Retiring in South Dakota

2 mins readLast updated July 20, 2023by Kate Morgan

This article will take you through the main things you need to consider if you are retiring in South Dakota.

South Dakota, located in the Great Plains region of the United States, is becoming an increasingly popular retirement destination for many Americans. With its natural beauty, friendly communities, and low cost of living, South Dakota offers retirees a unique retirement experience that is attracting many every year.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, South Dakota had a population of approximately 900,000 people, with over 16% of the population being over the age of 65, making it a top state with a large retirement population.

What age can you retire in South Dakota?

Like many states, South Dakota 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 Dakota: 

  • 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 Dakota?

  • Low cost of living: South Dakota is known for its low cost of living, making it an ideal destination for retirees who want to stretch their retirement savings and live comfortably without breaking the bank. The state also has no state income tax and low property taxes. 

  • Outdoor activities: South Dakota is home to some of the most spectacular natural attractions in the country, including the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and the Black Hills. Retirees can take advantage of the state's abundant outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, camping, and golfing. 

  • Friendly communities: South Dakota is known for its friendly communities and welcoming residents. Retirees who move to the state will find a strong sense of community, with plenty of opportunities to get involved in local events and activities. 

  • Healthcare: South Dakota has a robust healthcare system, with several highly rated hospitals and medical centers located throughout the state. The state also has a number of senior care facilities, providing a range of options for retirees who need additional assistance. 

  • Climate: South Dakota has a continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. While the winters can be harsh, the state's sunny summers make up for it. The state's diverse landscape also means that different parts of the state experience different weather patterns, providing a range of options for retirees who are looking for a particular climate. 

What puts people off retiring to South Dakota?

  • Limited cultural scene: While South Dakota has a rich history and culture, its cultural scene may not be as diverse or vibrant as other states. 

  • Sparse population: South Dakota is a largely rural state, which may not be appealing to retirees who prefer the amenities and entertainment options of more urban areas. 

Best places to retire in South Dakota

If South Dakota is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in: 

  1. Sioux Falls: With a population of over 180,000 people, Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota and offers plenty of amenities for retirees, including shopping centers, restaurants, and cultural attractions. It also has a low cost of living, and its healthcare system is highly ranked. 

  2. Rapid City: Located in the Black Hills region, Rapid City is known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. It has a population of just over 75,000 people and offers a variety of cultural attractions, including museums and art galleries. 

  3. Spearfish: Situated in the northern part of the Black Hills, Spearfish is a small town with a population of just over 11,000 people. It offers a low cost of living, a mild climate, and plenty of outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, and skiing. 

  4. Brookings: Home to South Dakota State University, Brookings is a college town with a population of just over 24,000 people. It offers a low cost of living, a strong healthcare system, and a variety of cultural attractions, including theaters and museums. 

  5. Yankton: Located on the Missouri River, Yankton is a small town with a population of just over 14,000 people. It offers a low cost of living, a mild climate, and plenty of outdoor activities, including boating and fishing. 

In conclusion, South Dakota is an excellent choice for retirees looking for a low cost of living, abundant outdoor activities, and friendly communities. With its natural beauty, excellent healthcare, and range of retirement options, South Dakota has something to offer everyone. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in South Dakota, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement. 

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.