Retiring in Idaho

2 mins readLast updated April 16, 2024by Kate Morgan

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

Idaho, located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a quieter and more affordable environment with access to outdoor activities, scenic views, and a moderate climate. With its beautiful mountains, lakes, and forests, Idaho offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Idaho had a population of approximately 1.8 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.

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What age can you retire in Idaho?

Like many states, Idaho 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 Idaho: 

  • 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 Idaho?

  • Affordability: Idaho's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, which is a big draw for retirees on a fixed income. Housing and healthcare costs are also lower than in many other states, making Idaho an affordable option for retirees. 

  • Scenic views and outdoor activities: Idaho is home to numerous national parks, forests, and lakes, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. Retirees can enjoy living in a scenic environment with breathtaking views. 

  • Quality of life: Idaho is known for its quality of life, with friendly communities, low crime rates, and a relaxed lifestyle. Retirees can enjoy a peaceful and stress-free environment. 

If you plan on retiring to Idaho, it's worth speaking to a qualified financial advisor to find the best city for your budget. Match with an advisor below.

What puts people off retiring to Idaho?

  • Harsh winters: Idaho has cold winters with heavy snowfall, which could be a concern for retirees who are not used to living in such conditions. 

  • Limited cultural scene: Idaho is not known for its cultural scene, with fewer museums, galleries, and performing arts venues than other states. However, the state does offer some cultural events and festivals throughout the year. 

  • Limited healthcare options: Some areas of Idaho have limited healthcare options, which could be a concern for retirees who require regular medical attention. 

Best places to retire in Idaho

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

  1. Boise: Boise is the capital city of Idaho and is known for its vibrant culture, outdoor recreation, and scenic beauty. It has a low cost of living compared to other major cities in the West, making it an attractive option for retirees. The city has a diverse mix of activities, including hiking and biking trails, museums, art galleries, and theaters. 

  2. Coeur d'Alene: Coeur d'Alene is a picturesque town located in the northern part of the state, on the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene. It has a thriving downtown area with shops, restaurants, and galleries, and is surrounded by natural beauty, including forests and mountains. The town is also home to a number of golf courses and outdoor recreational activities, such as skiing and snowboarding in the winter. 

  3. Sun Valley: Sun Valley is a resort town located in central Idaho, known for its world-class skiing and outdoor activities. It has a small, tight-knit community, and is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the Sawtooth National Forest. The town has a variety of cultural offerings, including music festivals and art galleries. 

  4. Moscow: Moscow is a charming college town located in the northern part of the state, home to the University of Idaho. It has a thriving arts scene, including a symphony orchestra and theater productions, and is surrounded by rolling hills and forests. The town also has a number of walking and biking trails, making it easy to explore the surrounding natural beauty. 

  5. Sandpoint: Sandpoint is a scenic town located in the northern part of the state, on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. It has a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and art galleries, and is surrounded by natural beauty, including the Selkirk Mountains. The town is also home to a number of outdoor recreational activities, such as skiing, hiking, and boating. 

In conclusion, Idaho offers a range of benefits for potential retirees including affordability, beautiful scenery and great quality of life. On the other hand, limited healthcare and cultural opportunities are considerations. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Idaho, 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.

Want to retire in Idaho?

A financial advisor can help you plan and realize your dream retirement.