Benefits of Retiring In Vermont (Pros & Cons)
April 13, 2022General Retirement
Are you thinking about retiring in Vermont? There are pretty epic benefits of retiring in Vermont. But some downsides can shake your decision heavily.
You must want to retire at a place where you can enjoy the life you always pictured. After all the hard work you have put in throughout your work life, you deserve it. Vermont offers you just that if you want a rest from all the hustle and bustle of city life. Despite that, you need to consider whether a place like Vermont satisfies your needs.
The many pros of retiring in Vermont include competitive housing prices, low population density, transportation facilities, beautiful scenery, and more. However, cons like brutal winters, high cost of living, and lack of cultural diversity are noteworthy downsides that you need to keep in mind.
Choosing a state to retire in is highly subjective. Vermont's benefits include amazing landscapes and a simple lifestyle that offer a calm that many senior citizens want for their retired life. However, you might be in love with the skyscrapers and bustling nightlife. On the other hand, the low housing cost can be a deciding factor in favor of Vermont. Nevertheless, every place has its upsides and downsides.
Having lived in Vermont all our lives, and after weighing all the factors, we were able to list some pros and cons that might help you decide whether you want to move here.
Table of contents
Pros of Retiring in Vermont
Less Commercialization and Lots of Space
Vermont is a state that has not shied away from modernization and new developments, but it supports local businesses rather than welcoming huge foreign investments.
This is why you can find strip malls, a variety of restaurants, and big stores but still have plenty of space to find an escape from the rush and noise of the more populated areas.
The state supporting local business is also why it has maintained a low population density. Vermont is home to only 625,000 residents. This is less than some cities in the US. Burlington is the largest city in Vermont, but it has a population of no more than 42,500.
So, if you are looking to leave the city's fast-paced life to spend your retirement at a peaceful place, Vermont is perfect for that.
Enjoy a Coastal Community
If you are looking to settle down by the coast, the landlocked nature of Vermont can be a concern for you. However, you can still enjoy living by the water as Burlington shares a boundary with Lake Champlain.
The lake is developed in such a way that you will feel like you're living on the beach. The place has beach sand, receives plenty of sunshine, and you can enjoy several activities hosted by the locals.
Lake Champlain shares 212 miles with the Vermont Coast. So it's not an overcrowded place teeming with homes. Besides that, Vermont has several lakes and ponds in other towns and cities, and you can settle there too.
A Healthy, Politically-Engaged Community
Vermont has a healthy, politically-engaged community, and the residency of Bernie Sanders within the state is a big reason for this widespread interest. Bernie Sanders is a state senator and political activist.
He has been actively involved in politics for over 20 years and is a widely popular figure. Therefore, such an important political personality in the state attracts a lot of media attention.
It was only a matter of time before this influence was seen on the state's residents. The people of Vermont are vocal about their political views and are not afraid to raise their voices for their rights. Conversations on such matters are common.
The good thing is, you won't be judged if you don't prefer to take part in the matter. Even if you have a conflicting point of view to the majority, the people accept that and let you have your freedom of speech.
Simplicity Is in the Air
People in Vermont like to live a simple life, which is unsurprising since it is one of the states in the New England Region. Their social lives revolve around simplicity. The highway doesn't have billboards but stacked farms alongside to preserve the raw charm of the state.
The state recently passed a law banning such advertisements so that the simplicity of the state remains intact.
As you explore the state, you will notice more general and box stores for shopping rather than overshadowing megastores and malls. As mentioned earlier, the state prefers local and independent businesses instead of giving their land to increase the influence of megastores and multinational chains.
However, you can still find big malls and stores in certain areas.
Competitive Housing Prices
Having cheap housing options is helpful when settling down after retirement. Ski towns such as Sugarbush and Stowe are costly because most landowners prefer renting the place for tourism, which is highly beneficial for them.
However, several towns in Vermont offer housing for as little as $145,000. This is slightly over the average US housing cost but still affordable.
Besides that, towns like Rutland and Montpelier are some of Vermont's best towns to live in. They have a median population of 15,000 residents. You can enjoy the calm and quiet with several activities.
Trailing, ski lifts, golf courses, and forest camping are major activities near most towns. However, they have good living standards with all basic facilities to sustain life.
Top-Notch Transportation Infrastructure
Fortunately, owning a car is not necessary if you retire in Vermont. The state has an excellent transportation infrastructure for inner-city, intercity, and inter-state travel.
You can almost spontaneously travel to New York, only a train away from Rutland. Generally, even the big cities are smaller than other states' standards.
You can easily reach any destination with a 10-20 minute drive as the traffic is pretty low for the most part. Burlington has some traffic congestion issues, but it will seem normal if you come from a big city.
