Retirement in Vermont vs. New Hampshire

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To have a great retirement, there are several things you need to plan and prepare. One of the most important is getting an ideal place to settle in and enjoy your senior years in peace. Vermont and New Hampshire are some of the great locations you can consider living in.

Both Vermont and New Hampshire are suitable for retirement. However, retirement taxes in Vermont are higher than in New Hampshire, and people in Vermont are considered more welcoming than those from NH. The similarities include the weather and good security.

Read on to learn more about retirement in Vermont versus New Hampshire. According to your individual preferences, this will help you decide on which state to move to for your retirement.

Vermont vs. New Hampshire

Below is a table that gives a summary of the comparison between Vermont and New Hampshire:

Category Vermont New Hampshire
Retirement taxes
  • Social security benefits
  • Income on some retirement accounts
  • Property taxes


  • Long, snowy, cold winters
  • Warm summers
  • Long snowy, cold winters
  • Warm summers
  • Friendly and welcoming people
  • Quiet
  • Always willing to help
  • Very liberal
  • Very open-minded to social views
  • Outdoorsy
  • Low property and violent crime rates
  • Low property and violent crime rates
Cost of living
  • Higher than the national average but lower than New Hampshire’s
  • Higher than the national average
  • Not much traffic
  • A bit of extra traffic during the summer
Places to visit
  • Several places to have fun
  • Several places to have fun

Below are more details about the comparison of the two states.

Consider the Retirement Taxes Of Both States

Before you decide where to settle between Vermont and New Hampshire, it’s good to understand the tax situations in both states clearly. 

If you’re not careful, taxes can eat into your retirement benefits and significantly alter the amount of money you have to live on. That’s why you need to consider a few factors and be sure that you can handle the tax expense comfortably.

Vermont’s Taxes

As a retiree, the state of Vermont expects you to pay retirement taxes. These taxes range between 3.35-8.75% and are deducted from social security benefits and your income from some retirement accounts.

Similarly, you will be required to pay taxes anytime you withdraw from a 401(k) account.

That means retirement benefits taxes are higher in Vermont, which puts off many retirees looking forward to retiring there. However, other good things about Vermont might encourage you to overlook the retirement taxes.

However, you won’t pay taxes on federal railroad retirement benefits

The reason behind this is that you’ve already paid into the system and your income was already taxed. After working for 30 years and you are 60 years or older, you qualify for benefits from the RRB. 

Now, if you’ve worked for at least 5 years within the railroad industry, you can qualify for reduced disability payments. However, if you need a full disability, you need to work for at least 10 years. 

Disability payments are not taxed after 10 years of service. 

New Hampshire’s Taxes

On the other hand, New Hampshire does not tax retirees on social security benefits or any other retirement income. Also, withdrawals from a retiree’s account are not taxed. Both private and public pension income are not taxed as well. These tax exemptions make New Hampshire a tax-friendly state for retirees.

Because the state does not charge sales tax, that means you pay for the prices you see on an item. On the downside, New Hampshire’s property taxes are very high compared to other states. That means you will have to pay more when buying a retirement home.

However, property taxes can be reduced, thanks to the elderly tax exemption. 

But you can only benefit from the exemption if you are 65 years old or older and have been living in NH for more than three years. Other qualifications include having an income level of below $36,800 as a single person and $50,000 as a couple.

The Weather Is Similar

Different places have different weather conditions. However, some areas may not have significant differences. Vermont and New Hampshire are perfect examples of such places.

Vermont Extremes

In Vermont, the winters are very snowy and cold, while summers are warm. Temperatures vary between 12°F and 81°F (-11°C and 27°C) over the year. It’s usually warm between May and September, with the highest temperatures averaging above 70°F (21°C).

The cold season starts from December to March, with the highest temperatures averaging at 38°F (3°C). January marks the coldest month, while July is the hottest.

If you are looking forward to escaping from the heat, Vermont may be the ideal retirement state for you. However, if heaps of snow and long winters are not your thing, you may not enjoy your stay there.

New Hampshire Extremes

In New Hampshire, winters are very snowy and cold, just like in Vermont. In January, the coldest month, the temperatures can go as low as -4 °F (-20°C), or lower, depending on the year. Snowstorms are also common during winter. 

