Retiring in Georgia
This article will take you through the main things you need to consider if you are retiring in Georgia.
Georgia, located in the southeastern region of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a warm climate, affordable living, and a laid-back lifestyle. With its picturesque coastline, scenic mountains, and charming towns, Georgia offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Georgia had a population of approximately 10.7 million people, with over 12% 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 Georgia?
Like many states, Georgia 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 Georgia:
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 Georgia?
Affordable living: Georgia's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, which makes it an attractive destination for retirees on a fixed income. Housing, healthcare, and other daily expenses are more affordable in Georgia than in many other states.
Warm climate: Georgia has a warm and mild climate, particularly in the southern part of the state, which is attractive to retirees who want to avoid harsh winter conditions.
Outdoor activities: Georgia is home to numerous state parks, forests, and beaches, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and boating.
Southern charm: Georgia is known for its southern hospitality and charm, with many quaint towns and historic sites to explore. Retirees can enjoy a slower pace of life and a sense of community in Georgia.
What puts people off retiring to Georgia?
Natural disasters: Georgia is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas.
Healthcare access: While healthcare costs may be lower in Georgia, access to healthcare in rural areas of the state may be limited.
Traffic: Some parts of Georgia, particularly around the Atlanta area, can experience heavy traffic congestion, which could be a concern for retirees who prefer a quieter lifestyle.
Best places to retire in Georgia
If Georgia is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Athens: This vibrant college town has a low cost of living, mild climate, and excellent healthcare facilities. There are plenty of opportunities for cultural events, outdoor activities, and a variety of dining options.
Savannah: This charming coastal city is known for its historic architecture, beautiful parks, and waterfront views. The mild climate, low cost of living, and thriving arts scene make it a popular destination for retirees.
Gainesville: This small city in northeast Georgia is home to several top-rated medical facilities and has a low cost of living. There are plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and boating on nearby Lake Lanier.
Augusta: Located on the banks of the Savannah River, Augusta has a mild climate, low cost of living, and excellent healthcare facilities. There are several golf courses and parks, and the city is known for its annual Masters golf tournament.
St. Marys: This charming coastal town is located near the Georgia-Florida border and offers a laid-back lifestyle with access to beautiful beaches, boating, and fishing. The cost of living is lower than many other coastal areas, and there are several healthcare facilities in the area.
Roswell: Located just north of Atlanta, Roswell has a historic downtown area with plenty of shops and restaurants. The cost of living is lower than many other areas in the Atlanta metro area, and there are several parks and outdoor spaces.
Dalton: Located in northwest Georgia, Dalton has a low cost of living and is known for its carpet industry. There are several outdoor activities in the area, including hiking in the nearby Appalachian Mountains.
In conclusion, Georgia offers potential retirees many benefits, from more affordable housing and healthcare to its pleasantly warm climate. On the other hand, certain areas are prone to natural disasters so it's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Georgia, 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.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.