The Garden State ranks high as a great place to live for families. It takes position seven out of all fifty states to have the best quality of life metrics, ranks first in safety, and fifteenth in health and education. Does that mean that New Jersey is the perfect place for retirement?
The pros of retiring in New Jersey include the pleasant weather, safety, excellent food, and recreation facilities. The state also has tax-friendly policies for low income earning retirees, but its overall tax burden and high costs of living can make the Garden Estate life unfriendly to most retirees.
After years of diligent saving and tons of hard work, you want to retire in a state that has great insurance, taxes, housing, and healthcare policies. New Jersey might not have all these attributes in the bag as a retirement spot, but it has a lot going for it, as you are about to find out below.
Why Should You Retire in New Jersey?
The tri-state area is among the top twenty best states to live in. New Jersey is the jewel in this region’s crown. New Jersey is a standout state for its great food, beautiful Jersey shore, and diverse culture. It has gorgeous scenery, unique people, and exciting sports culture.
When is the last time that you had a gas attendant fill up your tank in foul weather? If getting out of your car to pump your gas is not your cup of tea, then move to New Jersey.
No more oil-like odor on your office wear in the US’s second-wealthiest state. The Garden State might be one of the smallest states, but its economic health metrics are off the charts good.
You should have a peaceful time meeting your daily expenses in your retirement region of choice to ensure an excellent quality of life. For some people, this might not be as easy to do in New Jersey as some other retiree friendly states. But below are some advantages and disadvantages of retiring in New Jersey.
Pros of Retiring in New Jersey
From charming seacoasts to vast Pine Barrens, New Jersey has it all. Its sea costs villages and wealthy suburbs enjoy four distinct seasons all year. The Garden State has a humid subtropical climate that brings cold winters with episodic snowstorms and hot summers.
Its moderately cold spring season lasts from March to May. It is the perfect time to visit the state’s bustling street festivals and blooming botanical gardens. The Deep Cut Gardens, for instance, have beautiful rose bushes adorning its manicured paths, while the New Jersey Botanical Garden is a sight for sore eyes.
Spring in the Garden State is the perfect time to fly colorful kites along the beautiful beaches, go for a bike ride along the Sandy Hook or Pines Barrens River Ramble trails. How about a picnic with an outdoor view at any of the state’s most extravagant picnic spots?
The summer season turns the Garden State into a summer paradise between June and August. The weather is comfortable with high temperatures, making it the state’s busiest tourism season. It is the perfect time to experience the state’s rich maritime history by visiting its famous lighthouses or simply taking relaxing strolls along its boardwalks.
You can also go wine tasting or go fishing. Fall transforms New Jersey’s summer green outdoors into luscious orange, copper, and deep crimson hues just before the cold wintry weather of December to February strikes.
Some retirees look for all-year-round warm weather and settle for locations that have warm cold seasons and extremely hot weather in other months. New Jersey might have three months of cold weather, but it offers nine months of moderately warm weather. If this sounds like the perfect weather regime for you, then the Garden State is the place to be.
Low Crime Rates
As per FBI reports, the Garden State has some of the lowest violent and property crime rates in the US. It is one of the safest states a retiree can move to, even though it shares a northern border with high crime rate states. Live in New Jersey’s towns and cities, and you will have fewer concerns about your safety.
This state is home to a sizable number of safe neighborhoods. Its violent crime rate has been dropping year after year, and they are below the national average. New Jersey has a rural setup with a mix of medium and small-sized towns and cities.
The township of Middletown and other regions in the Morris and Bergen counties have low frequencies of crime of 13.64 per 1000 people. The region’s law enforcement officer per 1000 residents is an average of 2.59. According to Alarms, the Township of Bergen County had not a single case of violent crime in 2018.
In Tenafly, an affluent but small community in Bergen County, the rate of violent crime is as low as 0.1 per 1000. Middletown is not only a great place to live but is one of the safest as well because of its community-oriented approach to law-keeping. The township has a high number of successful community programs and an anti-crime unit that responds to illegal activity faster.
For retirees, living in such a secure place would be great because they do not need to worry about falling prey to merciless thugs and criminals.
