Benefits of Retiring In Illinois (Pros & Cons)

Retiring in Illinois might be just the right choice for you. However, do the benefits of retiring in Illinois outweigh its drawbacks?

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Retiring in Illinois might be just the right choice for you. However, do the benefits of retiring in Illinois outweigh its drawbacks?

Choosing a state to settle down after retirement is a decision you need to consider carefully. After all, you wouldn't want to move again once you have settled. The country is full of places that give you immense freedom and privileges. However, when you have little money coming into your bank account and more going out of it, you need more than just that.

After retirement, living in Illinois has benefits such as access to Chicago, a bustling economic hub. Besides that, Illinois offers a sports enthusiast environment, diverse food choices, and more. However, drawbacks such as high tax rates and unpredictable climate can affect your life heavily.

Illinois is one of those states that offer you a well-balanced mix of pros and cons if you live there after retirement. Its economic hub, Chicago, drives the major economy of Illinois. If you are used to the fast-paced city life, you can settle in Chicago or nearby areas. However, the high cost of living in Chicago can turn down the opportunity of retiring there. The downstate offers a pretty calm life if you want to slow down your days a bit.

You need to tread carefully all the aspects of living in Illinois to make an informed decision. Having lived in Illinois for most of our lives, we have assembled a list of the pros and cons of retiring in Illinois.

Table of Contents

Pros of Retiring in Illinois

Chicago, Chicago, and Chicago

The top benefit of living in Illinois is that you can live in Chicago, one of the most entertaining and biggest cities in the United States.

Even if you don't live in Chicago, anywhere in the northern Illinois region is close to Chicago, and you can reap the benefits of a highly developed megacity.

The whole of Illinois enjoys the economic benefits that Chicago provides. The economy remains stable for the most part, offering lots of good job opportunities. If you ever decide to come out of retirement, Chicago is a city full of opportunities for all working sectors.

With the help of Chicago, Illinois has the fifth largest GDP in the US. The corporate sector is beaming with the manufacturing industry. On the other hand, agriculture is also a big deal in Illinois.

You can live in Chicago if you love the hustle-bustle of city life and like to see skyscrapers rising over your head. Move slightly outside of Chicago, and you can find a moderate environment with a mixed bag of high life and low-lying townships.

But if you want to spend your life away from the business of the city, you can look towards Western Hills, Deerfield, etc.

Statewide Access to Top Healthcare

Healthcare is an important factor when looking to settle down after retirement. You want good healthcare at your disposal at any time. Luckily, Illinois is a good choice because it offers one of the best healthcare in the country.

More than two dozen hospitals in Illinois are considered among the best across the country. You can check excellent healthcare off your checklist if you live in Chicago. The megacity's healthcare is the fifth-best healthcare among United States cities.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, and Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove are some of the best hospitals across the state.

Besides that, medical insurance of $423 in Illinois is also a notch below the average medical insurance of $452 in the US. Rest assured, your health is in good care in Illinois.

Ample Outdoor Activities

An obvious benefit that the state enjoys due to its diverse landscapes is its ample outdoor activities. The foremost spot for recreational activities and outdoor fun is Lake Michigan. Illinois shares a vast boundary with Lake Michigan, 118 miles wide until Michigan State.

The huge lake is eye-watering and offers boating, sailing, and swimming activities. These sports also occur in the form of annual championships.

However, if you want some fast action, the Chicago River and other rivers and streams across the state offer activities like white water rafting, kayaking, and more. On the other hand, Illinois has many areas covered by forests and state parks.

These areas offer nice and calm picnic spots to enjoy with your family. If you want to keep the action going, you can experience the ATV and Two-wheeler trails crossing through the woods.

Diverse and Best Food Choices

Illinois is heaven for the foodies. If you live in a big city and are fond of diverse cultures, you can imagine the food choices that you have in Illinois.

Due to Chicago offering an economic hub to the state, there are uncountable varieties of cuisines available in Illinois.

Pick up street food from every corner in the big cities or find lavish fine diners engulfed in the lights; there is something for everyone.

Unlike other states, the food diversity is not limited to big cities only. Towns and rural areas are also bustling with great and tasteful choices. The Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza is a world-famous dish.

Besides that, Italian beef sandwiches, Horseshoes, Gyros, Hotdogs, Pierogies, Poutine, and Frontera grill are Illinois' specialties. It is safe to say that you can truly enjoy the fruits of your hard-worked life in Illinois.

Plenty of Architectural Marvels

For an architectural lover, Illinois is a treat not to be missed. Even if you are not into architecture, these sights are just pure excitement to watch.

Several amazing skyscrapers and other structures are a strong pull that turns the heads up of passersby. Especially in Chicago, you will see skyscrapers one after the other, and each of them has a unique beauty.

However, these marvels are not limited to Chicago. Beautiful buildings and structures are present throughout Illinois in small-town and rural areas.

The famous Willis Tower, Illinois State Capitol, Dana Thomas House, Tribune Tower, and Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio are some of the striking architectural marvels you can find in Chicago.

