how to retire well in Oklahoma

As you get closer to retirement, deciding where you’ll live during your golden years is usually part of the equation. After all, the state you choose has a major impact on your lifestyle, as well as your budget. If you don’t choose wisely, you may find that your savings falls short of what you need to be comfortable. Luckily, with a bit of planning and research, you can make sure that you’re ready. If you’re hoping to retire well in Oklahoma, here’s everything you need to know to make it happen.

Cost of Living

When you want to estimate the affordability of an area, looking at its cost of living scores is a wise decision. It helps you see how a state compares to the national average with just a quick glance. Plus, you can examine the scores of different states to see which one is the most budget-friendly.

When it comes to the national average, that is always set at 100. If a state has scores below 100, it means that the state costs less than average. With scores above 100, the opposite is true.

Oklahoma has an overall cost of living score of 87.2, which is one of the lowest cost of living scores in the entire nation. When it comes to category scores for the Sooner State, every single one is also below 100.

For groceries, Oklahoma comes in at 93.3. For utilities, transportations, and healthcare, the Sooner State sits at 94.4, 92.0, and 95.1, respectively.

One spot where Oklahoma really shines is housing. The state’s housing cost of living score is a meager 71.6. This affordability is also showcased in the state’s average home value, which comes in at $146,179. That’s reasonably close to half of the national average, which sits at $281,370.

While some may assume that the lower home value means housing quality is poor, that isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, it’s simply that comparable properties cost less in Oklahoma than they would in an area that has prices closer to the national average, making it a strong sign of affordability.

Tax Considerations

One point that many retirees accidentally overlook when deciding where to live is taxes. How much you have to pay in taxes can have a big impact on your budget. After all, you have to pay what you owe.

By looking at a state’s tax situation, you can determine the impact the cost will have on your savings. This can make it easier to decide where to move.

Oklahoma does have a state income tax, with the rate ranging from 0.5 to 5 percent, depending on your taxable income level. However, Social Security retirement isn’t taxed in the Sooner State, and there is also a deduction of up to $10,000 for other kinds of retirement income. Retirement income beyond that is taxed at the standard rate.

There is also a sales tax in Oklahoma. The base rate is 4.5 percent for most purchases. However, cities, counties, and municipalities can add to that. For example, Oklahoma City has a total sales tax rate of 8.625 percent, though zip codes there that overlap with another city can have a higher rate.

When it comes to property taxes, rates in the Sooner State are fairly low. Additionally, retirees who meet certain eligibility requirements – usually based on age and/or income level – may qualify for a Senior Valuation Freeze or certain property tax credits that limit or reduce what they owe.

Part-Time Job Opportunities

When you want to assess whether part-time job opportunities are readily available, looking at a state’s unemployment rate can be a solid place to start. Often, when unemployment is high, securing a job is increasingly difficult. With lower unemployment, positions are increasingly available in general.

As of April 2021, the unemployment rate in Oklahoma was 4.3 percent. That is notably lower than the national average, which came in at 6.1 percent during that month.

It’s important to note that the city you choose as well as the kind of work you want to pursue does play a role. However, if you’re flexible, finding part-time job opportunities in Oklahoma shouldn’t be overly challenging.

Best Cities for Retirees in Oklahoma

When you’re deciding where to retire, you don’t just have to select a state; you also need to choose a city. Each town brings something different to the table, including varying access to amenities and recreation, as well as different costs of living and general vibes.

If you prefer city life, Oklahoma City and Tulsa are both great options. You’ll have excellent access to amenities and entertainment, as well as a surprisingly affordable cost of living for a major city.

For retirees who prefer suburbs, Edmond is a great option. You’ll have quick access to Oklahoma City while avoiding some of the hustle and bustle at home. Jenks can also be a good choice. It has a small-town vibe while being close to Tulsa, giving you the best of both worlds.

If you want to be close to outdoor recreation, consider Norman. It’s just outside of Lake Thunderbird State Park and is close to Oklahoma City, too. Plus, it’s affordable for homebuyers and renters alike.

How Much Money You Need to Retire Well in Oklahoma

Since the Sooner State has a very low cost of living, having a modest amount in savings is typically all you’d need to live comfortably. Generally speaking, if you want to retire well in Oklahoma, having access to around $54,959 annually in retirement income will do the trick. Along with handling your needs, you could cover the cost of some wants, ensuring you can enjoy your retirement with greater ease.

Is there anything else that you think retirees should know that could help them retire well in Oklahoma? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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