Snow hits very early here, sometimes as early as October. New Hampshire white mountains also accumulate a lot of snow, which adds to a lengthy snowy and chilly winter.

During late spring to fall, there may be tornadoes and hurricanes. Summers are usually warm and humid, ranging between 69.8°F and 84.2 °F (21°C and 29°C), or higher, depending on the year. 

It is typically warm between June and August, with the hottest month being July.

Like Vermont, New Hampshire is ideal for people who don’t like too much heat and are comfortable with the cold winters.

Welcoming Or Independent Culture

Knowing the culture of a place helps you understand what to expect when you get there. You don’t want to be too shocked when you go somewhere new and find a different way of life for the residents from what you expected.

It also helps you develop coping mechanisms and fit in in the new location. Nevertheless, you may still have to make some adjustments if it’s not a place you’ve ever lived before.

Vermont’s Welcoming Culture

Let’s begin with the culture in Vermont. 

People from this state are widely known to be friendly and welcoming, even to newcomers. They are also quiet and ready to offer a helping hand. They are also respectful and love working together. Many families have lived in the state for decades, forming deep family values that they pass on to strangers.

Vermont is also a peaceful place for retirees who want a quiet environment to live. Not many urban hassles happen there. Over-commercialization is very limited in this state.

When you walk around, you will notice small, locally-owned stores where you can buy stuff. Don’t expect large malls or big outlets, as there are very few here. There are also no billboards, due to the fact that the authorities passed the law to keep them away to maintain the natural landscape of the area.

The most common specialty foods available here are made from locally grown ingredients. You will find some of the best ice cream and cheese made locally. You can also enjoy some of the finest Maple syrup you have ever tasted. 

And did you know that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was founded in Vermont?

New Hampshire’s Independent Culture

People from New Hampshire are among the most independent in America. Its state motto, “live free or die,” tells it all. Although they will not be friendly instantly, they are good at tolerating different creeds.

They believe that people are allowed to live the kind of life they want. So, if you come from another place or don’t believe in what they believe in, they will still understand and live with you harmoniously.

It is a very liberal state, and people there are very open-minded about social views. 

Most people in NH are also outdoorsy. You’ll find several engaging in camping, fishing, backpacking, and other outdoor activities. Additionally, there is very little ethnic diversity in New Hampshire. For that reason, most of the foods here are American. 

You will get some good apples, fresh seafood, and Maple syrup.

There is very little nightlife here. But that may not be a problem if, as a retiree, you prefer spending more time relaxing indoors rather than partying all night.

Security Concerns

Security is usually a top concern for many people looking for a place to settle after retirement. 

You want to be assured that you are going somewhere where you can walk or drive comfortably without the fear that somebody with ill intentions might attack or steal from you. Additionally, you also want the assurance that your property is safe.

Vermont’s Safety Standards

According to SafeWise, Vermont is considered to be one of the safest states in the US. This green mountain state boasts of having the fourth-lowest crime rate and eighth-lowest property crimes in the US.

A more significant percentage of the people living here don’t worry about their overall safety, as 78% of the residents feel safe while here, which is 42% more than the national average.

In 2018, Vermont was ranked as the safest state in the US by wallet hub. CNBC gave it the title of the best state to reside in the US. Some cities are also safer than others, which include:

  • Castleton 
  • Hinesburg 
  • Stowe 
  • Barre Town 
  • Shelburne

New Hampshire’s Safety Standards

According to other surveys, New Hampshire ranks among the top safest states in America. It has the third-lowest violent crime rate and lowest property crime rate in the US, which allows you to spend your retirement days having peace of mind.

Crime rates, including violence and property crimes, are meager here. Some of the safest towns in New Hampshire include: 

  • Durham
  • Merrimack
  • Raymond
  • Milford

Cost of Living

Another factor to consider when moving to a new state for retirement is the cost of living there and seeing whether you can afford it. This is especially important if your post-retirement budget is a bit tight.

The cost of housing in Vermont is 11.5% lower than the national average. However, the monthly utility bill is 17% higher than the national average. 

Vermont is not the cheapest state to retire in, neither is it the most expensive.

The cost of living in New Hampshire is a bit higher than the national average. These costs include home value, which is 19% more than most of the other states. It is not a cheap state to live in, but it’s not too expensive either since the cost of living is similar to metropolitan areas near it, such as Boston, Albany, and Massachusetts.

