Benefits of Retiring In Hawaii (Pros & Cons)

Whether you’re planning an early or late retirement, there’s probably no better idea than retiring in Hawaii. After all, it is the closest you’ll get to heaven on earth!

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Whether you’re planning an early or late retirement, there’s probably no better idea than retiring in Hawaii. After all, it is the closest you’ll get to heaven on earth!

Known for its stunning beaches and uber-relaxing culture and vibe, Hawaii is one of the most popular escape spots in the world. This makes many people wonder if it is as good of a site for retirement as it is for a holiday. Well, if you’re considering retiring in Hawaii, there are certain pros and cons you need to bear in mind.

Hawaii has many amazing beaches, scenic locations, and fun activities to offer. Moreover, it has a low crime rate, a year-round pleasant climate, and no tax on certain retirement incomes. On the flip side, Hawaii lacks public transport, taxes certain retirement incomes, and is quite expensive given the high property, grocery, fuel, and utility prices.

Hawaii, the Aloha State, surely has its own mesmerizing appeal. This wonderful state has its distinct character and environment, rich cultural history, and some beautiful sights to explore. The various islands of Hawaii house active volcanoes, black sand beaches, gorgeous waterfalls, coffee farms, and much more. One of the most popular Hawaiian Islands, Maui is also widely known for its snorkeling adventures, golf, water sports, whale watching tours, and sightseeing.

There are many factors you need to consider before retiring to a particular location. If you have ample resources to sustain you, the possibilities might be very overwhelming. Given the magnificent beauty that is Hawaii, you can’t help but wonder if it’s a good idea to retire here. Having served as a retirement consultant for years, I’m here to help sort your dilemma through this article by covering the pros and cons of retiring in Hawaii.

Table of Contents

Pros of Retiring in Hawaii

There are several pros of retiring in paradise on earth, aka Hawaii. Perhaps more pros than I can cover in this article. Whenever someone says Hawaii, you can’t help but picture chilling on a beach on a sunny day drinking margarita out of a coconut shell with a Macarena playing behind you. Well, truth be told, that’s exactly how it is to be in this all-year summer wonderland!

Hawaii is a great place to retire since it has something to offer everyone, including different attractions, such as active volcanoes, interesting water sports for those looking for adventure and excitement, and cool beaches and scenic views for those who simply want to sit back and relax.

Now, you can sit back and enjoy as I highlight all the pros of retiring in Hawaii.

Peaceful Culture

A major reason most people decide to visit Hawaii or plan to retire there is due to its comforting, relaxing, and laid-back culture. Just as you step off the plane, you can feel the warm air greet you. Moreover, it is also extremely common for Hawaii natives to adorn you with a lovely flower necklace known as a lei when you step foot on their soil.

As you leave the airport, you’re in for a treat for your mind and eyes. You can feel the tension leave your body as you drive along the breathtaking coast, taking in the beautiful views, the warm sun, and the water.

Once you reach your accommodation, you’ll be content knowing that every day you spend on the island is going to be peaceful and relaxing. So, if you are searching for the ultimate retirement spot to live out your days joyfully away from tall buildings and the hustle-bustle of metropolitan cities, Hawaii should be at the top of your list!

Stunning Beaches

When you think of Hawaii, you can’t help but envision beautiful beaches. So, if you’re a beach person, Hawaii is most certainly an excellent retirement location for you. Most of the beaches in the state are surrounded by lava formations that further add to their uniqueness. You can also find various colored sands on the beaches, including white, black, red, or gold brown.

Besides the intriguing color of the beaches, the water in itself is quite exquisite. As the sun shines bright during the day, you can’t help but get lost in the bewildering beauty of the blue-green crystal clear water. Hawaii is home to over hundreds of beaches, so whether you’re looking for a public or private one, you’re in for a treat!

Cultural Attractions

If you’re someone who loves exploring cultural attractions, you’d be more than pleased to know the extensive opportunities Hawaii has to offer in the form of museums, cultural centers, shows, luau’s, and much more. All Hawaiian Islands have their own set of cultural attractions, so you will never run out of things to do.

Entertaining Activities

If you’ve lived your young life adventurously, why stop now? Another huge advantage of retiring in Hawaii is that you can enjoy yourself every day by partaking in one of the hundreds of activities this state offers.

Hawaii is especially heaven for water sports enthusiasts. Some of the most popular water sports on the island include surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and windsurfing. Water sports are pretty widespread on the island because, well, it has a vast array of stunning beaches.

Don’t be disheartened if you’re not much of an adventurer; this lovely state still has a lot to offer! If you’re looking for a relaxing activity, whale watching is a fantastic option that will be an experience you won’t forget! Moreover, whether you’re a novice or an expert golfer, you can also find the perfect golf course. After all, Hawaii has some of the best golf courses, with its magnificent views and vivid green grass.

Low Crime Rate

When deciding on a place to retire, it is extremely crucial to go over the crime rates of that particular location since it can greatly impact your daily life. Fortunately, Hawaii has very low crime rates, especially compared to metropolitan cities. In fact, Hawaii’s crime rate is much lower than the national average.

