how to retire well in west virginia

You’re doing your retirement planning. As a result, you’re considering moving to a place where your money will go a long way for the rest of your years to come. With its low cost of living, West Virginia comes to mind. Here’s how to retire well in West Virginia.

What Does It Mean to Retire Well in West Virginia?

Before we get into the details, though, make sure to ask yourself what a good retirement means for you. Do you want to be close to family? Are you concerned about the quality of health care near you? Are you interested in a walkable urban area or a rural life? Learning how to retire well in West Virginia means that you have to get honest with yourself about what you want from retirement. After all, just because West Virginia is perfect for many retirees doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s perfect for you.

West Virginia is a Top Place for Retirees

A 2021 Retirement Living survey found that West Virginia ranks in the top ten states for retirement. In fact, the state ranks at number three. Only Florida and Texas are higher on the list.

Here are some of the key reasons why they say many find it easy to figure out how to retire well in West Virginia:

  • Homes are highly affordable. Moreover, so are senior care communities.
  • Other costs of living are also very low.
  • The state has an excellent health care and dental care system.
  • One fifth of the population is over 65. It’s the third largest retirement age population in the country. Therefore, it’s easy to find community. Moreover, services and activities are naturally geared with this population in mind.
  • Many taxes are low. Although the state has traditionally had some high retirement income taxes, some of those are now fading out. Therefore, this situation continues to improve.
  • No matter how rural you live, you’re within 100 miles of “city conveniences.”

The number one retiree drawback to West Virginia is the weather. The winters can be harsh, particularly if you live in the mountains (for which the state is known.) Therefore, Texas and Florida rank higher on the list of best places to retire.

At least, that’s according to one survey. Another 2021 survey listed West Virginia as tied with Iowa for the number one place to retire!

West Virginia Cost of Living

West Virginia is a very affordable state to live. reports that the total cost of living in the state is more than 9% below the national average. If you’re looking to move to a place where the cost of living is low, then West Virginia is a good choice.

Housing Costs in West Virginia

In particular, housing is affordable. If you’ve already paid off your mortgage in another state, then you could easily sell that home to purchase a retirement home in West Virginia. The Retirement Living Survey cites the average home price as $119,600.

Cost of Elder Care Housing

Hopefully you’ll be able to remain in your own home for a very long time. However, eventually many people need to move to assisted living in one form or another. Therefore, it’s important to consider those costs when retirement planning. According to the aforementioned Retirement Living survey, these costs range from about $3500 per month (for in home care or assisted living) to $8400 per month (for a nursing home). Since many people are concerned about age-related memory loss, it’s worth nothing that the average cost of memory care housing is around $5000 per month.

West Virginia Health Care Costs

Whether or not you’re looking into elder care housing, chances are that you need to pay attention to health care costs in general. reports that West Virginia is ideal for this because they have the third lowest overall healthcare costs in the nation. Retirement Living explains that the West Virginia University Health System provides extremely high quality care to people across the entire state.

Tax Considerations for West Virginia Retirees

West Virginia’s property taxes are very low. According to, only four states in the US have lower property rates.

Retirement Living reports that the state’s highest income tax rate is 6.5%.

New Cyber Senior argues that the state’s overall taxes are higher than average. However, they emphasize that retiree taxes are lower. They cite these factors:

  • An $8000 income tax deduction allowed for everyone over age 65, applicable to any form of retirement income
  • Bonus $2000 deduction for anyone receiving government pension
  • Some Social Security income is taxable. However, this is supposed to phase out in the next couple of years.

Best Cities to Retire Well in West Virginia

As discussed, if you want to know how to retire well in West Virginia then you really need to know what that means for you. But generally speaking, you have a lot of great choices within the state. New Cyber Senior reports that there are a number of Designated Retirement Communities, which means that these regions are specifically designed and upgraded with the amenities preferred by seniors.

They list the top five West Virginia cities for retirees as:

  1. Beckley
  2. Charleston
  3. Cheat Lake
  4. Morgantown
  5. Shepherdstown

You’ll Likely Retire Well in West Virginia If …

West Virginia is a state filled with beautiful nature. If you like living in a place with all four seasons – but none too extreme – then you’ll probably enjoy life in West Virginia. If you enjoy living in a state that has a high median resident age and a lot of other retired people, then you’ll find a lot to love about West Virginia. Moreover, if you are looking for a very low cost of living and aren’t concerned about making an income after retirement, then West Virginia should work well for you.

If you don’t like cold winters, then you will want to stay away from homes at the heights of the state’s mountains. The median income in the state isn’t very high. Therefore, if you’re relying on a job post-retirement for income, that’s going to be an important thing to take into consideration. However, overall, many surveys agree that West Virginia is not only in the top ten states for retirement but actually in the top three. If you want to know how to retire well in West Virginia, those are the main things to take into consideration.

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