4 Communities in Western Montana
Montana’s benefits to active adults range from a low cost of living and a relaxing way of life to the beautiful outdoor setting. The state is divided into two distinct sections, the plains of Eastern Montana and the mountains of Western Montana. These two regions provide distinct climates, the cooler summers and mild winters of Western Montana, and the warm summers and snowy winters in the eastern half.
Climate and Geography
Montana has a northern Pacific coastal climate that varies from the western and eastern regions. Western Montana experiences more temperate summers and winters, while eastern Montana has a more Midwestern climate with warm summers and cold winters.
Just as in climate, the western and eastern portions of the state are different geographically. Portions of the Rock Mountains are found in the western half, while the eastern is mostly plains and prairies. Much of Montana’s diverse climate and geography can be attributed to the Continental Divide, which indicates high points throughout North America where the same rivers will flow in different directions on each side. The Rocky Mountains act to prevent warmer western air from meeting drier eastern air.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
Perhaps there’s no better state in the country for outdoor recreation than Montana, which is home to seven national parks and over 50 state parks. Two of the most popular national parks in the country, Yellowstone and Glacier, are located partially or completely in Montana. Other national parks include Big Hole National Battlefield, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Fort Union Trading Post, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic site, and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Besides parks, Montana boast other cultural sites like the Conrad Mansion, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, the Museum of the Rockings, ranches, and several ghost towns. Craft breweries are also a growing trend in Montana, particularly in the western portion of the state which sees plenty of tourists due to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Montana’s cost of living generally hovers slightly above the U.S. average. One of the least populated states in the country, Montana’s cost of living is above the national average because of a limited amount of supply when it comes to homes and goods like groceries. Montana falls under the national average of costs in health care and utilities.
Montana has seven tax brackets that range from 1 to 6.9 percent. It’s also one of the few states in the country without a sales tax. Property taxes in Montana are generally lower than most states, currently almost a percent lower than the national average.
In terms of taxes directed at active adults, Montana taxes both Social Security and retirement income. There are some exemptions for those with lower income.
Montana generally receives high rankings in Gallup’s Well-Being Index while being in the top 10 for community and physical aspects. Two Montana hospitals meet U.S. News & World Reports standards: St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula and St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings. They’re each considered high performing in three procedures while St Patrick Hospital is nationally ranked in pulmonology.