Better Access to Art and Culture Facilities
The hit series Game of Thrones has the Garden State to thank for its writer George R. R. Martin. The brilliant writer traces his roots back to Bayonne in New Jersey. The flashing of Staten Island and the boats on the state’s waterway inspired the mysterious lands in his fantasy books.
Besides the state’s contribution to the hit HBO series and its ties with The Sopranos, New Jersey is a hotbed of culture. Its prolific museums have visitors from all parts of the globe who come to take part in their enriching programs. The Morris and Newark museums have artwork from vast nationalities that include oils, sculptures, watercolors, and photography.
The Rutgers and Princeton art museums are also well-stocked. The State Museum and Planetarium at Trenton have diverse offerings to suit all fine art, ethnology, natural history, archaeology, and fine art needs.
So why are art and culture a big deal for retirees? Well, with all the newly found free time, you can easily occupy your time enjoying the beautiful art creations.
Retirement Tax Friendliness
One predominant factor that you need to consider when moving to a new state for retirement is your location’s tax policies. How much of your income is subject to tax in your new home? State, property, local income, and sales taxes will significantly affect your standard of living.
As an illustration, the Garden State has some of the highest property taxes in the US. Fortunately, this state does not tax social security at the state level. Its income taxes are also low for pensions and retirement accounts lower than $65000.
For this reason, it is possible to pay fewer taxes on retirement benefits by moving to New Jersey. While it is true that New Jersey’s an expensive retirement destination, changes in tax laws are easing the tax burden on modest earners.
Ease of Access
If you want to balance your retirement social scene with a little of the Big Apple’s rush, then New Jersey is your perfect retirement spot. You can also easily access the City of Brotherly Love from the Garden State and have the best of both worlds.
New Jersey is also culturally diverse. In fact, its disparate walks of life make it the second most diverse region in the US.
Access to World-Class Healthcare
New Jersey ranks among the top ten states with the best healthcare in the US. Retiring to New Jersey will give you the benefit of access to fantastic world-class health care.
As an illustration, New Jersey’s Morristown Medical Center ranks as a top adult procedure and specialty hospital nationally. In its heels are the Saint Barnabas Medical Center and the Hackensack University Medical Center.
The Garden Estate has some of the lushest farms, pinelands, and wetlands in the region. Besides its natural beauty, winding biking trails, and miles of riverfront scenes, New Jersey is also full of farmer’s markets.
You will find an abundance of roadside farm stands for green, healthy farm-fresh produce. The Garden State has over 145 community farmer’s markets that sell peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers.
For this reason, the Garden State is leaner if you compare it to the rest of the country. It is at the top of the ten healthiest states. A larger part of the US is struggling with obesity, but New Jersey has a low 26.9% of its adult population as obese.
More Study Opportunities
There are so many diverse ways to learn that retirees today can enjoy the benefits of student life all over again.
As a retiree, you can easily take up an online course to boost your knowledge. Going back to school will also keep you healthy, busy, and connected. Face-to-face modes of study or distance learning will fan the flames of your new interests and bring more meaning and purpose to your life.
Going back to college or university will enhance the structure of your lifestyle in retirement and help you meet new people. The cost of education for retirees is very friendly for retirees. In universities such as Rutgers, you can study tuition-free if you are a New Jersey resident, 62 years and above.
Cons of Retiring in New Jersey
Prime Property Taxes
Most people that love the Garden State often decry its high level of taxation. The state of New Jersey has a high overall tax burden compared to other states. Its progressive income rates range between 1.4% and 8.97%. The sales tax is close to 6.6%.
For this reason, New Jersey keeps losing an outrageous amount of its adjusted gross income as its residents move out for fewer taxation heavy states. Jersey loses more wealth to other states than it gains, negatively affecting its revenue base.
New Jersey’s heavy-handed taxation policy is so overwhelming that not only does the state lose its out-migrating wealth to other states, but it receives much less from its incoming residents. New Jersey might overtax its wealthy retiring residents, but it is lenient on retirees that earn low incomes. This state also does not tax Social Security income.
