — September 13, 2013

  28. […] » Dueling Retirement States: DE vs. VA vs. MD vs. NJ Topretirements says […]

    by » How North Carolina Climbed over Florida as Favorite Retirement State Topretirements — September 30, 2013

  29. We too are looking to retire. I really love the jersey shore. My husband wants DE. The HOA fees in DE are high. Many rules and restrictions. No trees in the newer communities. Would like to be closer to the beach, but houses more expensive than jersey

    by Loretta Swope — July 31, 2014

  30. Still working and live in Va. Bought a short sale house in Frankford (1.5 miles from Bethany Beach ..a hidden gem). Can’t wait to fully port over out of Vriginia to Delaware. The winters are cold down there but the money you save in taxes you can rent a place in Florida. No brainer. Delaware is cheaper than Florida too (as far as full time living ). Something to consider.

    by pete — December 6, 2014

  31. Can some of you who go South for the winter explain how you can leave your house unoccupied for 3-6 months of the year? We have a boiler in our home and although brand new, anything can happen to knock it out, not heat the house and the pipes could bust and flood the interior of our home? Sometimes when we lose power, the boiler may need to be manually restarted. Not to mention, a pipe under your sink could bust and it would be gushing water and flood the house and basement. It happened to my Mom where the kitchen pipe busted and she was bailing water while trying to call a plumber. Fortunately they rushed to her house and turned off the valve. Not to mention when my Mom passed and we sold her car that tipped off the insurance people and they would not insure an unoccupied house once the policy expired. This was AARP insurance. We had to pay HUGE insurance bills through another insurance company till the house was sold. If the insurance company should find out you had not occupied the home for months, and it got damaged, they may not pay if a disastrous event occurs. Another person I know had a fully electric home and turned off his thermostat and went away for a few weeks in the middle of the winter. When he got home, his pipes had busted somewhere in his house and when he came back his house was really a mess and he had many thousands of dollars in damages. A major renovation occurred to repair the disaster. Not to mention, burglars target houses that appear unoccupied. These are just a few worries I would have if I left my home for month’s at a time. On our previous vacations we put timers on lights all over the house to come on and off to make it look lived in and of coarse stopped newspapers and mail.

    by Louise — December 7, 2014

  32. Oh, and one more thing, during the winter we have had some particularly harsh winters where snow on the roof builds up, turns to ice and can be potentially bad as iced up gutters hold all this snow in place. Ice can cut into the roof and cause leaks through the ceilings in the house. About 4-5 years ago we had a long span of freezing weather and everyone was trying to buy ‘roof rakes’ to try to get some weight (snow) off the roofs. The hardware stores had never had so many requests for the rakes…we have two! We had a very tiny leak in our kitchen but it was nothing compared to others who were losing their minds while their ceiling were falling down! Winters are a challenge and always unpredictable. You can plan for everything then Mother Nature changes the rules!

    by Louise — December 7, 2014

  33. Sorry that you didn’t include Pennsylvania in the mix! Would like to see how that stacked up.

    by Joy — December 7, 2014

  34. Hey Pete,
    Is Delaware less expensive than all of Virginia? I’m interested in the extreme SW area. Have you compared it to Tenn., No. Carolina, or Georgia?
    Thanks!

    by ella — December 8, 2014

  35. When we owned a house (now live in a townhouse condo), we had a plumber come in within two weeks after we left. Steve would turn off the water, the gas, and the electric (to the house, but would leave it on to the meters); then within two weeks of our return, he would turn everything back on, make sure there were no problems (there never was). We live in New England so the winters were harsh, but we never had a problem, ever. The key is to get a very good reliable plumber. Now that we live in a condo, we cannot do that. We can only turn off our water and turn our heat down to 55. Gas stays on and electric stays on (along with the condo fees with go on forever). Oh, and we’d be gone for 4-1/2 to 5 months.

    by Gail — December 8, 2014

  36. Pete: You make a good point. The savings in real estate taxes (or income taxes, if applicable to 401k withdrawals or other income) in some locations over the cost of taxes in another state could cover the rent for a place in FL or somewhere else warm for a month or two a year. Or free up disposable income for living expenses. We keep coming back to the same issue about trying to figure out the net cost of living in each state.

