Virginia’s tourism motto is “Virginia is for lovers,” and there are many retirees who are loving life in this Mid-Atlantic state. In 2018, Kiplinger named Virginia the seventh best state to retire in while a study from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center shows that Virginia is actually becoming more popular with retirement-age adults.
So why is Virginia so popular among retirees? Some reasons are purely practical: Virginia offers incentives and tangible quality-of-life benefits for active adults over 55. Other reasons stem more from the retirement-lifestyle the state offers.
Here are five reasons to retire in Virginia.
The tax benefits Virginia offers are the ultimate practical plus for retirees. First, the state has one of the lowest overall tax rates in the country. Although the state has a progressive income tax, counties and local municipalities do not collect taxes. However, retirees and people over 65 receive additional tax benefits. Virginia doesn't tax Social Security benefits. Those older than 65 can also deduct up to $12,000 of their retirement income. Compared to neighboring states Maryland and North Carolina, Virginia is overall more tax-friendly.
Lower Cost of Living
The tax-friendliness also extends to other cost-of-living calculations. The sales tax is the ninth-lowest in the country, and the average property tax is 1%. Fuel taxes are notoriously low, meaning gas is always less expensive than in nearby states. These low taxes mean lower prices which contribute to an overall lower cost of living. Residents also spend 3.4% less on healthcare than the national average.
Easy Access to Medical Care
In addition to spending less on medical care, Virginia residents also have access to quality health care systems across the state. U.S. News and World Report’s top five rankings for best hospitals in Virginia include hospitals in the five major metropolitan areas of the state: Northern Virginia, Norfolk, Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Richmond. Many of these hospitals are also nationally ranked or high-performing in specialties like oncology, geriatrics, and orthopedics.
The University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center guesses that one reason Virginia is so popular among retirees is because of the moderate climate. Rather than having one home up north and another down south and migrating between the two, retirees are choosing to live half-way in between and enjoy a decent climate year-round.
Although parts of Virginia can get very hot during the summer, oceans, rivers, and lakes provide cool respites. The fall is beautiful with foliage across the Piedmont and Appalachian foothills. The winter is mostly moderate, but you can still find ski resorts, and the spring provides beautiful flowers and budding trees.
So Many Places to Explore
If retirement is all about enjoying life and seeing new things, then Virginia is a great place to retire. Every piece of Virginia is within about a six-hour drive of both the mountains and the ocean. Residents can visit great National Parks like Shenandoah in the mountains, or wildlife refuges like Chincoteague and Back Bay on the coast.
Virginia cities also offer rich history, from the colonial settlements in Williamsburg to the Civil War battlefields. Being centrally located in the Mid-Atlantic also means Virginians can easily travel up and down the coast. People who call Virginia home can easily travel along I-81 and I-95 to get to cities like Washington, D.C., New York, Raleigh, Savannah, or Charleston within a day’s drive.