how to retire well in wisconsin

As retirement draws closer, it’s normal to start envisioning how you’d like to spend your golden years. For many, heading to a new state can be in the cards, allowing them to get closer to family or have their ideal lifestyle. If you think that Wisconsin may be the place for you, here’s what you need to know to retire well in Wisconsin.

Cost of Living

A state’s cost of living scores give you insights into the area’s affordability. The national average is 100, with scores below that showing that a state costs less, while scores above mean it’s a more expensive area.

Overall, Wisconsin has a score of 96.1, putting the Badger State just slightly below the average. Plus, all but one of the state’s category scores are below 100. For groceries, it comes in at 99.3, while utilities and transportation have scores of 98.2 and 97.1, respectively.

One spot where Wisconsin really shines is housing, where it has a score of 88.8. The average home value in the Badger State is $219,942, which is quite a bit below the national average of $276,717, showing just how affordable a home can be there.

The one score where Wisconsin comes in above average is healthcare. In that category, it got a score of 113.2.

Tax Considerations

How much you’ll have to pay in taxes impacts how far your retirement savings go. That’s why it’s smart to look at local tax rates before choosing a retirement destination, ensuring you’re ready to handle the cost.

Wisconsin does have a state income tax. It uses a bracketed system, with rates coming in between 3.54 and 7.64 percent, depending on your income level and filing status.

However, Wisconsin doesn’t tax Social Security. For other types of retirement, whatever amount is taxable at the federal level is usually taxable at the state level here, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.

The Badger State also has a sales tax. It comes in at 5 percent. Counties do have the ability to add up to 0.5 percent to that, meaning some areas have a total sales tax of 5.5 percent.

On the property tax front, Wisconsin is higher than average. In some cases, retirees may be eligible for the Homestead Credit, reducing the burden associated with owning a home. There are income restrictions, so not all retirees qualify, but it is worth exploring to see if you meet the conditions.

Part-Time Job Opportunities

In many cases, a state’s unemployment rate can give you insights into part-time job availability. High unemployment often means that finding a position is challenging, while a low rate usually signals the opposite.

In Wisconsin, the unemployment rate (as of March 2021) was 3.8 percent, which is generally considered quite low. For comparison, the national average at that time was 6.0 percent, which is notably higher.

Overall, that’s a good indication that part-time positions are likely available in Wisconsin. For retirees who don’t want to fully leave the workforce, this may be ideal.

Best Cities for Retirees in Wisconsin

When it is time to retire, you don’t just have to choose a state to call home; you also need to pick a city. The one you select has an impact on your lifestyle, so it’s important to find an option that works best for you.

If you prefer city life, you may want to head to Madison. You’ll have access to plenty of amenities and entertainment options, which could be perfect for anyone who enjoys some hustle and bustle in their lives.

For retirees who are looking for a quirky destination, consider Beloit. It’s got a surprisingly vibrant arts scene, stunning scenery, and a fun-loving vibe that’s hard to beat.

If you want lakeside living, Marinette could be a great choice. It’s affordable, for one. For another, it has amazing beaches, plenty of parks, and a slew of other opportunities for outdoor recreation.

How Much Money You Need to Retire Well in Wisconsin

Since the Badger State has a near-average cost of living, a modest income is usually enough. If you want to retire well in Wisconsin, having access to about $60,664 a year can generally do it. You’ll be able to handle your needs as well as some wants, ensuring your retirement is comfortable.

Can you think of any other tips or tidbits that can help someone retire well in Wisconsin? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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