    by Ted — December 9, 2014

  37. Virginia is a big state. Hard to see how statewide averages have any useful meaning. Relocating is one part careful cost analysis and several parts intuitive response to a place. The cost of being miserable in an “affordable” retirement locale cannot be measured.

    by Sandie — December 9, 2014

  38. […] your reference: South Carolina North Carolina Arizona vs. Florida Retirement Dueling Retirement States: NJ vs. DE vs. MD vs. VA How North Carolina Climbed over Florida as #1 Retirement State Best States for Retirement State […]

    by » Retirement in the Mid-South Comparison: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama - Topretirements — December 10, 2014

  39. […] further reference: State Retirement Guides Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ Florida Retirement 101 Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida California […]

    by » Dueling Retirement States: The Pacific Northwest (OR and WA) - Topretirements — February 16, 2015

  40. We are wrestling between Lewes, DE and Cape Coral, FL. We currently reside in MN. It is extremely difficult to figure out the differences in the cost of lving between these three diverse states. I would appreciate any imput from anyone. Thanks

    by Brutae — February 23, 2015

  41. I too would be interested in a comparison between SW VA, Tenn., and the Carolinas as potential retirement locations. I currently reside in NV but kids and grandkids are in VA. I worry that moving from a non-income tax state to one with state income tax along with all the other taxes will be to expensive for what my income will be in retirement. Also, I am amazed that housing prices (at least in VA and TN) appear to be about the same as NV. Finding the right place seems like a daunting task.

    by bev — April 15, 2015

  42. Bev – we live in SW VA – the Shenandoah Valley. Check out Bristol – It has both TN and VA addresses. Not sure where your family lives in VA but TN has some beautiful areas and great tax breaks.

    by Liz — April 16, 2015

  43. Recommend that the article be updated as five year old data is too old for meaningful comparisons.

    Editor’s note: Time flies! We will put an update on our editorial calendar, thanks for the reminder.

    by kaj4 — April 25, 2015

  44. […] further reference: State Retirement Guides Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ Florida Retirement 101 Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida California […]

    by » Dueling Mountain States for Retirement: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, and WY - Topretirements — June 22, 2015

  45. One thing I found very interesting from some of my coworkers that moved to tax friendly delaware is that their heating bills this past winter were upwards of $600 a month because there are no natural gas lines in many of the neighborhoods. What they save on taxes they are spending on propane.

    by june — June 22, 2015

  46. Can anyone recommend a 55+ community near Rehobeth Beach & Bethany Beach in Delaware?

    by Mary Ann — June 23, 2015

  47. June- We live in Lewes, DE and have propane heating. We are on a $130/month budget billing and will be receiving a credit in August when this year ends-not a big one, but a credit nonetheless.

    by jdk — June 23, 2015

  48. June, I would like to find a more “greenish” home no matter where I decide upon. Not looking ultra green, just moving in the right direction.

    by EMA — June 23, 2015

  49. Liz, My husband and i are considering SW VA (Galax, Marion, Floyd, Damascus, Abingdon) as well as SW NC, N GA, and E TN. We recently read about the Shenandoah Valley and are wondering if we should consider that area as well. Any comments you have would be much appreciated!
    With thanks,

    by ella — June 24, 2015

  50. June..We live in a large new development just above Lewes, near Milford DE..we have natural gas..most of the developments do in our area. Heating bills are very low in the winter, which makes living in Coastal Delaware very very affordable for retirees. We love it here. :-)

    by sunlovingal — June 25, 2015

  51. Sunlovingal,
    What is the name of the development near Milford? Is it 55 & over?

    by tomfromSC — June 25, 2015

  52. Hi Ella.

    Galax and Floyd are very pretty but very “country/rural.” It just depends on what you are looking for. The Shenandoah Valley is beautiful and very reasonable and safe. If you would like to get a feel for activities, festivals, etc. check out the Virginia is for Lovers site at: http://www.virginia.org/

    Let me know! Good luck.

    by Liz — June 25, 2015

  53. Tom: It’s Hearthstone Manor. Just off Coastal Hwy. right below Milford. Not 55+ but almost all who live here are retired. Scaled down one story single homes, villas and condos with elevators. Pool, clubhouse with many activites year round, golf course next door and 11 min. to Lewes and 20 min to Rehoboth. Milford is lovely Art town with shops, farmers market weekly and nice restaurants….carefree living on the Coast.