According to USA Today, a comfortable retirement will cost you around $1,180,933 in NH in total. Here, you will incur 6.5% more on goods and services than other states. As a result of this, the average expenditure per annum of a retiree is approximately $3,300 more than in other states.

Light Traffic In Both States

Getting to know the traffic situation is very important, as it helps you know whether you will be taking hours to travel from one destination to another. If you hate getting trapped in traffic, knowing the situation on the ground can also help you avoid being on the road during rush hours when there is a snarl-up.

There isn’t much traffic in Vermont. 

Even in Burlington, the capital city, the traffic is bearable even during the rush hours. Traffic doesn’t build up easily, and when it does, it is usually a result of an emergency, like an accident.

During winter, there is not much traffic on New Hampshire’s Roads. 

You can get to places quickly without struggling. However, things are very different during the summer. Many tourists visit New Hampshire during this period, leading to an increase in traffic, especially during the weekends.

Places To Visit and Things To Do

Even after retirement, you still need to do something for fun or simply to keep yourself busy. You can connect with other people and form meaningful relationships. Besides, retirement can get very lonely after being used to a busy life of working every day, and now you have almost nothing to do. 

Here are some fun things you can engage in when living in either Vermont or New Hampshire.

Connect With Other Retirees

For retirees in Vermont, Champlain Senior Center is one of the best places to meet and connect with other seniors. 

The senior center provides several programs such as nutritional, health, educational, and social programs for people above 50. Here, you can take part in different programs while learning new skills.

On the other hand, NH also has similar centers where seniors can meet up, learn new skills, and access different entertainment programs. One great example is Hudson Senior Center.

Learn Something New

There are so many places you can visit and learn something new whether you decide to retire in Vermont or New Hampshire. 

Vermont is renowned for its many covered bridges, which date from the 1800s. 

You can get a covered bridge map with over 100 bridges where you can go and watch these fascinating sceneries and learn more about their history. The residents of Vermont are friendly and welcoming and won’t hesitate to show you around when you are a visitor.

You can also visit the Stowe area of Vermont for a self-guided beverages tasting tour. You can also go for a guided tour for more fun. During this guided tour, you will visit breweries, a distillery, a cider house, and a winery.

Do you love learning about animals, especially sea animals? 

Well, you may learn more about them in the Seacoast Science Center located in Odierno Point State Park in New Hampshire. While there, you can also enjoy the wooden walkways, water views, and beach areas. 

You will also find several retirees here working as volunteers.

Walk or Cycle on the Rail Trails

You can transverse the paved trails of Vermont comfortably, together with other people, both young and old. Some of the best paths you can ride, cycle or even walk include Burlington’s flat waterfront path to the rugged rail trails in Lamoille valley.

You can also do the same while in New Hampshire. 

Riding on the rail trails such as Conway Scenic Railroad is always a fun activity. You can go with a friend or adventure alone, but you will find and connect with other people when you get there and have fun together. If you have never ridden the rails, maybe because you were always busy, this might be the most appropriate time.

Enjoy Some Music

If you love music, you can visit different places while in Vermont. One of the best places to go and enjoy live music is Stratton Mountain and Stratton Village Music Resort. Here, you can enjoy some good music in both indoor and outdoor setups. 

New Hampshire also has beautiful places for music lovers. 

One of the most popular is Prescott Park, located in Portsmouth. This park hosts an arts festival with a live musical theatre. While in the park, you can also enjoy the beautiful view of the Piscataqua River.

Visit Resorts

Vermont is dotted with various resorts such as Twin Farms and Edson Hill

New Hampshire also has several of them, some located in the seacoast and others in the mountains. These resorts offer a lot of activities for you to have fun, both outdoors and indoors. They also have wide entertainment assortments you can engage in.

Final Verdict

As seen above, Vermont and New Hampshire are both good places where retirees can live comfortably. However, each of these states has pros and cons of living there. New Hampshire is great if you don’t want to incur more on retirement tax, while Vermont is warm and welcoming due to its friendly people. 

Nonetheless, be ready to deal with long winters, whether you choose to be in Vermont or New Hampshire. 

All in all, to decide on where to retire, consider your retirement budget. Likewise, consider your personal preference in terms of weather, culture, and other factors. 

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