Retiring in Alaska
In this article, we run through the main things you need to consider if you want to retire to Alaska.
Alaska is a unique retirement destination for many Americans seeking a rugged and adventurous environment.
Alaska has a smaller retirement community, with just over 11 percent of its population over the age of 65.
Alaska is one of the few states that does not have a state income tax, which could be a significant financial benefit for retirees.
Juneau is often listed as one of the best places for retirees due to its mix of city amenities and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Alaska’s colder climate and long, dark winters could be a concern for some retirees.
Where are the best places to retire in Alaska?
If Alaska is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Juneau: Alaska's capital city, Juneau offers a mix of city amenities and outdoor recreation opportunities. Retirees can enjoy fishing, whale watching, and hiking in the nearby Tongass National Forest, as well as cultural attractions such as the Alaska State Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
Sitka: situated on the coast of the Inside Passage, Sitka offers a picturesque setting for retirement. The town's historic district includes Russian Orthodox churches and Tlingit totem poles, and retirees can enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, kayaking, and hiking.
Ketchikan: known as the "Salmon Capital of the World," Ketchikan offers excellent fishing opportunities, as well as cultural attractions such as the Tongass Historical Museum and the Totem Heritage Center. Retirees can also take a scenic flightseeing tour or go on a wildlife-watching excursion.
Homer: located on the Kenai Peninsula, Homer offers stunning views of Kachemak Bay and the surrounding mountains. Retirees can enjoy fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching, as well as cultural attractions such as the Pratt Museum and the Bunnell Street Arts Center.
Anchorage: Alaska's largest city, Anchorage offers a range of amenities and attractions, including shopping, dining, and cultural events. Retirees can also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing, as well as visits to nearby attractions such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Anchorage Museum.
Fairbanks: located in the interior of Alaska, Fairbanks offers a unique retirement experience with its long summer days and winter aurora borealis viewing. Retirees can enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and cross-country skiing, as well as cultural attractions such as the University of Alaska Museum of the North and the Pioneer Park historical theme park.
If you need help choosing the best place to live based on your budget, a financial advisor can help. Let Unbiased help you find an SEC-regulated financial advisor best suited to meet your needs. Start the process here.
Retiring in Alaska: pros and cons
There are many advantages and disadvantages to consider when thinking about retiring to Alaska; here are a few to get you started:
The pros of retiring to Alaska:
No state income tax: Alaska is one of the few states that does not have a state income tax, which could be a significant financial benefit for retirees. You could also check out the complete guide to taxes in Alaska here.
Natural beauty: Alaska is known for its stunning natural beauty, from its rugged coastline to its snow-covered peaks. Retirees can enjoy living in a unique and awe-inspiring environment that offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and skiing.
Wildlife: Alaska is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, and bald eagles. Retirees can enjoy watching and interacting with these animals in their natural habitats.
Sense of community: many Alaskan towns have a strong sense of community, with residents coming together to support each other in times of need. Retirees can enjoy being a part of a close-knit community that values personal relationships and a slower pace of life.
The cons of retiring to Alaska:
Cold climate: Alaska has a colder climate than many other states, with long, dark winters and short, mild summers. This could be a concern for retirees who prefer a warmer climate or have health conditions that are exacerbated by cold weather.
Remote location: Alaska is located far from the continental United States, which could make it more difficult for retirees to travel to other parts of the country to visit family or receive medical care.
Natural disasters: Alaska is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and avalanches, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas. Additionally, Alaska's remote location could make it more difficult for emergency responders to provide assistance in the event of a natural disaster.
What age can you retire in Alaska?
Like many states, Alaska 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 Alaska:
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 percent of your income for retirement. You could also check out the average retirement savings in the US here.
Is Alaska a good place to retire?
Alaska is a unique retirement destination for many Americans seeking a rugged and adventurous environment. Its stunning natural landscapes, outdoor activities, and colder climate offer a distinctive retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Alaska had a population of approximately 731,000 people, with over 11 percent of the population over the age of 65, making it one of the states with a smaller retirement population.
If you fancy enjoying the nature, culture, and outdoor recreation Alaska has to offer, it’s best to speak to a financial advisor before packing up and moving. An advisor can review your finances and weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Alaska, ensuring you’re all set for retirement up north. Find the right advisor for your needs today.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.