Benefits of Retiring In North Carolina (Pros & Cons)

North Carolina is certainly an interesting state. If you haven’t yet, you must ask yourself if retiring in North Carolina is a good option for you.

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North Carolina is certainly an interesting state. If you haven’t yet, you must ask yourself if retiring in North Carolina is a good option for you.

The truth is that North Carolina is one of the most beautiful and fairly reasonable states in the United States. As the younger population flocks to the more happening and exciting states, they often miss out on the beauty that is NC. However, with your retirement nearing, you don’t have to look past this wonderful state. With its rugged inland mountains and wind-swept beaches, the state offers some grossly ravishing scenery that will take your breath away. But that’s not all there is to this wonder.

North Carolina has some majestic views, temperate weather, lower-than-average cost of living, above-average healthcare, and a welcoming population. On the flip side, NC has a high-than-usual crime rate, increased chances of hurricanes, higher taxation, and a poor transportation system.

Both the Carolinas rank pretty high on the list of potential retirement homes for seniors. According to the Census Bureau, both states ranked in the top five for net migration of people aged 60 and older. With its picturesque beauty, stunning coastline, and southern hospitality, it isn’t hard to see why North Carolina draws people from all over the country.

When moving to a new state, especially with the purpose of living out your retirement years, there are more than a few things to consider. The fact is that every place you consider moving to will have its benefits and pitfalls; you will have to decide the factors that are important to you and the ones you’re willing to look past. With that said, after researching one too many US states with retirement potential, I decided to dig deeper into the hidden wonder that is North Carolina.

Table of Contents

Pros of Retiring in North Carolina

If you’re considering retiring in North Carolina but still require some convincing, I’ve lined up more than a few reasons to help you make a decision.

Stunning and Diverse Landscape

If you’ve spent most of your life living and working in a metropolitan city, the best thing about retirement is the opportunity to pack up your life and move to a quiet place with majestic views. The Tar Heel State offers exceptional opportunities for you to witness the beauty, from the Outer Banks to the Smoky Mountains.

With an abundance of hiking trails and hundreds of miles of coastline, there’s no seeming end to the amount of outdoor expeditions you can enjoy in the state. Whether you’ve longed to live by an ocean view or in a town surrounded by towering mountains, North Carolina is the ideal state for you!

Affordable Cost of Living

North Carolina offers a relatively low cost of living to its residents. With lower than average rents, reasonably-priced food options, and free activities, retirees can save their dollars for other opportunities, such as traveling.

First off, accommodation is the biggest expense that any state’s residents have to incur. The average monthly rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in North Carolina is $825, which is much lower than in many other states. For instance, with the highest average rent in the United States, a one-bedroom apartment in the District of Columbia costs $2,324 to rent. So, if you move to North Carolina, you’ll be saving quite a bit on your monthly cost.

Besides housing, the state also offers comparatively cheaper food options than other states like New York State or Washington State. Moreover, given the vast and diverse landscape, you can engage in a myriad of outdoor activities, such as visiting the beach or trekking, completely free of cost. However, it’s important to remember that the cost of living varies from state to state.

Low Corporate Tax

North Carolina has a complicated tax system. While it is technically one of the highest-ranking states in terms of taxation, there are a few pretty low taxes. For instance, prescription drugs are exempted from taxes, and the local corporate tax rates are quite reduced. So, if you plan on starting a business during your retirement years, you’ll be paying around only 2.5% corporate tax.

Better than Average Healthcare

Healthcare is a massive concern for those looking to move to another state, especially retirees. Whether or not you have access to healthcare programs, insurance, and good hospitals and doctors, is and should be a major factor to consider. With some of the country’s best university medical centers in the country, fortunately, North Carolina delivers well in this regard. For instance, Duke University Hospital is among the best in the country. Moreover, there are also smaller university hospitals in the state that are nationally ranked.

Temperate Weather

According to the state’s residents, North Carolina only happens to experience two seasons – summer and fall. Even though this isn’t true for the entire state, the most populous places do experience a fairly temperate climate. In cities such as Charlotte or Raleigh, temperatures during winters rarely drop lower than 35º F. North Carolina’s summers are also temperature, even though the temperatures do rise above 90ºF at times.

The mountainous regions in the state experience humid days in the summer and pretty cold temperatures in the winter. Either way, since most seniors seek to build a home in a place with moderate weather, North Carolina is an excellent choice or at least a much better choice than Florida or New York.

Plentiful Hiking Trails

The Appalachian Mountains form most of North Carolina’s territory, providing the state with miles of hiking trails. While many of these trials are for hikers, you can also easily come across some excellent trails where you can enjoy horse riding or mountain biking.

