Retiring in Montana
This article will take you through the main things you need to consider if you are retiring in Montana.
Wyoming has a large retirement population, with over 65s making up approximately 17% of the population.
Bozeman, Missoula, and Helena rank high on the list of best places to retire in Montana.
While Montana has a great cultural scene and stunning natural environment, it has limited job opportunities should you want to seek out part-time work in retirement.
Speak to a financial advisor about saving for retirement.
Is Montana a good place to retire?
Montana, located in the western region of the United States, offers a unique retirement experience for those seeking a peaceful and natural environment with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a four-season climate. With its stunning landscapes, mountains, and small towns, Montana is a popular destination for retirees who enjoy a slower pace of life.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Montana had a population of approximately 1 million people, with over 17% of the population being over the age of 65, making it a state with a relatively large retirement population.
If Montana is your ideal destination for retirement, it would be best to speak to a financial advisor to see how your finances will allow you to live there. Unbiased can help match you with a financial advisor suited to your needs. Simply answer a few questions, and we’ll do the rest. Get started here.
Where is the best place to retire in Montana?
If Montana is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Bozeman: Located in southwestern Montana, Bozeman is a thriving college town that offers a vibrant cultural scene, ample outdoor activities, and a low crime rate. The city is also home to Montana State University and a growing tech industry.
Missoula: Nestled in the western part of the state, Missoula is known for its natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and arts scene. The city offers a range of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, as well as easy access to nearby mountains, forests, and rivers.
Helena: The state capital of Montana, Helena is a historic town that offers a charming downtown area with plenty of shops, restaurants, and museums. The city also has a strong sense of community and a low cost of living.
Whitefish: Located in the northwestern part of the state, Whitefish is a popular destination for retirees due to its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and relaxed lifestyle. The town is also home to Whitefish Mountain Resort, a popular ski destination.
Billings: As the largest city in Montana, Billings offers a range of amenities and services that retirees may find appealing. The city has a low cost of living, a strong healthcare system, and easy access to nearby national parks and outdoor recreation areas.
What are the pros and cons of retiring in Montana?
Natural environment: Montana is known for its natural beauty, with breathtaking landscapes, national parks, and forests. Retirees can enjoy living in a peaceful environment that offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing.
Four-season climate: Montana experiences four distinct seasons, with mild summers and snowy winters. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who enjoy a change of seasons.
Small towns: Montana is home to many small towns that offer a friendly and tight-knit community feel. Retirees can enjoy a slower pace of life while still having access to amenities such as shops, restaurants, and medical care.
Cultural scene: Montana 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 Montana Folk Festival, the Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, and the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Cost of living: Montana's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, but it can vary depending on the location. Housing and healthcare costs, in particular, may be higher in certain areas.
Limited job opportunities: Montana's economy is largely based on natural resources and agriculture, which may limit job opportunities for retirees seeking part-time work or second careers.
Harsh winters: While the snowy winters may be appealing to some retirees, they can also be a challenge for others who may not be accustomed to the cold weather.
What age can you retire in Montana?
Like many states, Montana 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 Montana:
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. You could check out the average retirement savings in the US.
However, like any location, there are both pros and cons to retiring in the state.
The bottom line
Montana offers a diverse range of retirement options, from picturesque mountain towns to bustling cities. Retirees can enjoy a four-season climate with a plethora of recreational activities, including skiing, fishing, and hiking. While Montana has a lower cost of living than some other states.
It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Montana, 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.