    by sunlovingal — June 26, 2015

  54. Thanks, Liz. I do know that Galax and Floyd are rural. That’s what i think i’m looking for. I need to visit to know if this is right for me.

    by ella — June 26, 2015

  55. I have been looking for a ‘small college town’ and am considering Chestertown, MD. Does anyone have any thoughts/experience living on Maryland’s Eastern Shore?

    by Sheila — June 27, 2015

  56. Sheila, at one time I would occasionally work in Chestertown, Md – small town with great sea food BUT I am orig from Md – moved to get away from the taxes. I do not know your age nor finances but my advice to you would be DO YOUR HOME WORK BEFORE MOVING THERE. Gov & taxes are crazy in Md.

    by Robert — June 27, 2015

  57. We are retired and planning on moving out of WNY because of high taxes and very cold and snowy winters. We were thinking of Virginia. Colonial Beach VA was mentioned as a good place to retire. Looking for feedback.

    by Carol — June 27, 2015

  58. Ella, I might suggest that a “visit” might not be enough. My wife and I enjoyed many visits and mini-vacations to the Galax area(currently reside in Wytheville), but it truly takes living here to understand the culture. We bought a house 2 years prior to our move from NJ and spent many long weekends here. Much of your perceptions and thoughts of the area will be shaped from where it is you are coming from. If it is a more populated, urban locale similar to our past address, you might not be quite prepared for the difference-which is HUGE! Not necessarily bad, but you must understand and appreciate the people and culture to effect a happy change. Good luck, Doc

    by Doc Stickel — June 27, 2015

  59. Thank you Sunlovingal. I’ll make sure to visit Hearthstone Manor when I come up.

    by tomfromSC — June 27, 2015

  60. Sheila,
    Everyone I know in Maryland can’t wait to get out because of the taxes. We all plan to retire elsewhere.

    by Nancy G — June 27, 2015

  61. Thanks for the feedback about MD. The thing is, I am from CT where property taxes will be my single biggest expense in retirement. Almost any place else will be a huge relief!

    by Sheila — June 28, 2015

  62. Sheila, I too am from CT and almost anywhere would be better for taxes. Almost everyone I know talks about moving out of CT when retired. Hub just retired in April and we have not made any decisions on that yet. We have always talked about leaving now we have to make decisions. Like everyone else, it is a big decision on where to move. We have no children so there is no force drawing us to be near children or grandchildren. We have no close friends we would like to be closer to either. So, it is like spin the wheel of fortune to find a new less costly State to live in. Even though it is always on my mind to leave CT, familiarity of where we live is hard to abandon too. It would be nice if it was like a game where you could put all the puzzle pieces just where you wanted them. Such as a good hospital within 2 miles of your home, grocery, doctors, theaters, museums, adult activities, public transportation, bike riding, golf cart community, low taxes, low cost homes…all the amenities within a short radius from your home. Most times you will find some of the things on your list of ‘wants’ but not all! That is why this forum is good because there have been trail blazers that have gone before us, have done the work and gone through the trials and tribulations before us!

    by Louise — June 28, 2015

  63. I may be biased….I am a native Pennsylvania, and take great note that PA does not tax pension income or Social Security. There are many services available to assist seniors. Yes, school property taxes might be considered “high”, if you’re only accustomed to paying $1,000 a year for taxes, but that amount also varies depending upon where you live in PA. Lancaster County is very nice, and Pittsburgh in the west is very “senior-friendly.” The only drawback is the cold weather.