Warm Climate

One of the best things about retiring in Hawaii is none other than its climate! This is especially for those who can’t bear cold temperatures for too long. Hawaii has an overall comfortable temperature throughout the year, ranging from 78℉ (25.5 °C) in the cooler months to 90℉ (32 °C) in the hotter months.

Culinary Heaven

If you’re a foodie looking to explore mouth watering delicacies, you might just want to retire in Hawaii. You can find numerous cuisines on the Hawaiian Islands, including Asian, Mexican, Italian, and French, but if you do eat out, you most definitely have to try Hawaiian cuisine.

With a restaurant at almost every nook and cranny, the Aloha State has some amazing seafood dishes and fresh fruit to offer that will leave you wanting more. You can expect to start your day with a nice tall glass of freshly squeezed juices.

No Tax on Some Types of Retirement Incomes

Now that you’ve learned quite a bit about the beauty that is Hawaii, you’re probably wondering if it is a tax-friendly state. The answer to this can be a little complicated. While Hawaii is tax-friendly for some, it isn’t for others.

One benefit of retiring in Hawaii is that it doesn’t tax public pension income and social security. Moreover, it also has no sales tax and a rather low property tax. However, if you do decide to retire in Hawaii, it’s important to bear in mind that the tax economy differs from county to country. The most tax-friendly counties in Hawaii include Nanakuli, Kahului, Makaha, Waianae, Wailuku, and Hawaiian Paradise Park,

Cons of Retiring in Hawaii

While there is an extensive list of pros to retiring in Hawaii, there are also certain cons that are imperative to consider. Although Hawaii is a popular vacation destination, only a selected few actually have the privilege to retire over here due to several reasons, but mainly due to the costs. If you’re planning to retire in Hawaii, you will need an iron-clad source of income to sustain you comfortably.

Here are the cons of retiring in Hawaii.

High Cost of Living

Perhaps the biggest downside of retiring in Hawaii is the extremely high cost of living. Hawaii is one of the most expensive states to live in compared to the rest of the United States.

A big downside of retiring in Hawaii would be the cost of living. The Aloha State is one of the most expensive states to live in compared to the entire United States. In fact, the cost of living in Hawaii is almost 33% or 2 times higher than the national average in the US.  

One of the biggest costs involved in your move will be that of the property you want to purchase in Hawaii. If you don’t have a steady source of income or enough wealth, you might be able to rent property in Hawaii because buying it will be next to impossible.

Taxes on Certain Kinds of Retirement Incomes

Hawaii isn’t tax-friendly for some retirees. Moreover, retiring in certain Hawaiian states can be worse than others. Generally, the state taxes private pensions and retirement savings accounts. So, if you fall in any of these categories, Hawaii probably isn’t the best retirement option for you.

High Grocery and Utility Bills

Hawaii is overall a very expensive place to live in. The reason behind this is that since it is an island, most of the goods have to be shipped or flown in, adding to its prices. You will have to bear the burden of its high utility bills, or maybe you can consider investing in sustainable energy sources. A great way to deal with high grocery bills can be to grow your own little garden if you have space.

Lack of Public Transport

Hawaii lacks public transportation options. So, if you’re moving from a metropolitan city to the Aloha State, make sure you’re mentally prepared for the transportation issues.

The Hawaiian Islands don’t have subways, trains, or trams, but you can expect buses on every major island. You can download an app and use it to track your bus rides. Moreover, taxis and uber are also available on the major islands, but they are more expensive.

If you have a car back in your home country, it’s best to get it shipped to the island. That way, you’ll be able to save money in the long run.

Bad Traffic

Since there are only a handful of ways to get around in Hawaii, traffic can be quite terrible at times. Some say that Hawaii just might be one of the worst states in the US when it comes to traffic. However, just like other states and countries, the traffic in Hawaii is only bad during the rush hour. If you’ve decided to fully retire in Hawaii, you will have to choose the best times to drive around and avoid the bad traffic.

Traveling Around is Costly

If you’re retiring in Hawaii, you will want to explore the island you’re on and other islands, which can be quite expensive. The lack of public transportation options means that you’ll either have to rent a car or use your own car.

Renting cars can be expensive on the island, and even if you have your own car, Hawaii has some of the most expensive gas prices in the US. If you’re healthy and in good shape, you might want to consider investing in a peddle bike. If not all, the peddle bike will get you to certain locations at a cheaper cost. Moreover, it is also an excellent way to get in some exercise!

Critters and Insects

When you move to Hawaii, you will have to embrace everything that comes with it, even if that means living with bugs and insects. Critters and bugs, such as spiders, cockroaches, and geckos, are extremely common on the island, and since most of the time you’ll have your window open, you can expect these creatures to enter your home. This may seem like a negligible factor, but for some people who can’t stand bugs at all, it might just be the line between what stops them from retiring in Hawaii.

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