Cultural Diversity and Rich History

If you love authenticity in the place of your residence, Illinois has a lot of it. Also known as the "Land of Lincoln," Illinois was the first state to end slavery.

Due to this, there are several Lincoln memorials all over the state and museums and libraries with a hefty amount of information on the man himself that is far from the typical facts the world knows about him. This is because he spent most of his life in Illinois.

Besides that, uncountable monuments and buildings stretch back to the Greek and Renaissance eras and the early 19th and 20th centuries that will engulf you deeply in their beauty.

Old Nauvoo Post Office, Jacksonville's Underground Railroad Tour, Hegeler Carus Mansion, Peotone Historical Society, and Ronal Reagan Birthplace and Museum are some of the places in Illinois beaming with cultural and historical significance.

One of the Best Transportation Facilities

A significant benefit of retiring in Illinois is that you can reap the benefits of one of the best transportation facilities in the country.

Not having a car is not a problem in Illinois because most of the state is commutable by public and private transport facilities. METRA, a public transit, connects the northern region through a rail system.

Besides that, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is the second-best transit system in the US. It consists of 140 bus routes and 242 miles of rapid transit rail track.

It is safe to say that you will find accessible public or private transport all over the state unless you live in extremely rural areas.

Road Trip-Encouraging Roads

Are road trips something you look forward to in your retirement life? If the answer is a resounding "yes," you will have a blast living in Illinois. The state's roads are super smooth and well built. This is why people in Illinois love to take road trips every other weekend.

You will often find yourself driving to nearby cities and towns such as Detroit, Nashville, and Pittsburg. Canada is also in close proximity to Illinois. So going cross country is also an option you can enjoy.

Have the Midwest Hospitality

Illinois is one of the states that enjoy Midwest hospitality. People are generally nice and respect each other's space. You will find different cultures coexisting here, and everyone mingles well. Soon, you will find yourself overwhelmed with the hospitality in the region.

Cons of Retiring in Illinois

Chicago, Chicago, and Chicago

Yes. We did mention this in the pros of retiring in Illinois. Unfortunately, where one of the biggest cities in the US provides huge benefits, it has several drawbacks too.

Starting with a killer job market, Chicago and its suburb cities offer great job potential but are equally competitive. The 10 million residents of Illinois shoot their best shot in the biggest cities.

The economic hub also means that you have to bear high living costs in Chicago. Moreover, most of the commercial activities involve manufacturing.

This means the residents have to get used to all sorts of pollution. Consider these facts before getting blind-sighted by its sparkling benefits if you settle down in Chicago.

High Taxes

Frighteningly high taxes is another big concern for retirees looking to settle in Illinois. This, too, is a result of Illinois boasting one of the country's biggest economic hubs.

Since the economy keeps up your living standards, the government takes away a considerable chunk of your income to keep those standards high.

Property tax in Illinois is 2.3%, the second-highest in the US. The sales tax is valued at 6.25%. Your total average tax payment can rise to 11% by adding the local taxes.

High Crime Rate

As if high taxes were not enough to keep you on your toes, Illinois's scary crime rate is an alarming factor to consider before moving here. The crime rate in Illinois is 6.9% higher than the overall national crime rate. 16% of the crimes in Illinois are violent crimes, and 23% of crimes are property-related.

However, many cities in Illinois are some of the safest cities in the United States. These include Campton Hills, Hawthorn Woods, Orland Hills, and Chester.

Traffic is Scary

Another downside to living in the economic hub is the scary amount of traffic you have to deal with.

As Chicago is a city of opportunities, it also has the most people coming from all over the country to try their luck. If you prefer public transport over driving your car through the mess, things can be better for you.

However, the most populated city in Illinois means even the transit services are overloaded with passengers.

The suburb cities of Chicago experience the same scenario traffic-wise. Moreover, the noise and pollution from the traffic at the peak hours can be extremely overwhelming. You can settle farther away from the city if you want to avoid messy traffic. But the situation in small cities and towns is not far behind the big ones.

Harsh Climate

Moving to Illinois means dealing with extremely harsh climatic conditions. We cannot stress enough how brutal the winters are in Illinois. You can expect the temperatures to remain below freezing point throughout the peak season, which ranges for over two months.

However, you will see the entire state covered in white blankets of snow, covering your car and even your front door, making life extremely tough for a couple of months.

Seasonal Natural Disasters

Even if you do not follow the news closely, you must know that natural disasters are a common visitor in Illinois. This is because Illinois receives too many natural disasters every year, including tornadoes, floods, thunderstorms, and whatnot. Illinois is also prone to heat and cold waves. These natural disasters cause thousands of casualties every year.

There is no doubt Illinois is a great place to retire. With benefits like access to Chicago, superb healthcare, and accessible transit facilities, you know you have all the basic amenities making your life comfortable. On the other hand, the many outdoor recreational activities and diverse food choices ensure that Illinois' life can't be boring.

Certain drawbacks of living in Illinois, like the high crime rate and natural disasters, can be tough to tackle, but it's nothing you can't find your way around. So what are you waiting for? Start planning to retire in Illinois already!

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