Choosing a retirement destination is one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life. However, it can also be a challenging endeavor, particularly if you are open to heading to multiple destinations. The location you choose will have a big impact on your golden years, impacting how far your savings goes, your quality of life, and more. Luckily, it is possible to estimate what your experience will be like, as well as what it takes to retire in a particular state comfortably. If you’re wondering how you can retire well in New Hampshire, here’s what you need to know.
Cost of Living
When you are trying to figure out if a state is a good option for your retirement, examining the state’s cost of living scores – both overall and category scores – is a smart move. Cost of living metrics allow you to ascertain a state’s affordability at a glance, something that could be incredibly important if you’re post-retirement budget may be tight.
The cost of living scoring model is incredibly simple to understand. The national average is always 100. Scores above 100 mean that the state is more expensive than average. When a score sits under 100, it is a potential indication of greater affordability.
New Hampshire’s overall cost of living score is 108.2. Additionally, the majority of the Granite State’s cost of living category scores sit above 100, as well.
Groceries come in at 100.4, putting them just above average when it comes to cost. Utilities sit at 114.0, while healthcare comes in with a 115.0.
For transportation, New Hampshire is below average. That score is just 98.2, so those expenses are slightly lower than the national average.
When it comes to housing, the Granite State scores at 110.3. Partially, this is a reflection of the cost of buying a home. The average home value in New Hampshire is $321,496. That’s $85,145 higher than the national average, which is $263,351.
However, the state’s property taxes also play a role in the high housing score. We’ll take a closer look at that in the next section.
Before you decide that New Hampshire is the best option for you, it’s wise to look at the tax situation. Money that you have to spend on taxes can potentially dig into your retirement savings, at times significantly. That’s why you need to understand what a state requires when it comes to taxation, ensuring you are fully prepared to handle that expense.
Many people label New Hampshire a tax-free state. However, that isn’t entirely accurate.
New Hampshire doesn’t tax earned income. For example, W-2 wages from a job are not subject to a state-level tax. The state also doesn’t tax Social Security, pensions, or retirement account withdrawals.
However, some other types of income are taxable. Both interest and dividend income are subject to a 5 percent tax. But that tax only kicks in if your dividend or interest earnings exceed $2,400 annually for an individual or $4,800 a year for joint filers.
Now, New Hampshire doesn’t have a general sales tax, either. It’s one of just five states that doesn’t tax most purchases, making it fairly unique in that regard.
One of the biggest benefits of living in a state without a sales tax is lower shopping costs. However, it also means that you can easily track your spending at the store, as the price you see on the shelf or price tag is precisely what you pay.
When it comes to property taxes, that’s where New Hampshire generates a lot of its money. In fact, the rate is among the highest in the nation, as the effective tax rate averages at 2.2 percent. That means, for a home valued at $200,000, the house would come with $4,400 a year in property taxes.
It is important to note that there is an Elderly Exemption that could potentially reduce your property tax burden. Retirees who are at least 65 years old, have lived in New Hampshire for three years, have income levels at or below $36,800 for singles or $50,000 for married couples, and meet certain other conditions may qualify for exemption amounts that dramatically reduce property taxes.
Part-Time Job Opportunities
Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean completely walking away from the workforce. Many seniors prefer to have a part-time job. At times, this is simply because they want to stay busy and have a chance to interact with people. In others, it could be the enjoyment of using their professional skills and not wanting to give that up. However, for many, the need is purely financial, giving them a chance to make their retirement savings last longer.
If you’re hoping to find a part-time job in New Hampshire, you’re likely in luck. Historically, the state has relatively low unemployment. However, there were some serious hiccups during COVID-19.
Pre-pandemic, the Granite State had an unemployment rate of just 2.4 percent (March 2020). That number was notably below the national average at that time, which came in at 4.4 percent.
When COVID-19 struck, unemployment numbers skyrocketed in many states. New Hampshire was hit particularly hard, peaking at 17.1 percent in April 2020. During that month, the national average was 14.7 percent, giving you a solid idea of how rough the start pandemic was in the Granite State.
However, New Hampshire bounced back. By November 2020, the unemployment rate was down to 3.8 percent. That’s a full 2.9 percentage points lower than the national average for that month, which was sitting at 6.7 percent.
While COVID-19 remains a factor today, New Hampshire managed to recover fairly well. As a result, many retirees can likely secure part-time job opportunities. However, it’s still best to be cautious until the pandemic fully resolves, so you may want to ensure you have enough savings to carry you for a while if the need arises.
Best Cities for Retirees in New Hampshire
Deciding where to retire involves more than simply choosing a state; you also need to pick a city. The city you head toward does impact the quality of your retirement. Not only do some areas cost more or less than others, but they also have different amenities, vibes, and more. That’s why it’s so crucial to take the city into account before you select your retirement destination.
If you believe that New Hampshire is your perfect retirement state but aren’t sure which cities can best meet your needs, you may want to start by exploring Exeter. It offers a better cost of living than some other towns and is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Manchester. Plus, it has some historic charm while also offering up a ton of amenities.
Portsmouth is another Granite State city that should be on your shortlist. It’s nestled near the Maine border and rests along the Piscataqua River. The town has a classic New England feel but offers up all of the modern amenities you need to live a healthy, comfortable life.
If you want quick access to an airport, Londonderry is a great option. It’s the home of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, making it great for retirees who plan on traveling. Plus, there are apple orchards dotting the landscape nearby, but also plenty of amenities.
Retirees may also enjoy Concord, the state’s capital. It’s home to a lot of historic buildings, giving it a unique charm. In fact, the New Hampshire State House here is the oldest state house in the nation, giving the city an intriguing claim to fame. There are also plenty of recreational opportunities in the area, as well as all of your critical amenities.
How Much Money You Need to Retire Well in New Hampshire
New Hampshire does have a higher-than-average cost of living, and that impacts how much retirement income you’ll need access to if you want to retire comfortably there. However, the Granite State isn’t necessarily out of reach for many retirees.
Generally speaking, if you have access to $68,461 a year in retirement income, that should leave you in good shape. Handling all of your financial needs shouldn’t be too challenging, and you’ll likely be able to afford some wants, also. All in all, that amount may make it possible to retire well in New Hampshire, so consider that a good target to aim for when planning for your golden years.
Do you have any other tips that might help someone retire well in New Hampshire? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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