Benefits of Retiring In Idaho (Pros & Cons)
March 3, 2022General Retirement
Are you approaching your retirement age, looking for a new place to call home? These pros and cons of retiring in Idaho can help you make a decision!
When you work most of your life, nearing your retirement age seems like an amazing opportunity to turn things around and do everything you’ve been dodging for so long. Perhaps the best thing about your golden years is that you can move anywhere around the world. That said, many people are turning towards Idaho to live out the rest of their retirement due to the myriad of benefits and opportunities it has to offer.
Idaho has mostly-mild weather, low living costs, stunning scenery, and low crime rates. Moreover, the Gem State offers affordable healthcare and senior citizens tax rebates. On the flip side, Idaho has very cold winters, limited public transport, expensive housing, limited luxury shopping options, and is overall pretty conservative.
One in 600,000 residents of Idaho is 50 years or older. Although this may seem like a small number, things are rapidly changing. Idaho was formerly known for its younger-than-the-national-average population but experienced an increase in its median age over the past few years. One of the major reasons for this change is due to the number of retirees flocking to the state.
Idaho is a great retirement location for those looking to lead an active lifestyle. In fact, it also has many perks for those looking to live out the rest of their days comfortably. With beautiful and scenic outdoor locations, delicious regional food and beverages, and friendly and welcoming residents, Idaho is certainly a dream place for many retirees seeking a new home. Although this location has gained much traction from the aging population over the past few days, there are a few drawbacks to living here that you should consider before packing your bags. Having lived in the state for years, I’ve put together this article featuring the pros and cons of retiring in Idaho to help you make the best decision for yourself.
Table of contents
Pros of Retiring in Idaho
The Gem State is attracting seniors from all across the U.S. to seek a home here, and these benefits that Idaho offers will show you why.
Affordable Cost of Living
Regardless of how many savings you have, when you reach your retirement age, you want to ensure that you use your money effectively. This means keeping your cost of living in check. Idaho has a lower than average cost of living compared to other U.S. states, enabling seniors to live life comfortably without having to worry too much about the prices of groceries and utilities. The overall low cost of living of the state also spares more money to be spent on participating in fun activities rather than necessities.
Another huge monetary benefit for seniors looking to retire in Idaho is its tax-friendliness. Idaho offers various taxes rebates to seniors that help them retain even more of their money. For instance, Social security incomes and prescription drugs are free of tax. Although wages in the state are taxed, they are done so at a normal rate, which is lower than the national average. Moreover, the marginal state tax rate is only 5.9%.
Quality and Affordable Healthcare
Quality healthcare is an inevitable consideration for seniors looking to move to another place. However, it can be a huge constant challenge. Fortunately, if good healthcare is what you seek, it won’t be a problem in the state of Idaho! The Gem State makes special provisions for senior citizens, providing them access to proper healthcare services at affordable rates. In fact, the capital city of the state, Boise, has two top-of-the-line hospitals that offer top-notch medical services at reasonable rates.
Thanks to the high population growth, Idaho’s economy is booming like never before. According to various reports, Idaho’s gross domestic product has increased at an annual rate of 2.8% since 2015, which is much faster than many other states. Presently, science and technology is the biggest industry in the state, accounting for over 25% of the state’s income. As a result, many high-tech products have led to incredible and unprecedented economic gains in the state.
When you move to Idaho, you will almost immediately notice the lovely variations in the seasons. The state experiences all four seasons along with a rather mild climate. You will get to witness the blooming of stunning wildflowers in spring and the excitement of the skiing season in winter. Winters usually hit the area around December, with snowfall right behind it in January and February. Summer typically arrives during May and can get very hot and humid. However, you can find a cool place in the northern areas to seek refuge from the sun.
Low Crime Rates
Safety is an important concern for everyone, not just seniors. After all, who doesn’t want to live in a place where they feel secure and sheltered? Compared to many other states, Idaho offers unmatched safety to its residents. The Gem State’s crime rate is much lower than the national average, making it quite appealing to people from around the U.S. The state also invests heavily in law enforcement to maintain its pristine record. In fact, Boise, the state capital, was recorded to have the highest number of police officials in the country.
The people of Idaho are widely known for their friendly, warm, and welcoming nature. In fact, many people believe they may be kind to a fault. However, whether you visit here as a senior or just another young individual, you can expect people to help you out and support you, making it easier for you to settle in.
Idaho’s residents also hold deep respect for the natural surroundings, which is why they often hike up mountains, bike by rivers, and visit forests in groups. So, if you’re looking for someone to accompany you on an adventure around the block, you will easily come across friendly neighborhood groups that will string you along.
