The Best States For Vets To Retire

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Congratulations! It’s time to start your well-earned retirement from the military! Now the big question is this: do you want to stay where you are or move and get a fresh start? Do you want to move back home or somewhere entirely new?

If your potential move won’t be based on finances, a good choice might be an area that you know the best and have a good support system waiting.

There’s nothing like the ability to move back home to friends, family and everything familiar, especially if you haven’t been there for a while.

Maybe you’re of the mindset that home is wherever you make it. Your original home might not be calling to you, so it’s your time to put down some new roots. So how do you decide where to go? Throw a dart at a map? Look for another job?

“…Military.com and USAA commissioned Sperling's BestPlaces to create a list of best places for military retirees to launch a second career, based on the best places in the nation for jobs that match military skills…here's the countdown of the best places for retirees to make use of their particular talents, from #10 to #1.”

#10: Manchester, NH

Advantages for military retirees: High number of defense contracts, low unemployment, no state tax on military retirement pay, low or no sales tax, affordable housing

Primary job sectors: Engineering, defense, government 

#9: Omaha, NE

Advantages for military retirees: Many military contracts, low unemployment, affordable cost of living, local base amenities, high number of veteran-owned businesses

Primary job sectors: Government, defense, medical

#8: Raleigh, NC

Advantages for military retirees: Temperate climate, affordable cost of living, many industries that utilize military skills, quality base amenities and VA healthcare close by

Primary job sectors: Engineering, aviation, protective/emergency services

#7: Philadelphia, PA

Advantages for military retirees: High federal employment, defense contract awards and military skill jobs (despite higher unemployment rate than other areas), local access to VA health care and base privileges, no tax on military retirement pay

Primary job sectors: Government, defense, medical

#6: Madison, WI

Advantages for military retirees: Low unemployment rate and overall affordability, low sales tax, no state tax on military retirement pay, lower housing costs, high number of federal jobs, local VA medical center

Primary job sectors: Government, engineering, medical

#5: San Antonio, TX

Advantages for military retirees: High number of defense contracts and jobs that require military skills, convenient base amenities, local VA hospital, affordable standard of living, no state tax on military retirement pay

Primary job sectors: Defense, government, aviation

#4: Austin, TX

Advantages for military retirees: High federal employment, large number of defense contracts and military skill-based jobs, affordable housing, no state tax on military retirement pay, comfortable climate

Primary job sectors: Engineering, government, defense

#3: Richmond, VA

Advantages for military retirees: Large number of defense contractors, federal employment opportunities and military skill-based jobs, access to VA and base facilities, low sales tax

Primary job sectors: Government, defense, protective/emergency services

#2: Norfolk, VA

Advantages for military retirees: Large number of federal jobs and opportunities in industries seeking military skills, large number of defense contract awards, access to base amenities and VA hospital, mild climate, affordable housing

Primary job sectors: Defense, engineering, aviation

#1: Oklahoma City, OK

Advantages for military retirees: High number of jobs that require military skills, low unemployment rate, large number of veteran-owned businesses and federal jobs, many defense contracts, four military bases in the area, local VA medical center, affordable cost of living and housing

Primary job sectors: Government, medical, aviation

However, you know your life far better than anyone else, so you should consider doing more homework than looking at a list of 10 cities to decide where to move. As WalletHub said, “…military retirement can be a far more complicated issue than one might assume, given the extent to which state tax policies on military benefits vary, the relative friendliness of different job markets toward veterans, and a variety of other socioeconomic factors.”

For 2017, WalletHub also published their own list, comparing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, on a variety of factors that add to a comfortable military retirement. Their analysis used a data set of 22 key metrics, ranging from veterans per capita to a number of VA health facilities to job opportunities for veterans. The list doesn’t include territories of the United States. 

Are you getting ready to retire and now have to decide if you want to go somewhere else or stay where you are? Share with us in the comments! Thinking about looking for a new home because of a PCS or a retirement move? Start your search with us!

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