Benefits of Retiring In Tennessee (Pros & Cons)

If you’re looking to live out your retirement days enjoying the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and delightful music, consider retiring in Tennessee.

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If you’re looking to live out your retirement days enjoying the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and delightful music, consider retiring in Tennessee.

Tennessee is quite the popular state in the United States, known for its country music roots, stunning landscape, and world-famous delicacies. This state seems pretty alluring and may have already convinced you to pack your bags and spend your golden years here. However, before you start packing and hit the road, acquaint yourself with the pros and cons of Tennessee first.

Seniors retiring in Tennessee can enjoy a low cost of living, low pension taxes, free healthcare, stunning landscapes, and more! However, it’s also important for them to be mindful of the high risk of tornadoes, high city crime rates, traffic congestion, and extreme summers.

Tennessee has attracted many people from all over the US looking for an attractive location to settle and live a peaceful life. After all, the Volunteer State has some fantastic views, a soothing climate, and many other interesting things to offer. Tennessee is also known for its warm and friendly residents, which makes it even more enticing given the human need to socialize.

The Volunteer State surely has a ton of perks to offer to seniors and even other individuals looking to retire here. At the same time, it also comes with its fair share of cons, making it necessary to evaluate both before reaching a final decision. As a retirement consultant, I have written this article to help give seniors a clearer idea of the pros and cons of retiring in Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Pros of Retiring in Tennessee

As mentioned above, there are many benefits of retiring in Tennessee that we’re going to discuss in detail in this section.

Low Cost of Living

Perhaps the biggest benefit of retiring in Tennessee is the affordable cost of living. Not only does Tennessee have a lower than the national average cost of living, but it is also the sixth cheapest state in the US. Sure, some of the cities in the state are more expensive than others, but it is still inexpensive as a whole. One of the major factors that contribute to such low living costs is the lack of state income tax.

Housing, utilities, and groceries are all very budget-friendly, making it easy for retirees to make ends meet. Smyrna, a city in Tennessee, is quite the popular retirement destination in the state, mainly because its housing cost is lower than the state and national average.

Another city in Tennessee that offers extensive low-cost housing options is Johnson City. In fact, not only is this city popular among retirees but it also attracts young professionals from all over the country.

If you truly want to reap the benefits of low living costs, avoid moving to the big cities, such as Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, and Mount Juliet. Instead, you should consider moving to smaller cities that are known to be retirement friendly, including Chattanooga, Alcoa, Clarksville, Johnson City, and Smyrna.

Low Retirement Taxes

Another major consideration for retirees when moving to another state is the local tax situation. Considering the fact that taxes can take up a huge chunk of one’s retirement income, it makes sense to want to move to a state that has little to no taxes.

If that’s the case for you, then you’re in luck! Tennessee has a very limited tax on incomes that only covers dividends and interest. So even if you choose to work here, you will be paying a small sum of your hard-earned money in taxes.

Moreover, retirement incomes, such as pension income, IRA, or 401(k), are completely tax-free, and when it comes to collecting social security benefits, seniors can do so without having to incur any state tax.

The state also exempts all your income from tax if you or your spouse crosses the 100-year age mark. Additionally, lucky for your family, Tennessee also doesn’t have estate or inheritance tax. So, whatever you leave for your successors won’t be subject to any tax.

Warm Weather

Many seniors seek refuge from the cold weather and move to places with warmer climates. If that’s the case for you, then Tennessee is certainly an excellent place to settle down. The winters in this area are quite mild, whereas summers can get pretty warm.

However, this largely depends on the part of the state you move to. Summers can be warmer in certain parts of the state. Memphis is the warmest city in Tennessee, with temperatures reaching up to around 91°F (32°C) in summer.

But, regardless of where you are in the state, you’ll have the opportunity to experience all four seasons. The best part about the reasonably warm climate is that it gives you an excellent chance to go outdoors and participate in fun recreational activities. For instance, water skiing is one of the most popular summer sports in Tennessee. If you’re looking for more relaxing activities, then you can go boating, canoeing, or kayaking.

Gorgeous Landscapes

There’s a lot of beauty to see and experience in the state of Tennessee, especially when the weather is pleasant. However, when retiring here, you will get to witness the stunning scenery throughout the year, no matter what the season.

You can’t beat the majestic views of the multi-colored tree leaves during the fall season or the mesmerizing view of the Smoky Mountains in the east. Tennessee is also home to numerous, namely 500, waterfalls tucked in various locations around the state. One of the state’s most popular waterfalls is located at Fall Creek State Park in Spencer.

The Volunteer State is also rich in beautiful underground caves. Although the public can’t access all of them, you can still partake in one of the many walking tours to absorb the unique beauty they offer.

