Benefits of Retiring In South Carolina (Pros & Cons)

Finally! You’ve made it to your retirement years are now ready to move to another place. If that’s the case, retiring in South Carolina may be a great idea!

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Finally! You’ve made it to your retirement years are now ready to move to another place. If that’s the case, retiring in South Carolina may be a great idea!

Located in the Southeast corner of the United States, South Carolina most certainly has a charming allure. With its beautiful landscapes and southern hospital, this state is most welcoming to everyone. If you’re looking to enjoy the natural beauty and good food while saving yourself from heavy tax burdens, The Palmetto State is definitely a good destination for your retirement.

South Carolina offers picturesque views, a tranquil environment, great healthcare, low tax burdens, excellent weather, great transportation, outdoor activities, and low crime rates. However, it also has high living costs, the threat of hurricanes, floods, alligators, and bugs.  

South Carolina has inherent, natural beauty in the form of stunning landscapes, ranging from beaches to mountains, to offer. This is more than enough of a reason for retirees looking for a change of scenery to pack their bags and move to The Palmetto State. However, retiring in this state also has certain drawbacks that are important to consider.

South Carolina’s slow-paced lifestyle can appeal to seniors looking for a tranquil environment. Every town and city in the state has its own unique and distinct charm. Living here means letting your hair down and truly enjoying life, but it all boils down to what suits your lifestyle. As a retirement consultant who has made many retirees’ dreams come true, I have put together this article to help you decide if South Carolina has the potential to become the place you call ‘home’ during your golden years.

Table of Contents

Pros of Retiring in South Carolina

South Carolina has much to offer in the form of natural beauty, entertainment, taxes, healthcare, and living costs. Not to mention the gorgeous coastline that you can't ever get over. That said, let's get into the perks of retiring in South Carolina in detail.

Beautiful Landscapes

You probably want to soak in as much natural beauty as you can during your retirement years, especially if you've spent a better part of your life amidst a bustling metropolitan city. South Carolina offers you much relief from the sore sight of modern architecture by allowing you to immerse in the gorgeous beauty of its landscapes, ranging from towering mountains to breathtaking coastlines.

The Palmetto State is home to forests, lakes, mountains, and neighboring oceans that all serve as visual reminders that this state is not only a beautiful place to call home but is also a naturally vast one. The opportunity to establish a permanent residence near several barrier islands along the beautiful shore is a factor great enough to attract retirees from around the country. Moreover, with the spectacular scenery comes some of the most magnificent sunsets that you can never get enough of.

As you begin to wander inland, you'll have the opportunity to explore farms, boutiques, stables, and other areas that showcase the state's lovely agriculture. As you move further away from the coast, you will also come across many quaint and cozy towns where you can relax and live gracefully.


Retirees must consider the state's taxes they plan on moving to, mainly because taxes should be more a chore than a burden during your golden years. South Carolina doesn't have the best tax rates for retirees, but it does offer much better financial pros than many other states. Not only does the Palmetto State offer low property and gas taxes, but it also exempts social security benefits from taxation and offers many other retirement income deductions for its senior residents.

Retirement Taxes

The Palmetto State's impressive retirement package starts from the fact that it doesn't tax Social Security benefits. Additionally, it also offers substantial deductions for many other retirement incomes. For instance, residents below 65 can claim a $3,000 deduction, while those over 65 can claim a $15,000 deduction. This makes this already-beautiful state even more enticing and welcoming for senior citizens receiving income from sources other than social security.

Gas Taxes

The taxes on fuel in South Carolina are considerably lower than those in other regions of the country, making transportation a whole lot cheaper. Although the taxes on gas have increased within the past few years, they still remain one of the lowest in the U.S.

Property Taxes

South Carolina has the 5th lowest property tax in the country. With the average homeowner paying about $850 a year in property taxes, you can stand to save a lot on the low property tax alone. Moreover, senior homeowners also qualify for homestead exemptions, allowing the first $50,000 of the property’s market value to be excused from taxes.

Inheritance or Estate Taxes

If you have successors that will inherit your property once you're gone, you'll be glad to know that South Carolina has no inheritance or estate taxes.

Good Healthcare System

Health is wealth – this is a brutal truth you realize as you grow old. Since most retirees are in their later ages, the healthcare system of the place they plan to move to is a major concern. Luckily, South Carolina has some of the best, world-class hospitals, such as the Spartanburg Medical Center and Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) that offer first-class, quality healthcare. Moreover, there are also numerous leading healthcare systems throughout the state that concentrate on various speciality areas, so when you move here, you don't need to worry too much about finding proper healthcare.

Great Weather

Another important consideration for retirees is finding a place with great weather. Fortunately, South Carolina has great weather that you can enjoy all year long. With plentiful sunny days, you can casually chill on the beach and participate in various outdoor activities. Although the weather can sometimes become challenging to endure, especially during the peak summer season, for the most part, you'll learn to love the shining sun.