Property taxes in New Jersey can be of chief concern to retirees. They range at an average of $8300 for each household. Alabama, for instance, has a $532 median property tax. West Virginia’s quaint Mountain View cottages will only cost you lows of $605 for property taxes.
Since the property taxes in New Jersey are so high, the real estate market is also extremely expensive. This makes it very difficult for a retiree to buy or rent a home in the Garden State.
High Income, Inheritance, and Estate Taxes
Retirees in New Jersey have their fair share of income tax to pay on their first $15000. This figure is much lower than those retirees in states like New York have to pay. That said, this taxation level is still much higher than that of states like Texas, Pennsylvania, and Florida, where retirees pay zero income taxes on retirement earnings.
If you choose to retire in Florida, you will also be exempt from paying any estate tax. New Jersey is one of the few states that enforce an estate tax. Estate taxes are paid for a dead person’s estate while the person receiving the dead person’s wealth pays inheritance taxes.
In New Jersey, your wealth is subject to an inheritance and estate tax upon your demise. It is one of the six states with an inheritance tax and one of the two states in the US that have both taxes on the property.
High Costs of Living
New Jersey is not only one of the most taxed states in the country, but it also has a high standard of living. Life in the Garden State is so costly that New Jersey has the third-highest cost of living in the US. You will pay 14% more on the basics if you should choose to retire in New Jersey.
Some years back, the Garden State had the advantage of low gasoline prices. Unfortunately, the state had a 23% per gallon tax rise enacted for infrastructure development. Consequently, New Jersey residents now have to part with 50% more for their fuel.
If you are planning to retire in New Jersey, you will cough up more for goods and services in all categories. Your housing, groceries, and transport costs will increase. You will also pay close to 50% for your housing as per the national average.
With housing, tax, and the costs of everyday things going at such high prices, the standard of living in New Jersey is lower than that of other states. To further compound this issue, this state is also one of the worst run states in the US. Consequently, it has high unemployment rates and falling credit ratings.
If you decide to move to New Jersey and want to purchase your new home, you will need to pay a 1% tax on your estate purchases of $1 million and above. This can definitely be something that would discourage retirees from settling down in this state.
The Grandkids Factor
Since New Jersey is a bustling urban area with cozy suburbs, beaches, and country setups, your grandkids should have a fantastic time should they plan to visit. You can even take them to New York for a new hit show to go to the many museums in the state that focus on younger children.
Unfortunately, the high cost of living might make these visits untenable. Raising children here is as expensive as it is to start a business to own a home. For this reason, its most rising talent in New Jersey will leave and take offers for jobs in other states.
In the end, their parents will follow suit and move closer to their children so that they can spend more time with their grandkids.
Quality of life, affordability, and safety. These are some critical factors that you should consider when looking for a state to call home. The state of New Jersey might not be the most affordable state to live in, but it has other strong points that include:
- Excellent four seasons weather
- Low violent and property crime rates
- Access to culture and the arts
- Tax-friendly policies on low income earning retirees
- Ease of access to New York
- Good healthcare facilities
- Opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle
- Affordable study opportunities for retirees
Some disadvantages of retiring in New Jersey include:
- The state’s high property tax burden
- High estate, inheritance, and income taxes
- High costs of living
- A 1% mansion tax
- Fewer visits from the grandkids
- Wallet Hub: Best states to live in
- World Finance: Top 5 richest states in the US
- Visit NJ: New Jersey Botanical Garden at Ringwood State Park
- Visit NJ: Deep Cut Gardens
- Best Places To Live Now: The Pros and Cons of Living in New Jersey
- Safewise: New Jersey’s 50 Safest Cities of 2020
- Alarms: Safest Cities in New Jersey – 2020
- Smart Asset: New Jersey Retirement Tax Friendliness
- US News: Health Care Rankings
- Nj: I’m retiring. Should I move out of New Jersey?
- Nj: Fat nation: See how N.J. ranks for obesity
- Njbmagazine: Understanding the Significance of NJ’s Lost Income
- Nj: N.J. property taxes soared by $537M in 2015, report says
- 247wallst: The Best and Worst Run States in America: A Survey of All 50
- Nj: The High Cost of Jersey: Why we leave
- CNBC: America’s 10 most expensive states to live in in 2019