    by Cindie — August 26, 2015

  64. Cindie: I am biased in favor of PA too, having lived there for 30 years (former CT resident too). I’m now in the Carolinas. I do like the weather here, although I miss crisp Falls, Steeler games and the promise of cozy winters by the fireplace while the snow comes down gently outside. My taxes are less than $2000 now, and I was paying about $8000 for a house with the same assessed value. I pay a tax on my car here, which I didn’t pay in PA…ok, that means tax burden is about $2500. I don’t have inspections (SC), so that tax number could be dropped back to $2400…Homeowners, auto & umbrella policies are the same. Utilities have averaged about $100-$200 a month less here, but I’m also paying sales tax on clothing and other items that were tax-free in PA. Gas is a lot cheaper here, and I’m saving about $100 month for gas. My family is back in PA, and I figure we spent about $2000-$3000 on trips back and forth a year. Both SC and NC will tax my 401K withdrawal. In my opinion, it was easier to find great doctors, dentists, hairdressers, handymen, mechanics etc. back in PA. On the other hand, winters are really, really hard on the elderly. I was in an emergency room in PA with a kid once and saw multiple elderly patients being brought in by ambulance in the winter with slip & fall injuries on ice. I only needed to wear a sweater when I was doing Christmas shopping here last year, and January was the only month that felt like true winter. What will I decide? I don’t have a clue yet…but I don’t think the net extra cost from high real estate taxes in PA is going to stop me from considering returning there.

    by Sharon — August 27, 2015

  65. I know everyone will think I’m crazy, but I now live in Philadelphia and am seriously considering moving to NJ, probably Ocean County. There are plenty of 55-up options up and down the state and taxes are not as outrageous as what has been reported. You just have to be careful and do your homework. I grew up in NJ and my parents lived in Silver Ridge in Toms River before they both passed away – there’s something to be said for returning to a familiar area. I’m also considering Florida but I’d be down there by myself, as all of my family is in Pa.

    by Linda — August 27, 2015

  66. Linda, you are crazy. Reconsider N.J., it’s getting worse.

    by Billy — August 27, 2015

  67. I’m interested in Delaware. I Haven’t seen anything related to hurricanes and flooding. Are those concerns?

    by Cheryl — August 28, 2015

  68. Sheila and Louise- I too am from CT. We used to make fun of Massachusetts as Taxachusetts but not anymore. CT is more expensive. Yes familiarity is definitely hard to overcome in a decision to leave. The housing prices haven’t rebounded as in other area, and the business environment is so bad I don’t expect a lot of people moving in. From my research, DE and NH are the least taxed states in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic area. DE is very flat so if you are used to hills, it isn’t there. DE was also many farms that have been subdivided into 55+developments, so little infrastructure such as nice libraries. NH is more established. Just my 2 cents.

    by john schmidt — August 28, 2015

  69. Would you mind doing something on Prescott AZ retirement?
    Would like to hear from others who have made the move and how it currently ranks.
    Thank you.

    by diane — August 28, 2015

  70. We have lived in Southern NH for 26 years. It has beautiful scenery and a nice quality of life. However the winters are very harsh and we have had major snow storms as early as Halloween. Last year we had 4 feet of snow in the yard most of the winter. Power outages are not uncommon and we invested in a wired in generator. We have had outages last 1-2 weeks. Heating costs of course are very high. If you are in good physical shape, ski, ice fish, etc. the winters can be enjoyable. Otherwise getting the trash to the dump, clearing and salting the walkways and driveway and getting chores done can be treacherous tasks. I know last winter all we did was get supplies from one storm to the next. We have plans to move to DE in the next several years.

    by Connie Perry — August 29, 2015

  71. Connie, Sounds like a great plan. Wishing you many happy years!

    by ella — August 30, 2015

  72. Cheryl,

    Re: Delaware and flooding. I think it depends on where you live in Delaware. Closer to water=Potential problem. We almost built a house in a subdivision close to Rehoboth Bay. We were even willing to pay for some flood insurance. What killed the deal (among other things) was when we spoke with a neighbor who said water was slowly “creeping” towards the back of the house during a Nor’easter. Say what? How about something worse, like a hurricane? My advice would be to try to get as much info. as you can to make sure you are not in a potential flood zone. I think there is a map that can be accessed online (from Army Corp of Engineers. possibly). You may also be able to get info. from the town engineer and potential neighbors. I wouldn’t count on a realtor to be completely honest with you, as he/she may not know if the area is in a potential flood zone (although you would think they would make it their business to know?!) Good Luck!

    by Fionna — August 30, 2015

  73. Have to add something to my post about PA. A possible negative against PA isn’t cost, but the fact that PA’s Medicaid program may pursue children for support of parents, such as for nursing home care. Most states don’t do this. If checking out estate planning and possible laws affecting retirement in a states, this is a question that could be worth considering depending on your personal circumstances.

    by Sharon — September 1, 2015

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