Pros of Retiring in Missouri
We start with looking at the positive aspects of Missouri that you might want to consider as you plan to retire in this state.
Low Cost of Living
Missouri often ranks as one of the most affordable states in the United States with the 5th lowest cost of living of any state. The cost of living in Missouri falls below average in every significant cost category, including utilities, groceries, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, and housing.
While the state also offers lower than national average salaries, you have to use your budgeting skills to manage this advantage with lower wages. But it shouldn't be a concern for a retiree as long as they enjoy their savings from early years to spend a decent living during the golden years of their life.
The state’s lower cost of living is primarily driven by the fact that Missouri’s housing costs are around 30% below the national average. If you are retiring in Missouri, the typical home value in Missouri as of January 2022 is $213,181, which is around 35% lower than the national average.
While the cost of housing in Missouri has been on the rise in recent years, you can easily find out some amazing housing deals at the most affordable prices. Moreover, the property taxes in Missouri are also lower than the national average.
Furthermore, if you are not ready to commit to the ownership of housing, you can find relatively reasonable rented spaces in the state. You can find rented single-homes for as low as $1,000 per month, and you can also find 2-3 bedroom apartments for even less.
Strong Business Opportunities
Missouri's business climate is strong, and the state is home to several small and large businesses and agriculture. Moreover, the state enjoys lower unemployment rates with careers in the healthcare field offering some of the highest paying opportunities in Missouri. So if you are a retiree looking forward to resuming your job career or being an entrepreneur, Missouri will offer you several opportunities.
While industries other than healthcare and research are relatively low-paying and the average wages are lower than the national average, anything you earn during the golden years of your life is a bonus, so why not enjoy some extra money.
Slower Pace of Life with Friendly People
If you are coming from a fast-paced state such as New York or California and want to slow things down now, Missouri is the state for you.
One of the most significant benefits of retiring in Missouri is the state's slow pace of life and its complex culture, with people combining from different parts of the country. You will find the culture of Missouri a mix of Southern charm and Midwestern politeness that results in people giving you a friendly smile and walking at a slower pace.
When in Missouri, you can observe people driving slowly and engaging in longer conversations, and surprisingly they also remain calm while watching a thunderstorm from their porch. So if you want to live a slow-paced life following your retirement, Missouri is the state for you.
Central Location of the State
One of the significant reasons Missouri makes it to the list of top states for retirees is its central location. If you live in Missouri, especially the southwestern part of the state, you are in one of the most centralized locations in the country that provides you access to 40% of the country's population in four hours or less. Since the state borders eight other states, all major cities are easily accessible.
Residents in Missouri can typically reach the big cities of Kansas City and St. Louis within a 2-hour drive. So whether you need healthcare options or are looking forward to attending a major sporting event, all you need to get to your destination is a vehicle and a few hours of time.
Given the state's central location, some of the country’s biggest retailers have their distribution warehouses in Missouri, which also reflects in the state's strong economy.
Plenty of Outdoor Activities – Include Hunting and Endless Water Recreation
Missouri offers plenty of outdoor activities to the state’s residents. From nature to national monuments, theaters to museums, and architecture, Missouri has it all. The state is home to 6 national parks, almost 100 state parks, lakes, and many rivers.
The most famous lake is the Lake of the Ozark, featuring more than 1,100 miles of shoreline that offers plenty of room for fun and recreation. Given the state’s abundant water bodies, Missouri has some of the best trout and bass fishing in the U.S. and has an abundant supply of catfish, crappie, and walleye.
If fishing is not your game, Missouri provides you extensive opportunities for hunting as it ranks as one of the top deer hunting states in the United States. Other animals that you could hunt in Missouri include turkey.
Don't forget to visit the iconic Gateway Arch and the famous Missouri Botanical Garden as you retire in Missouri.
But if you are not into nature, don't worry, as Missouri offers every other form of entertainment as well. Branson is home to live entertainment, with shows covering about every genre of music, but also offers varied entertainment, including go-karts, zip lines, and a lot more.
The state's major cities, including St. Louis, Kansas City, and Independence, all have plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities regardless of what your definition of “entertainment and fun” happens to be.
So while there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures in the state, you can’t miss out on the amazing food that Missouri has to offer. Given its rich history of Italian, German, and French immigrants, the state has developed rich and tasty menu options ranging from BBQ to pizzas and a lot of other popular dishes including toasted ravioli, charcuterie and provel cheese. Moreover, thanks to the state's central location that gives access to immigrants from all around the world, the cities and towns in Missouri also offer a rich variety of ethnic foods.
After a hard day enjoying nature, recreational activities, and some amazing food, don't forget to enjoy Missouri's beer scene, which is a significant attraction for retirees.
There is a significant beer heritage in Missouri that you won't probably find elsewhere, which is why over 6% of the state’s GDP comes directly from beer production each year.
And if you are a retiree who prefers wine over beer, you will be delighted to know that the state has its own wine country and is the 14th largest producer of wine in the country.
A Sports Friendly State
If you want to enjoy your beer while eating some BBQ ribs and watching a game, then Missouri makes the state for you. It is a sport-friendly state that has professional teams for baseball, football, and hockey, so you can have plenty of opportunities to enjoy some good games while having some amazing foods and beverages.
Cons of Retiring in Missouri
Given that there are numerous benefits of retiring in Missouri, there are a few cons that you should be aware of so you can make an informed decision about your retirement.
Higher Taxes for Retirees
As you plan to retire in Missouri, know that the state has a higher sales tax and is partially friendly towards retirement income. The state-wide sales tax rate is more than 4%, and the average local tax rate is another 4% which means you are paying more than 8% of sales tax on your purchases. While the cost of living is lower than the national average, you are still paying more sales tax.
Moreover, the state has a partial retirement-friendly tax system. All withdrawals from any retirement account are fully taxed. Furthermore, public pension income is partially taxed, whereas all private pension income is completely taxed.
Higher Crime Rate and Gang Activities
Kansas City is consistently listed as one of the most dangerous communities to live in the country each year. Moreover, the state as a whole has one of the highest rates of violent crime for any other state in the U.S. And if these facts do not scare you enough, know that the property crime is 15% higher in Missouri.
Another problem associated with retiring in Missouri is gang activities. While it is believed that gang activities are only common in metropolitan areas such as Kansas City and St. Louis, that’s not always the case. You can find gang activities going on in some of the rural areas of the state, so make sure you check the crime reports before you decide on retiring in Missouri.
Access to healthcare is a critical factor for most retirees when deciding where to retire. If you have higher medical needs, then Missouri may not make the top choice for you as it ranks as the 8th worst state in the country for health care. The score is based on the access to healthcare, the quality and cost of healthcare, and the average emergency-room wait time. However, the state's central location can allow you to access better healthcare opportunities outside Missouri.
Hot and Humid Weather
As you retire in Missouri, you will get to enjoy all four seasons, and that's, of course, an advantage. But the overall state's climate is consistently hot and humid. If you thrive in that kind of weather, Missouri may make a good choice for you, but if you don't like sticky summers that come with many tornadoes, thunderstorms, and rainfalls, then Missouri doesn't make the place for you.
Poor Road Conditions
Thanks to the state's central location, Missouri has a well-developed infrastructure. However, the road conditions are poor, which can make driving a lot more inconvenient, especially for retirees.Missouri ranks 10th worst in the country for road conditions, with 25% of its roads being unacceptable.