Series: Cities

Best States for Military Retirees

Posted on May 26, 2020
Best States for Military Retirees

Retirement can be a glorious period for anyone who has spent their career in the military. After years of service and moving from place to place, it is important for military retirees and their families to carefully select where they want to spend this new chapter of their life.

Most military retirees have embarked on at least a 20-year journey of service. While these individuals can take advantage of an array of benefits after completing their tenure, some states offer better services than others.

Selecting A New Home

When going through the process of selecting a new home, military retirees should be aware of the best places for veterans to live and the key dynamics associated with their retirement.

Here, we’ll cover the best states for military retirees in terms of benefits and quality of life.

Understanding Military Benefits

Having served their country honorably for years, military officers and personnel are offered unique benefits upon retirement that are not available to the civilian public. One of the biggest advantages of serving in the military is the ability to retire at a much younger age than other professions. This allows military retirees to receive benefits at an early age and even explore other job opportunities, then embark on a new career if they so choose.

Military service equips veterans with a wide range of tools that can be applied to civilian life. Whether you decide to move on to a new career or relax for a few years, it is important to have a clear understanding of your benefits.

The main benefits that veterans can access upon retirement are as follows:

  • Pay – Military personnel will continue to receive a salary when they retire. Of course, each retiree’s pay will vary depending on when they began active duty service and the number of years they remained in the military.
  • Disability coverage – Veterans can benefit from disability coverage for any injury that they suffered during their active duty service and access a wide scope of coverage during their retirement. See our guide to the Best States for Disability Benefits .
  • Life Insurance – There are several different types of life insurance available to veterans that are not available to the general public.
  • Healthcare – The VA offers health and dental insurance to military retirees and their families.
  • Educational Benefits – Retired military personnel are eligible to receive educational benefits for their families through the G.I. Bill.
  • Discounts and Other Benefits – There is a wide range of private business discounts and other services that vary by location and the type of businesses present in your state.

While these services are available to military retirees regardless of the state they reside in, some states allow veterans to benefit more from their retirement plans by providing additional services or credits.

Tips for Selecting a State to Live

When looking at the best states for veterans, there are a few key factors that make some locations better than others for retirees and their families. If you are starting the process of selecting a new home, it would be a good idea to consider the following points before making a decision.

#1 Look at the Tax Structure of the State

Military retirees will continue to receive compensation in the form of a salary upon retirement, but this income can be heavily taxed in certain states. When determining where you and your family want to live, it is tremendously important to understand your economic environment, as well as tax burden prior to moving there.

Some states offer a tax break to veterans, while others do not tax military salaries at all. These tax benefits—or lack thereof—could greatly affect your earnings in your new home and could be a major factor in determining whether you want to live in a given state.

#2 What is Your Healthcare Outlook?

Healthcare is one of the most important services for any person, whether they served in the military or not. But because military retirees receive specific healthcare benefits from the VA, it is crucial to know whether you will be able to access these services in your new home.

You may want to consider moving to a location in the vicinity of a VA Medical Center and consult what other types of health-care services are available to veterans.

#3 Are There Special Discounts and Other Services?

Why not choose a new home that honors your military career with special discounts and services? Many states offer specific discounts to military veterans. While some are more profitable than others, this can be an attractive offering for a number of veterans and their families.

#4 What’s Your Career Outlook?

Most military retirees will start a new career once they have completed their service. So, when selecting a new home, you should get a sense of the job market in the state, analyzing how it fits in with the skills and tools you have developed during your military career.

Some companies specifically hire veterans, which can make the jump from military service to your new career hassle-free!

#5 What Is the Veteran Community Like?

The community can make or break a location. To that end, it’s likely a military retiree would want to move somewhere with a large veteran presence. Many communities have specific organizations set up for veterans and have an active community of former military officers and personnel, making them attractive locations for ex-military members and their families.

#6 The Cost of Living

Life is expensive, especially if you are raising a family. When moving to a new state after devoting years of service to the military, you may want to consider the cost of living before settling on your home. Depending on your career outlook, some states can be more attractive than others, in terms of salary expectations and state and federal taxes.

#7 Other Considerations

Of course, the various benefits of moving to a new state are meaningless if you do not want to live there. Maybe you prefer a state with a certain climate or looking for the best places to live to avoid allergies . When selecting a state for your retirement, it is always important to put your general well-being and quality of life first. You’ve done your duty in the department of defense, now it’s time to live somewhere you want to.

Best States for Military Retirees

While a military retiree can create a new life in any state, there are a few specific parts of the country that represent the best places for veterans to live. Active veteran communities, attractive financial incentives, and great weather all contribute to their popularity.

  • Florida — The sunshine state is one of the best locations for retired military personnel. Florida has the third-largest veteran community in the US and offers a complete tax exemption on military retirement salaries. It also has some of the best VA hospitals in the country if health-care is a priority for you and your family.
  • Alabama — If financial incentives represent an important factor in choosing your new state, Alabama is the place for you. Not only does it have a relatively low cost of living compared to other states, but it also provides unrivaled tax incentives to military retirees. All military salaries are tax-exempt, and Alabama even offers a specific property and vehicle tax credit to veterans. Furthermore, the state boasts a wide range of discount programs on licenses for hunting and fishing.
  • South Carolina — South Carolina is not just a beautiful place to live—it’s also one of the best states for disabled veterans. The Palmetto State is renowned for its disability retirement programs focused on easing the lives of those who suffered injuries or post-traumatic stress during their service by offering free fishing and hunting licenses, and even paid legal representation for disabled veterans.
    The state has also moved towards creating more financial incentives for military personnel. Although retiree salaries are not yet tax-exempt, in 2021, new laws will go into effect, rendering your military pension tax-free.
  • Virginia — Strategically located near Washington DC, Virginia has a vibrant veteran community. Depending on where you live in the state, you can benefit from a relatively low cost of living combined with great VA hospitals and schools.

Unfortunately, Virginia does tax military pensions, but this drawback is offset by the plethora of jobs available to veterans. If you are looking to get into government work, defense contracting, or other jobs that value military service, Virginia is the right place for you.

Why Not Try Out Your New Home First?

Selecting a new home after years spent on several military bases is a milestone in the lives of every veteran and their family. It’s a big decision with long-term repercussions—so why not visit a few locations first to make sure you decide on the right choice?

At Zeus Living, we offer military veterans a unique opportunity to experience a new state without having to commit first. By offering beautiful fully furnished properties (without the need of a lease), you can enjoy the comforts of home from the moment you walk through the door. Choose a studio, apartment, or home that fits your budget and lifestyle for a month or longer to experience new cities and neighborhoods before you make any long-term decisions. While you’re deciding, Zeus makes sure you’re comfortable, cozy, and never inconvenienced. Your furnished home comes with homecare essentials, cleaning basics, and comfy furniture, including plush mattresses.

So what are you waiting for? Experience what the veteran community is like, scope out potential job opportunities, and live in the atmosphere of a new location. When you book with Zeus, you can spend time like a local and make the best decision for you and your family. .

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