One of the most popular trails in the state is the Appalachian Trail. This trail starts from Georgia and passes through North Carolina, making it all the way to Maine. The Rainbow Falls Trail in Gorges State Park and the Looking Glass Rock Trail are a few other beautiful trails worth exploring.

Rich History

North Carolina is one of the original thirteen colonies, allowing it to gather a rich history spanning centuries. From Sir Walter Raleigh landing in NC in 1587 to NC succeeding during the Civil War, this state has witnessed its fair share of nation-defining historical events.

More so, to celebrate their state’s rich and abundant history, North Carolina actively funds and looks after the many museums and historical sites in the state. If you’re a history enthusiast, you can explore the many museums at Beaufort or Cape Fear and get lost in the centuries of history.

Welcoming Residents

The true reality of a state can often be judged through its people, and if that’s the case, then North Carolina truly is the most charming state in the US. The residents of this state display that Southern charm regularly. Since they live in a gorgeous state, you’ll find most people casually walking around looking happy and enjoying life. The good thing is that they are more than willing to welcome newcomers with open arms.

Not only will you get amazing service when you visit the store or supermarket, but you’ll also receive kind gestures from random people you bump into on the streets. Whether you’re looking for directions or recommendations for a good restaurant, the locals will be more than enthused about helping you out. What more could you want in a new community?

Cons of Retiring in North Carolina

If you’re planning to retire in North Carolina, you have more than a few reasons up your sleeve to do so. After all, this state has a lot to offer. However, as with every other state, North Carolina also has quite a few pitfalls that if you can look past, you’ll love living here.

High Chances of Hurricanes

Hurricanes are always a lurking threat for those living along the eastern seaboard, and unfortunately, they can potentially wreak havoc on the residents’ lives. Hurricanes in North Carolina are accompanied by intense winds and unpredictable weather patterns that can cause flooding and severely damage your home. While the people who’ve been living here for a long are prepared for these types of disasters, those who are unprepared can often be severely injured or embrace mortality due to touching downed wires or getting swept up in flood.

The hurricane season hits North Carolina from June to November. During this time of the year, you must be very careful and mindful in case the state authorities issue any alerts. Usually, there are two options to steer clear of hurricane damage. The first option is to live inland as the worst effects of the hurricane can impact you in the mountains, while the other option is to buy an insurance plan that covers all aspects of hurricane damage.

High Crime Rates

North Carolina is an overall safe state for you and your family to call home. However, that doesn’t mean that crime in the state is non-existent. North Carolina’s crime rate almost matches the national average. However, certain types of crimes are more common in the state than others.

According to a study by Safewise, 11% of the state’s residents encounter a violent crime, and 24% encounter a property crime, with the overall crime rate being 28.72. The murder rate in the state is 5.8 per 100,000, 10% higher than the national average. However, although higher than the national average, the murder rate in North Carolina is much lower than in South Carolina.

The fact is that not everything is rainbows and butterflies in the Old North State. Poverty is seen as a significant contributor to the relatively higher crime rate in the state. In fact, according to a 2019 report, 1.4 million of the state’s residents live in poverty, making NC the state with the 15th highest poverty rate.

High Taxes

North Carolina compensates for its affordable cost of living by putting a significant tax burden on its citizens. North Carolina ranks 19th amongst states with the highest per capita tax.

Income Tax

On average, individual state and municipal taxes cost 9.8% of one’s yearly income. NC isn’t the worst state for retirees when it comes to income taxes, but it isn’t the best either. North Carolina doesn’t tax Social Security retirement benefits. However, it taxes public and private pension incomes, 401(k), IRA, and other retirement accounts at an income tax rate of 5.25%.

Property Tax

North Carolina has relatively low property taxes. The state’s property tax rate stands at 0.77%, which means that a homeowner has to pay around $770 every year for every $100,000 in home value. The low property taxes in the state are one of the reasons for the below-average housing costs.

Sales Tax

North Carolina’s total state and average local sales tax rate is 6.98%, placing it on the ranking of 26 in the nation. However, the sales tax differs from county to county. In some places, such as Durham County, you may even have to pay sales tax at the rate of 7.50%. Unlike most other states, North Carolina taxes groceries. However, it does so at a reduced rate, with almost 2% on most food.

Poor Public Transportation

One of the most significant drawbacks of retiring in North Carolina is the lack of a public transportation system. The lack of proper public buses, trains, and other modes of transportation make it challenging to travel and explore different parts of the state. You will need to invest in a car to get the most out of living in North Carolina. Otherwise, it will be difficult to visit the beautiful beaches and mountains.

Cities such as Raleigh and Charlotte have a public transportation system, but they lack the convenience that other cities, such as Chicago or New York, offer. Essentially, the public transport in North Carolina doesn’t cover a huge ground and is rather under-serviced, so it becomes particularly tricky to get from one place to another without a car.

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