how to retire well in Utah

Many appreciate the natural beauty you can find in Utah. Plus, it has a variety of climates to choose from. There are also many opportunities for outdoor recreation, and is more affordable than some other states. However, if you want to retire well in Utah. You do need to be prepared. Before you set your sights on the Beehive State for your retirement.  Here’s what you need to know.

Cost of Living

Assessing a state’s affordability is a great idea if you want to retire well. You can estimate how moving will impact your long-term budget, allowing you to ensure your savings is up to the task.

Often, the simplest way to gauge a state’s affordability is to look at its cost of living metrics. They let you make quick comparisons to the national average and to other states. The national average is 100, with scores higher or lower than that being more or less expensive than the average, respectively. When you compare states, the lower-numbered one is cheaper.

Utah has a combined cost of living score of 97.9, putting it just shy of the national average. Also, each category score is below the 100 mark. Groceries are at 97.9, while utilities and transportation come in at 93.2 and 99.8, respectively. Healthcare is just 92.8, which can be a boon for retirees with medical conditions.

Now, the Utah housing category score is 97.6. However, home values have skyrocketed during the last year, and that growth may not be fully reflected in the housing score. Currently, the average home value is $465,012, which is a more than 24 percent increase over the previous 12-month period.

However, property tax rates are very low. That helps bring the housing category score down.

Tax Considerations

If you want to retire well in Utah, you need to look at the tax situation. Taxes can have a substantial impact on your budget, so you want to be ready for them before you arrive.

For state income taxes, Utah uses a flat-rate approach. It’s currently set at 4.95 percent, which makes it simple to calculate regardless of your income level.

Now, Utah does tax retirement income. However, there are tax credits that apply to certain Social Security benefits that benefit lower-income retirees, as well as specific sources of military retirement income. Additionally, there are some tax breaks on other kinds of retirement income, mainly for funds that were previously taxed in other states.

The Beehive State also has a sales tax. The rates can vary from one municipality to the next, and they typically fall in the 6.1 to 9.05 percent range. However, prescription medications are exempt from sales tax, and groceries only have to pay a reduced sales tax rate, usually around 3 percent.

When it comes to property taxes, Utah is on the lower end. County assessors can exempt 45 percent of a residential primary residence’s fair market value from the equation, and that makes a big difference. Plus, low-income seniors age 65 and older may qualify for an indigent abatement or deferral, reducing your budget further.

Part-Time Job Opportunities

Working in a part-time job after retirement can be a great idea. Not only will you have a source of income, but you may also have chances to socialize and stay active, which can be great for your mental health.

In many cases, unemployment rates can give you some clues about the overall availability of part-time jobs. Lower unemployment commonly means an increased number of opportunities, while higher numbers indicate competition for positions may be fiercer.

Luckily, the unemployment rate in Utah is incredibly low. As of May 2021, it was just 2.7 percent. In comparison, the national average at that time was 5.8 percent, which is more than three percentage points higher.

Generally speaking, part-time jobs should be plentiful in Utah, especially if you’re open-minded about the kind of work. Plus, low unemployment may mean higher pay rates, allowing you to earn more or work less to make ends meet, depending on your preference.

Best Cities for Retirees in Utah

Choosing the right city for your retirement is another critical part of the equation. Luckily, Utah gives you a wide range of options, so something is almost guaranteed to fit your preferred lifestyle.

For active retirees, Ogden might be the perfect match. It’s near the Great Salt Lake, is close to beaches and ski slopes, and is pretty affordable. Plus, there are plenty of critical amenities, including high-quality medical facilities. It’s also home to Hill Air Force Base, so it can easily be the perfect choice for retired military with on-base privileges.

If you prefer a more desert landscape, consider St. George. It’s incredibly popular with snowbirds, and the average age is a bit higher than you find in some other areas. Plus, it’s close to Zions National Park and other great outdoor destinations and is only a two-hour drive from Las Vegas.

For retirees looking for a slower pace, Spanish Fork is an excellent choice. It’s got a very relaxed feel but is still close to every amenity you could need. Plus, there are nearby ski resorts and several festivals during the year, giving you plenty of options for entertainment.

Movie fans may appreciate Park City. The town is home to the Sundance Film Festival, and there are numerous opportunities for skiing, hiking, and other outdoor fun. You can also take advantage of the great bus system to get around, and there’s even a shuttle to nearby Salt Lake City.

How Much Money You Need to Retire Well in Utah

Since the Beehive State comes with a moderate cost of living, you can get by with a modest amount of income. If your goal is to retire well in Utah, around $61,425 per year can probably be enough. Your needs will be covered, and you’ll be able to afford some wants, too, ensuring your golden years are enjoyable ones.

Is there anything else people should consider to make sure they can retire well in Utah? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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