The diverse landscape of the state offers you the opportunity to explore wildlife in their natural habitat, such as the Smoky Mountains, walk through the magnificent parks and trails, hike up the mountains, or even just simply take in the beauty of the waterfalls.

The point is that Tennessee has a lot of unique beauty that you probably won’t find anywhere else. With so many stunning landscapes and wildlife all around, you will never get bored.

Southern Charm and Hospitality

The true charm of a place is determined by the behavior of its residents. Uprooting your life and moving to another state at such a later stage in your life can be challenging. However, when you move to Tennessee, its residents’ southern charm is sure to wrap you up like a blanket.

Tennessee is home to very simple and friendly people who offer the warmest welcomes, the friendliest greetings, and the biggest smiles as you walk through town. This behavior is quite prevalent throughout the state and not just in the small cities. A major reason behind this friendly warmth is the Tennessean way of life – low cost of living and high quality of life.

Delicious Food

If you’re a true foodie, what’s better than moving to a place with southern comfort food? You’ll find some of the most delicious food in the south that you probably won’t in any other place, and most of these foods happen to be staples of Tennessee culture.

Tennessee is famous for its barbecue, catfish, mac n’ cheese, delicious sandwiches, fried pickles, and sweet tea. Although Nashville is known for its historic music scene, it is also extremely popular for its southern cuisine. But, besides that, you’ll also easily come across a small restaurant in almost every part of the state.

Just like the all-year-round music festivals, Tennessee also hosts various food festivals, with one of the biggest ones being the Memphis World-Famous Barbeque Cooking Contest, where people from all over the world come to compete.

Cons of Retiring in Tennessee

Having discussed the pros that make Tennessee the ideal state for your golden years, it’s time to explore some of the cons before you get packing.

Tornadoes, Storms, and Hurricanes

As you know, tornadoes come in certain areas of the US. Although Tennessee doesn’t fit in the “Tornado Alley” zone, tornadoes may occur in the state at night. The Volunteer State sees about 30 tornadoes a year, which is concerning for some, especially seniors.

Although tornadoes can occur at any given time, making it tough for people to prepare within a limited time, most tornadoes in Tennessee occur during spring. So, if you decide to move to the state, you will have to remain up-to-date in case a tornado warning is issued near your location. In case a tornado is spotted, you must rush to a safe place immediately.

Hurricanes can also occur in Tennessee, but they usually aren’t full captivity ones. In fact, Tennesseans usually witness the impacts of a weakened hurricane in the form of a heavy storm, and although its effects aren’t that dangerous, they are highly likely to impact the weather for a while, so you must be mindful of this.

Intense Summers

As mentioned earlier, one of the best perks of living in Tennessee is getting to witness the four seasons and mild winters. However, a huge downside to this is the extremely hot summers, which is another factor to be mindful of.

July and August are the worst months that witness soaring temperatures over 90°F (32°C). The weather during this time can be very hot and sticky rather than warm and comforting. Heat strokes are also pretty common due to the extreme temperature, which is why it’s important to stay hydrated.

Summer in Knoxville can be particularly brutal as the temperatures reach almost 102°F (39°C), and although anyone can suffer from heatstroke, seniors and young children are the most susceptible to them.

High Crime Rates

Tennessee witnesses extremely high crime rates in its major cities, which is a concerning factor for those planning to move there. In fact, Tennessee is known to be the third most dangerous state to live in, as its violent crime rates soar higher than the national average. East Tennessee experiences particularly higher rates of crime than other parts, with known gangs having a prominent presence over there.  

According to a study,30% of the violent crimes in Tennessee took place in Memphis and based on a 2020 study, in terms of crime, Tennesseans are extremely scared of falling victim to property crimes due to their high rate in the state. Church Hill was listed as one of the safest cities in Tennessee, with the lowest amount of violent and property crimes taking place here.

So, if you do decide to move to Tennessee, here are some cities you should consider moving to:

  • Church Hill
  • Signal Mountain
  • Mount Carmel
  • Oakland
  • Whiteville
  • Camden
  • Pleasant View
  • Brentwood
  • Loudon
  • Atoka

Cities in Tennessee with high crime rates that you should consider avoiding include:

  • Crossville
  • Dyersburg
  • Athens
  • Memphis
  • Newport
  • Chattanooga
  • Sweetwater

Traffic Congestion

As home to hundreds of thousands of residents, Tennessee witnesses a great deal of traffic throughout its major cities. If you plan on traveling around everywhere by car, you should be well aware of the state’s unfavorable traffic situation. One of the main cities of Tennessee, Nashville ranks 24th in terms of the most congested roads in the US.

Tennessee also has some of the most dangerous roads, with 1-29 or the “Tail of the Dragon” being the scariest one. Sure, you’ll find many roads that offer scenic routes, but they can be quite threatening to your safety.

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