Numerous Outdoor Activities

The gorgeous landscape paired with the oh-so-warm weather makes South Carolina the ideal state for outdoor activities. If you truly want to make the best of your retirement days, there's no better way to do so than to participate in the myriad of outdoor adventures the state has to offer, from relaxing on the sandy beaches to trekking and hiking the mountains and zip-lining down the foothills. If you're searching for something mellow and less-demanding, you can always take a trip down to the city of Clemson to witness the magnificent botanical garden.

Southern Hospitality

South Carolina has a rather strong culture based on values and kindness, so there's obviously no shortage of warm and inviting people in the community. As you walk down the street, you'll come across some lovely people who will greet you wholeheartedly and maybe even invite you for a meal.

The state emanates a palpable calmness that differs in more than one way from the typical fuss and turmoil of city life. The overall relaxing environment facilitates the feeling of being on an all-year-round vacation.

Convenient Transportation

If you're moving to South Carolina from up North, you will jump with joy at the sight of low to almost no traffic. Once you move here, you won't have to deal with gridlock traffic and standing still in your car for miles to come, which can be a huge relief.

Moreover, even if you live in busy cities, such as Charleston, you can easily commute from one place to another due to the proper transportation system available. Bicycles are also quite popular in the state, mainly because of the enjoyable weather. Commuting via bicycle can be a great way to squeeze in some exercise and enjoy the richness of the natural beauty around you.

Historically Rich

Charleston is the oldest city in the entire state, meaning that there's no shortage of history to be witnessed here. As home to magnificent historical sites predating the American Civil War, you can enjoy the historical richness of the state to the core.

With cobblestoned streets, old plantation houses, and many other mansions, South Carolina will allow you to enter a town that is otherwise unavailable to you in the city. One of the most interesting places to visit here is Fort Sumter, the place where the Civil War began.

Low Crime Rates

South Carolina's crime rates are almost as high as the country's other states. While some cities do witness quite a bit of violent crimes, some cities are utterly safe. Charleston, one of the main cities in the state, happens to be amongst the safest urban areas in the country. Although Columbia is somewhat more dangerous in this regard; however, this city, made up of small towns and rural communities, is usually a safe place to stay.

Free Education for Retirees

Although most retirees probably aren't interested in this, the free education that the state offers to retirees is worth considering. If you're 60 or older, you can attend any of the state-funded universities or colleges for free, presenting an excellent opportunity to participate in courses you've always been interested in.

Cons of Retiring in South Carolina

If you’re interested in moving to the Palmetto State and want to know exactly what you’re getting into, you must consider the following cons of retiring in South Carolina.

High Cost of Living

Despite the low housing costs, South Carolina boasts a higher cost of living than many other states. All essential items, including utilities, healthcare, and groceries, will probably be more expensive than where you’re currently living. Since you aren’t going to be working during your retirement years, make sure you have a hefty retirement fund before you move to this state.

Too Much Construction

Many people have recently started packing their bags to move to the Palmetto State, causing an increase in the number of home building projects in both urban and rural areas. Residents of these areas feel like there’s always a construction project in their town, which has proven to be quite interruptive in their daily lives. Not only does it cause issues for people trying to commute, but it also gets really noisy throughout the day.


Although the weather in South Carolina is pretty great overall, there’s always a chance for the weather to take a turn for the worst. South Carolina has witnessed more than just a few devastating hurricanes in the past, and there’s a chance this natural disaster will continue to occur in the state.

Hurricanes, such as Hugo, Irma, and Floyd, caused many structural issues and created transportation and housing problems that still continue for many residents. Overall, the weather in South Carolina is a little unpredictable that can transform from clear blue skies to thunder and lightning within minutes.


Certain areas of South Carolina are more prone to flood warnings during the rainy season. Even if you live in a safe zone, you may still witness a surprise flood. Although the state has quality drainage systems in many areas, it isn’t everywhere. Therefore, you’ll have to tread carefully when choosing an urban or rural area in South Carolina to live out the rest of your days.


As you know, South Carolina houses many lakes and ponds in almost every neighborhood. While this is an exciting landscape feature for many, the presence of alligators can quickly turn that excitement into fear.

What’s even scarier is the fact that an alligator can make its way inside your home through the doggy door if you live near a pond. You will need to be even more careful when walking your pets near a pond, as they will consider them as prey.


As great as feeling the sun on your skin can be, South Carolina’s hot and humid weather typically brings one thing with it – bugs – and lots of them. Regardless of the city or rural area you decide to settle in; it won’t be long before you discover how important bug spray is. While the mosquitoes there are ferocious and relentless, you’ll also find yourself in situations where you’ll see bugs swarming outside.

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