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Dueling Retirement States Series Update: VA, MD, NJ, DE

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

March 29, 2016 — Due to popular requests we periodically update our extensive series of “Dueling Retirement States”. The latest to be updated is the comparison of retirement in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware.

The previous version of this comparison was from 2010. Since then most trends and facts stayed relatively the same. But here are some salient points from the update:

– Delaware and Virginia tend to be more popular for retirement than NJ or MD (between them they have 5 towns on our Top 100 List)
– Comparing taxes between these states illustrates the perils of a simplistic approach. NJ, MD, and DE are among the top half of high tax burden states. But if you focus on taxation just for retirees, Delaware and MD become more attractive. The type of tax is what should be focused on, and how it affects you.
– Real estate prices are still recovering from the highs they hit prior to 2008

See all comparisons in the series
State Retirement Guides
Gulf Coast Retirement: Sun, Tax-friendly, and a Lower Coast of Living
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

Posted by Admin on March 29th, 2016


  1. Can someone educate me as to why DE is considered a “high tax burden state”.

    by carol — March 30, 2016

  2. It can be, depending on your income, as in state income tax.

    by Billy — March 30, 2016

  3. And as the article states ” But if you focus on taxation just for retirees, Delaware and MD become more attractive. ”

    good source for retirees

    by elaine — March 30, 2016

  4. DE has Low real estate taxes, NJ has the highest (I think) real estate taxes in the nation. MD falls somewhere in the middle depending on your location. Smart assets has info on taxes in retirement, but If you’re really serious about relocating to a certain state, the best thing to do is to fill out a state income tax form for that state to see what your tax burden will be..

    by Florence — October 29, 2016

  5. This question came in from Colleen:

    Q: Looking for active adult community or mixed, within short drive or walk to a family friendly beach East coast. Any suggestions ?

    A: Colleen you are not alone in looking for a place to retire like that. The problem (and also the opportunity) is that you need to narrow down your geographic target a bit. These coastal mid-Atlantic states might be great with the wonderful beaches they all have. But so would places further south and even north. How cold can you stand your winters is a big question that would help. You can use our Advanced Search to look for “coastal” towns in selected towns and then explore those and the active communities in those places. Then go visit some that look promising. There are many places where you could be happy, that is the very good news.

    Does anyone else have suggestions for Colleen

    by Admin — November 20, 2016

  6. Colleen here. Specifically we will concentrate on Florida. East or west coasts: The kids would like to be within an hour of Disney. That’s a bonus, not required. We do not golf, so that frees us up some. -Colleen

    by Colleen — November 20, 2016

  7. I would love to hear form people retired in NJ, On the computer some of the middle of road 55+ the taxes are not bad like 3 grand to 5. I pay 3 grand here in NC. Now if you go for the big fancy places they go up to 8 grand. BUT very little is said here on this site from people that actually live in the 55+ in NJ. I was looking in Toms River but so afraid of a bad storm. Then Hamilton county north of Trenton, Would love some info if you live in NJ. Do not want to go to far north because of the congestion.

    by elaine n — November 21, 2016

  8. Elaine n, I am also curious. Have family in NJ. I’m currently in the south. NJ is changing tax laws to be more favorable for retirees. Yes, the NJ gas tax is going up and property tax is still high, but every little bit helps.

    by Kay — November 22, 2016

  9. Toms River NJ is far enough inland (west of the GSP) that it is not affected by flooding if that is your concern for a coastal town.

    by JoannL — November 22, 2016

  10. I am from NJ and currently live in NJ there. I am approaching retirement age as are all of my friends. Unless you are very well off NJ is too expensive to retire in comfortably. All of my friends are looking for other states that they can retire to and live comfortably. I am strongly considering NC. The property taxes in NJ are very high, the cost of living is high, the only thing that was cheaper in NJ was the gas. Now that is no longer true. There are many, many over 55 communities. A few are cheap to buy into but very expensive to live in. Very high HOA fees, many are all electric and the electric bills in the winter are very frightening. I would really consider how much you are willing to spend for basic living costs before moving to NJ to retire.

    by Diane — November 22, 2016

  11. Here is a link for Holiday City in Toms River. This is very large community which has increased over the years with older homes and newer homes added. My MIL lived in a home built 1995 and paid low property taxes and very low HOA. She really enjoyed this community and access to healthcare and shopping. You can reference price information here.,%20%22k%22:0,%20%22dsa%22:true%7D?gclid=CJ2l-svNvNACFYpWDQodjxYOeQ

    by JoannL — November 22, 2016

  12. thanks, are in the NC THING,have heard if in a big city or coast you are OK. Have not had good times here. yes the weather is nice, that’s it. I moved to surban area. Can’t wait to go north. Originally from Long Island and paid $12 grand in property taxes so I think we can handle 3 to 5 grand. Is there any one out there on the west side of NJ. Yes I am worried about flooding and the map I saw that if central NJ took the main hit of a storm Tom’s River would be flooded. IT was on NJ spotlight a couple of months ago.

    by elaine n — November 22, 2016

  13. Another location might be a retirement community in Jackson NJ – near Freehold for hospital and shopping malls. Huge shopping outlets located in Jackson too. It is within 30 – 45 minute drive to the beaches. We have a relative who recently moved there but I would have to inquire which community. It was an older established community so resale homes only.

    by JoannL — November 22, 2016

  14. thanks , please let me know. It is always so much better to hear form someone who has lived there.

    by elaine n — November 22, 2016

  15. I haven’t lived in a 55+ community, but I’ve lived in central/north Jersey for 35 years. I have long planned to leave NJ on retirement, but the recent tax changes to retirement income might keep me here. Check out the Monroe area–central NJ (NJ Turnpike exit 8A), close enough to NYC and the shore, but far enough to avoid flooding and northern NJ congestion. There are a lot of new 55+ communities, as well as a lot of very reasonably priced resales in older communities.

    by Laura Czekaj — November 23, 2016

  16. You know we have looked at the state taxes for both PA and VA regarding SS, which neither tax and pensions, IRA, which PA does not tax provided it shows up on a particular code on the annual tax statement report. VA is somewhat unclear, seems pensions/IRA is taxed but there is a 65+ deduction provided AGI is under a certain dollar amount and then decreased $1 to $1 for amounts over the AGI level. It would be good to find someone in each state to confirm details. I’m wondering if calling a tax advisor it those states for the information?

    (This question came in from Tom and we moved it here because it seems to fit better)

    by Admin — February 1, 2017

  17. Looking to relocate to a 55 + communitity in Delaware in the next 12months
    Looking at Kent County particularly smyrna,dover,middletown area.
    Appreciate any feed back

    (This comment came from Barbara)

    by Admin — February 13, 2017

  18. Tom –

    Check They have several helpful calculators under the “Retirement” section. However, income tax is only part of the story – property tax and sales tax are also a big deal, as is the overall cost of living. I combined all these factors in an Excel spreadsheet. I was surprised how misleading any single factor can be when viewed alone.

    by Graybuck — February 14, 2017

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