Retiring in Illinois

1 min readLast updated October 4, 2023by Kate Morgan

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

Illinois, located in the Midwestern region of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a mix of urban and rural environments, a vibrant culture, and access to outdoor activities. With its picturesque landscapes, diverse communities, and bustling cities, Illinois offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Illinois had a population of approximately 12.7 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 Illinois?

Like many states, Illinois 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 Illinois: 

  • 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 Illinois?

  • Diverse environment: Illinois is known for its diverse communities, from its bustling cities to its quiet small towns. Retirees can enjoy living in a diverse environment that offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and cultural experiences. 

  • Moderate climate: Illinois has a humid continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who enjoy experiencing all four seasons. 

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

  • Cultural scene: Illinois has a rich cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. The state hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Illinois State Fair, and the Art Institute of Chicago's annual Block Party. 

What puts people off retiring to Illinois?

  • Cost of living: Illinois' 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: Traffic can be a concern in and around the major cities of Chicago and Springfield, particularly during rush hour. 

  • Extreme weather: Illinois is prone to extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and blizzards, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas. 

Best places to retire in Illinois

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

  1. Naperville: Located in the Chicago metropolitan area, Naperville has been ranked by Niche as the #1 best place to retire in Illinois. It offers a low crime rate, highly rated public schools, and numerous parks and nature preserves for outdoor recreation. 

  2. Springfield: As the state capital, Springfield offers a vibrant cultural scene with museums, galleries, and historic sites such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. It also boasts a lower cost of living than many other Illinois cities. 

  3. Bloomington: Home to Illinois State University, Bloomington offers a college town feel with access to cultural events and outdoor activities such as hiking and boating on Lake Bloomington. It has a low unemployment rate and a cost of living that is slightly below the national average. 

  4. Rockford: Located in northern Illinois, Rockford has a low cost of living and numerous parks and recreational opportunities such as the Anderson Japanese Gardens and Rock Cut State Park. It also offers easy access to nearby cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee. 

  5. Carbondale: Located in southern Illinois, Carbondale is home to Southern Illinois University and offers a laid-back, small-town feel. It boasts a low cost of living and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking and boating on Lake Murphysboro. 

In conclusion, Illinois offers a range of benefits for potential retirees, with a variety of recreational activities and a rich cultural scene but prepare for a higher cost of living as a result. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Illinois, 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.