If you don't have a car or a public transport mode is not available, a bicycle will do. The small commute distances are easy to navigate if you love to walk, and the weather helps you.
A Community that Promotes Authenticity
As mentioned earlier, the state prefers to support local businesses. This stigma applies to deeper extents.
The residents are fond of authentic products and will look down on you if you prefer something artificial or copied, even if it is cheaper.
For example, maple syrup is the only product of its kind acceptable in the community. Other alternatives such as sugar or artificial sweeteners are not popular as they steal authenticity.
You might take a while to adjust to these standards, but it is physically and mentally healthier in the long run.
A Helpful and Respectful Community
You will see that people here are accommodating and maintain a healthy relationship. Even if you struggle to settle or be open to new people, you will get the respect a community member deserves.
Besides that, people always find a way to work with one another despite their differences. This factor remains one of the most welcoming ones for new residents and is rarely seen in other states.
Famously known as the Green Mountain State, Vermont has one of the most beautiful landscapes.
No matter the season, there are abundant landscapes to explore, including mountains, hills, valleys, rivers, lakes, forests, and more.
This results in Vermont's tourism industry being valued at $3 Billion. Agriculture is also a big industry in Vermont that adds to the state's beauty with a bit of authentic charm.
You will instantly fall in love with the fall season here when the vast landscapes are covered in blankets of orange and red leaves.
If you like rain, Vermont has a lot to offer. Besides that, the winter and spring also come with plenty of snow. There are dozens of beautiful colors to see when the snow melts and the flowers bloom.
A Healthy State
The exposure to nature and consumption of authentic products results in Vermont being one of the healthiest states in the US.
According to the United Health Foundation, Vermont has been ranked the healthiest state for four years in a row. Soak up the sun, enjoy authentic foods, enjoy nature and a range of recreational activities, all while improving your health.
However, now we come to the cons that can tip the scale the other way.
Cons of Retiring in Vermont
High Cost of Living
Vermont is an extraordinary place to live, but only if you have a loaded bank account. The average cost of living in Vermont is 11% higher than the rest of the US.
While grocery and health costs rank at 100 for the US, Vermont has a 106.7 and 107.7 ranking, respectively. The income tax can go up to 9%. While that might not matter to you, the tax on social security is considerable for retirees.
Winters are Brutal
If you are a winter lover and excited about the season in Vermont, you might want to think again. Winners in Vermont are pretty extreme.
Even the winter lovers find it difficult to cope with the non-stop snowfall and blizzards. The temperature remains below freezing throughout January and February.
The condition gets bad enough that people have to shove ice blocks off their roofs to lower some temperatures. Besides that, the extreme conditions result in adverse road conditions.
Potholes occur at frequent distances, and the melting snow makes it worse. Although spring is a beautiful season in Vermont, it is hard to see past the brutal winters.
A Mud Season That Needs Proactiveness
As we mentioned earlier, winters are brutal in Vermont. All that snow results in a disaster when it starts melting. Don't expect any less work after all the snow shoveling in the winter because immediately after, the mud season arrives, and you will see plenty of mud across the state as much of the landscape receives plenty of snow.
The melting snow combines with sand to form mud, and with every footstep walking across your door, there is a lot of cleaning you can look forward to. That's why most homes in Vermont have separate "mud rooms." Residents are fond of the mud season.
They have created designated rooms in their homes where they and the guests can wear their mud-covered shoes to keep them out of the main housing area.
Renting Is Costly
While housing is affordable in Vermont, renting is more expensive than the average US rent scale. The average monthly rent is 30% higher than most of the US.
This is because Vermont has some fine educational institutes, and students from all over the country come here for schooling.
Besides that, tourists also rent homes near the ski towns. Rent in big cities like Burlington is no less than $1,200. However, you can find a decent but small apartment in Montpelier for around $600.
Lack of Cultural Diversity
Apart from a couple of bars, you won't find many nightlife activities in Vermont. The state also lacks food ethnicity. Most restaurants have American dishes filling their menus, but you can find a bit of Hawaiian and Italian food.
However, that's the extent of it. If you want more diversity in your eateries, you might have to look elsewhere.
The beautiful landscapes and affordable housing make Vermont a great place to retire. You can enjoy a healthy political debate, but there is plenty of openness and nature to bag yourself some alone time if things get overwhelming.
On the other hand, the extreme winters can be a hectic period for you, and the mud season can add to your stress.
The taxable social security is a big factor that stops most retirees from settling down in Vermont. In the end, Vermont is a great place to retire if you can work your way around the downsides.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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We love planning for retirement. It's somewhat of a hobby, and we want to share what we've learned with you. Over the years we've found the best ways to live, how to travel, take on new hobbies and give back. Happiness in retirement is the main goal, and having the right information allows us (and you) to achieve that.