Retiring in New York City: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated June 11, 2024by Rachel Carey

This article takes you through the pros and cons, the best places to live, and other aspects to consider if you’re thinking about spending your retirement in the Big Apple.

Summary 

  • New York City is the 32nd best place to retire in America. 

  • Pros of retiring in New York City include age-friendliness, good public transportation, favorable taxes, and a renowned city culture. 

  • Cons of a New York City retirement include crowding, high cost of living, and cold winters. 

  • New York State doesn’t tax retirees’ Social Security benefits, and it offers deductions on certain types of retirement income. 

  • A financial advisor can review your unique situation and help you create a retirement plan. 

Is New York City a good place to retire? 

Retiring in New York City is becoming an increasingly popular option.  

The city landed the 32nd spot in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 150 best places to retire in America. While it achieved a mere 3.6 out of 10 for affordability, it did receive a full 10 out of 10 for healthcare.  

In fact, the city’s Department of Aging predicts that one in every five New Yorkers will be aged 60 or older by 2030. To help you make an informed decision about whether you want to be one of them, we’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of a New York City retirement, great places to live, taxes, and other considerations.  

As for costs, what your average will be depends on a variety of factors, such as location. A financial advisor can help you plan financially for your retirement

What are the pros and cons of retiring in New York City? 

There are pros and cons to retiring in New York City, and it’s important that you are aware of them. Let’s find out more. 

Pros: 

  • Age-friendly city: 3.2 million (one in six) New Yorkers are over the age of 65, and the number is still growing due to wellness, the city’s culture, and the ongoing support of seniors through programs and campaigns. 

  • Good public transportation: Most New Yorkers prefer public transit, biking, or walking to driving. The city boasts an extensive and reliable transportation network, especially in the form of buses, trains, and the subway. When you turn 65, you qualify for a Reduced-Fare Metrocard that offers half-price transportation. 

  • Active lifestyle: A New York City retirement could be one of the best reasons to live an active lifestyle. This easily navigable city is also walkable, and it boasts numerous parks, beaches, and other recreational areas.  

  • Some favorable taxes: The city’s tax situation can be favorable to some retirees, depending on age, income, and property ownership. New York State, local, civil service, and military pensions are non-taxable, as are Social Security benefits. There are tax exemptions up to $20,000 on out-of-state private pensions. You might be eligible for a property tax exemption if you are over 65 and have a restricted income. 

  • Renowned city culture: The culture of the Big Apple is known around the world. The city is home to award-winning restaurants, world-class museums, the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway, galleries, events, cultural enclaves, and much more. 

Cons: 

  • New York City is crowded: The city’s approximately 8.5 million residents live in an approximately 300-square-mile area, which means significant congestion as well as air and noise pollution. This can be off-putting for some people considering retiring in New York City. 

  • High cost of living: New York City’s cost of living is 68% higher than the national average, and that’s the city average – in some areas, such as Manhattan, the cost of living is approximately 122% higher than the national average. Popular retirement area The Hamptons has a cost of living that’s roughly 140% higher than the national average. 

  • Cold winters: The city experiences pleasant temperatures of 76°F or higher from late May until mid-September, but the winter months between December and early April bring cold temperatures (the average is 48°F), rain, and almost 30 inches of snow. 

What are the best places to retire in New York City? 

Despite the congestion and noise in much of the Big Apple, some neighborhoods are ideal for retirees. Some of the best neighborhoods for retirement communities in New York include: 

  1. Hell’s Kitchen: Don’t let the name fool you – this neighborhood offers affordable housing options, a low crime rate, and proximity to Broadway and Central Park. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the best places to consider spending your New York City retirement. 

  2. Park Slope: A family-friendly Brooklyn neighborhood, Park Slope can be on the expensive side. However, the price tag comes with the charm of tree-lined streets, historic brownstone buildings, and unique shopping and dining options. 

  3. Upper East Side: High demand and even higher prices make the Upper East Side a perfect neighborhood for seriously wealthy retirees. Whether you’re looking for spacious homes, exceptional dining and shopping, first-class healthcare, and superb leisure options, you’ll find them here. 

  4. Murray Hill: Down-to-earth and with a low crime rate, Murray Hill is a popular choice among New York City retirees. This Brooklyn suburb is close to several well-known health centers as well as famous New York landmarks, and it boasts a variety of dining, shopping, and lifestyle options.  

What age can you retire in New York City? 

There is no legally mandated retirement age in the Big Apple. However, these age-related concerns might make you wait longer before retiring in New York City: 

  • Social Security benefits: Enjoy higher monthly payments if you delay claiming your Social Security benefits for a few years after turning 62. 

  • Medicare eligibility: Most people who are 65 or older can get free Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance, which covers hospital visits. 

  • Retirement savings: Financial advisors recommend saving for as long as possible before retirement. Many suggest trying to save at least 15% of your income for retirement. Learn more about the average retirement savings in the US. 

What taxes do retirees pay in New York City? 

New York City is somewhat tax-friendly. New York City retirees aren’t taxed for Social Security benefits, and they can claim a deduction of up to $20,000 on other types of retirement income. This should result in most retired people’s income tax bills being relatively low.  

However, state and local sales tax amount to 8.25%, and the effective property tax rate is 1.62%. New York State also collects its own estate tax (with exemptions) in addition to the Federal estate tax. Estate tax rates for amounts above those exempted range between 3.06% and 16%. 

You might have to pay capital gains taxes if you supplement your retirement income with income from investments not held in retirement accounts. The state considers capital gains as regular income and taxes it at the state’s income tax rates.

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Get expert financial advice  

A city unlike any other, New York is the ideal spot for retirees who don’t want to say goodbye to vibrant urban life and culture. However, retiring in New York isn’t a decision to make lightly, as you need to consider the pros and cons, where to live, the high cost of living, and steeper taxes than you would pay in many other locations.  

Get the expert financial advice you need to help you prepare for your retirement. Let Unbiased match you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor you can trust. 

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.