Retiring in Virginia

1 min 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 Virginia.

Virginia, located on the East Coast of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a peaceful and scenic environment with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a mild climate. With its beautiful coastline, mountains, and historic sites, Virginia offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Virginia had a population of approximately 8.5 million people, with over 15% 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 Virginia?

Like many states, Virginia 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 Virginia: 

  • 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 Virginia?

  • Low taxes: Virginia has relatively low taxes compared to many other states. Social Security benefits and retirement income are exempt from state income taxes, and property taxes are generally lower than in neighboring states.  

  • Mild climate: Virginia's climate is moderate, with four distinct seasons. Summers are generally warm and humid, while winters are relatively mild, with occasional snowfalls. 

  • Outdoor activities: Virginia is home to numerous parks, forests, and beaches, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. 

  • Historic sites: Virginia is rich in history, with many important sites related to the American Revolution and the Civil War, including Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, and Mount Vernon. 

  • Cultural scene: Virginia has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. The state hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Virginia Wine Festival, the Virginia Film Festival, and the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival. 

What puts people off retiring to Virginia?

  • Cost of living: Virginia's cost of living is generally higher than the national average, which could be a concern for retirees on a fixed income. Housing and healthcare costs, in particular, are higher than in many other states. 

  • Traffic: Virginia is known for its heavy traffic, particularly in and around the major cities of Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk. 

  • Natural disasters: Virginia is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes, which could be a concern for retirees living in coastal areas. 

Best places to retire in Virginia

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

  1. Williamsburg: This historic town is known for its colonial architecture and rich history. Retirees can enjoy living in a small town with a bustling tourism industry, which offers plenty of restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. The town is also home to the College of William and Mary, which provides lifelong learning opportunities for retirees. 

  2. Virginia Beach: This coastal city is a popular retirement destination for those who enjoy the beach lifestyle. Virginia Beach has miles of sandy beaches, a lively boardwalk, and plenty of shops and restaurants. The city also has a large retirement community, with many senior-friendly activities and services. 

  3. Roanoke: Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke is a great choice for retirees who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and skiing. The city has a low cost of living, with affordable housing options and a range of senior services and programs. 

  4. Charlottesville: Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is a small city with a rich cultural scene. The city has a thriving arts community, as well as plenty of restaurants, shops, and historical sites. Charlottesville is also surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, which offer many outdoor recreational opportunities. 

  5. Richmond: Virginia's capital city, Richmond offers a mix of urban amenities and natural beauty. Retirees can enjoy exploring the city's many historical and cultural attractions, such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia State Capitol. The city also has many parks and green spaces, including the James River Park System, which offers hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities. 

In conclusion, Virginia offers a range of retirement options, from coastal cities to mountain towns. Retirees can enjoy a rich cultural scene but are faced with a higher cost of living. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Virginia, 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.