Although most of Idaho was originally inhabited by the Mormon community, things are rapidly changing. Given the population growth, the state has seen an increase in those from diverse backgrounds, including Latino, Hispanic, German, Native Americans. Additionally, many of the state’s residents partake in and celebrate various arts in the form of theatre and festivals throughout the year, so there’s never a dull day.
Vast Opportunities to Explore
Idaho offers some stunning landscapes and picturesque sceneries that can leave even the most unenthusiastic people in awe. If you’re a nature lover, then this place would be more than perfect for you! With majestic mountains, beautiful lakes, lovely hot springs, and calming rivers present throughout the state, you will never run out of options to explore nature in Idaho.
Besides the obvious natural beauty, Idaho also has a rich cultural heritage and history showcased in museums and other places. For instance, the Idaho Potato Museum is an interesting site to visit for those eager to learn about interesting things. Moreover, due to its history, Idaho has a bunch of real western ghost towns, including the Silver City, Burke, and Custer Ghost Town.
During summer, you can visit Coolin, Idaho, to relax and seek refuge from the terrible heat. Some other interesting sites include The Lionhead Natural Water Slides and the Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood.
Sustainable and Environmentally-Conscious Values
Boise, Idaho, uses renewable energy to produce electricity. Although this is the only city in the state that depends largely on sustainable energy production, it is taking steps to promote environmentally beneficial shifts around the state.
Given the deep connection most Idahoans have to the natural beauty around them, sustainable living and environmentally friendly practices are rapidly expanding across the state.
More Opportunities to Maintain an Active Lifestyle
A great benefit of retiring in Idaho is that you have access to a long list of outdoor activities to enjoy. Besides hiking, you can walk, jog, bike, or golf, all while absorbing the gorgeous views. Idaho is home to over 30 state parks, including the Grand Teton National Park, that’s perfect for walking. Furthermore, if you’re looking to do all the adventurous activities you missed during your youth, the state offers various opportunities to go boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, skiing, or paragliding.
When it comes to cleanliness, it’s hard not to rate the state a solid 10! It is highly unlikely to find a pile of garbage lying around anywhere in the state. A major reason behind this immaculate environment is the deliberate effort that most cities make to maintain a cleanliness level.
Cons of Retiring in Idaho
While there are a ton of benefits of retiring in Idaho, there are some drawbacks, too. Here are some cons to moving to Idaho that you should consider.
Idaho’s real estate market benefits sellers more than buyers. Moreover, given the rapid growth in the population, the demand for housing in the state is higher than ever. Idaho’s real estate market is also expected to experience an increase in competition for homes. It can be quite challenging for seniors to land a good home in the big cities, given the high rent prices.
Winters in Idaho can get very cold, with temperatures dropping in the negative digits. This is especially true for January and February, when the state witnesses snowfall in most of the areas. While this is a bearable factor for many people, seniors can have a particularly tough time living in extremely cold areas. So, if you’re looking for warmer temperatures and lots of sunshine, Idaho probably isn’t the best option for you.
Many Idahoans are conservative republicans, leaning away from liberal views. If you aren’t a conservative, you will often find it tough to deal with the occasional heated political debates with your neighbors and other residents.
Poor Transportation System and Infrastructure
Idaho has a rather poor transportation or even non-existent system. Even if there is public transport available, it is limited to large cities, such as Boise. Private cab systems, such as Uber, are also quite rare outside the city, and what bus and rail transport system exists is also pretty unreliable. So, if you do decide to move to the city, you will need your own car.
Another major issue that Idahoans face is the poor infrastructure, which, when paired with the growing population, is adding to travel congestion. The roads and bridges in most parts of the city have been in need of considerable upkeep for years now. However, while the Government does acknowledge these concerns, it is taking them a while to implement effective policies.
Hunting and Gun Laws
If you aren’t a huge fan of guns, you are bound to be uncomfortable living in this state. Hunting is a critical part of life for the residents of Idaho. People are free to own, carry, and use a firearm – even without a license. These gun policies are accompanied by the right to defend your family and property, which is quite concerning for those who haven’t witnessed it before.
Limited Luxury Shopping Options
Walmart-type stores are widely available throughout the state of Idaho. However, when it comes to shopping from luxury brands, you’d be rather disappointed to learn that there aren’t many options. You can easily come across a lovely hand-crafted item, but if you’re searching for a Birkin bag, you won’t be able to find one!
Day-to-day shopping stores, such as Ikea or The Home Depot, are highly accessible in almost every city, but if you want to purchase any luxury items, you will probably need to buy online or travel to another state. However, on the plus city, with increasing urban migration, things are rapidly changing here.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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