Retiring in North Carolina

2 mins readLast updated April 26, 2024by Kate Morgan

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

North Carolina, located in the southeastern region of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a comfortable and diverse environment with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a moderate climate. With its scenic coastline, mountains, and vibrant cities, North Carolina offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year.

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According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, North Carolina had a population of approximately 10.5 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 North Carolina?

Like many states, North Carolina 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 North Carolina: 

  • 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 North Carolina?

  • Diverse environment: North Carolina is known for its diversity, from its bustling cities to its scenic natural areas. Retirees can enjoy living in a diverse environment that offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and cultural experiences. 

  • Moderate climate: North Carolina's climate varies greatly depending on the region, but many areas have a moderate climate with mild winters and warm summers. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who want to avoid harsh weather conditions. 

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

  • Cultural scene: North Carolina 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 North Carolina State Fair, the Carolina Renaissance Festival, and the North Carolina Azalea Festival. 

If you plan on retiring to North Carolina, 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 North Carolina?

  • Cost of living: North Carolina's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, making it an attractive option for retirees. However, housing and healthcare costs can vary depending on the region. 

  • Natural disasters: North Carolina is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas. 

Best places to retire in North Carolina

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

  1. Asheville: Located in the western part of the state, Asheville offers a vibrant cultural scene, numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, and a moderate climate. The city is also known for its arts and crafts community and thriving food scene. 

  2. Wilmington: Situated on the southeastern coast, Wilmington is a charming coastal city with a historic downtown, beautiful beaches, and a mild climate. The city is home to numerous cultural attractions, including the Cape Fear Museum and the Cameron Art Museum. 

  3. Chapel Hill: Home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this college town offers a lively cultural scene, excellent healthcare facilities, and a mild climate. The town also boasts a thriving arts community and numerous parks and recreational opportunities. 

  4. Charlotte: Located in the Piedmont region, Charlotte is a thriving city that offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities, as well as excellent healthcare facilities. The city is also known for its diverse culinary scene and numerous parks and green spaces. 

  5. Durham: Home to Duke University, Durham is a vibrant college town that offers a lively cultural scene, excellent healthcare facilities, and a mild climate. The city is also known for its historic architecture and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. 

In conclusion, North Carolina offers a diverse range of retirement options, from charming coastal towns to vibrant college cities. Retirees can enjoy a mild climate and a thriving arts and cultural scene, but housing costs can sting. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in North Carolina, 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 North Carolina?

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