Retiring in South Carolina
South Carolina, located on the East Coast of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a warm and welcoming environment with access to outdoor activities, historic landmarks, and a moderate climate. With its stunning beaches, mountains, and charming towns, South Carolina offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, South Carolina had a population of approximately 5.2 million people, with over 16% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a large retirement population
What age can you retire in South Carolina?
Like many states, South Carolina has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in South Carolina:
Social Security benefits: The earliest age at which you can begin receiving Social Security benefits is 62, but if you delay taking benefits, your monthly payments will increase. Full retirement age (FRA) is between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year. Delaying benefits until after FRA can result in even higher monthly payments.
Medicare eligibility: Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of retirement status. However, if you choose to retire before age 65, you will need to find alternative healthcare coverage until you become eligible for Medicare.
Age discrimination: It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on age.
Retirement savings: Regardless of retirement age, it is important for individuals to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Many financial experts recommend saving at least 15% of your income for retirement.
However, like any location, there are both pros and cons to retiring in the state.
Why do people retire to South Carolina?
Warm and welcoming environment: South Carolina is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with charming small towns and hospitable locals. Retirees can enjoy living in a warm and welcoming environment that offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and socialization.
Moderate climate: South Carolina's climate varies depending on the region, but many areas have a moderate climate with mild winters and warm summers. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who want to avoid harsh weather conditions.
Outdoor activities: South Carolina is home to numerous state parks, forests, and beaches, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and boating.
Historic landmarks: South Carolina is rich in history and culture, with numerous historic landmarks, museums, and art galleries. The state hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Spoleto Festival USA, the Beaufort International Film Festival, and the South Carolina State Fair.
What puts people off retiring to South Carolina?
Cost of living: South Carolina's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, but it can vary depending on the area. Housing and healthcare costs, in particular, can be higher in certain regions.
Natural disasters: South Carolina is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas.
Limited public transportation: South Carolina's public transportation system is not as developed as in other states, which could be a concern for retirees who do not drive or prefer not to drive.
Best places to retire in South Carolina
If South Carolina is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Charleston - Known for its historic charm, stunning architecture, and picturesque waterfront, Charleston is a top choice for retirees. The city offers a vibrant cultural scene, with world-class restaurants, museums, and galleries, as well as easy access to beautiful beaches.
Hilton Head Island - If you're looking for a peaceful retirement by the beach, Hilton Head Island is a great option. With miles of pristine coastline, abundant wildlife, and excellent golf courses, it's no wonder this island paradise is a popular retirement destination.
Greenville - For retirees who prefer the urban lifestyle, Greenville offers a bustling downtown area with trendy shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. The city also boasts numerous parks and green spaces, making it easy to enjoy the outdoors.
Myrtle Beach - Myrtle Beach is another great choice for retirees seeking an active lifestyle. The city is home to numerous golf courses, shopping centers, and entertainment venues, as well as miles of beautiful beaches.
Beaufort - Beaufort is a charming coastal town known for its antebellum architecture, scenic waterways, and rich history. Retirees can enjoy strolling through the town's quaint streets, visiting historic landmarks, and exploring the nearby beaches and islands.
In conclusion, South Carolina offers a variety of retirement options, from coastal towns to charming inland cities. Retirees can enjoy a mild climate and plenty of recreational activities, with lower living costs compared to California. However, it's still important to seek expert financial advice to fully evaluate the costs associated with retiring in South Carolina, including property taxes, healthcare, insurance, and other living expenses, to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.