Retiring in West Virginia

1 min readLast updated April 16, 2024by Kate Morgan

This article will take you through the pros and cons, the best places to stay, tax implications, and other aspects of retiring in West Virginia.

While there is no official count of how many people retire to West Virginia each year, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the state had a population of approximately 1.7 million people in 2022, with over 21% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a significant retirement population. Find out more about retirement in West Virginia.

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  • More than 21% of West Virginia’s population are over age 65.

  • Retiring in West Virginia offers property tax and Social Security benefits.

  • Morgantown and Wheeling are popular cities for retirement in West Virginia.

  • West Virginia's pros include a low crime rate, natural beauty, and a cultural scene.

  • The state has cons, such as cold winters and limited rural healthcare options.

What are the pros and cons of retiring in West Virginia?

As with every state, some things attract prospective retirees to the Mountain State and things that might make them consider spending their post-work years elsewhere. Explore the pros and cons of retiring in West Virginia:

Some reasons to consider spending your retirement in West Virginia include:

  • Low crime rate: West Virginia has a lower crime rate compared to other states, making it a safe and peaceful place to live.

  • Natural beauty: West Virginia is known for its stunning natural scenery, including the Appalachian Mountains, verdant forests, and numerous lakes and rivers. The state also offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating.

  • Cultural scene: West Virginia has a rich cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. The state also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Appalachian String Band Music Festival.

Some of the cons of living in West Virginia include:

  • Cold winters: West Virginia experiences cold winters with significant snowfall, which may not be appealing to all retirees. However, many retirees enjoy the winter season and take advantage of outdoor activities such as skiing and snowshoeing.

  • Limited healthcare options: West Virginia's rural areas may have limited access to healthcare facilities, which could be a concern for retirees with medical needs. However, the state is actively working to improve access to healthcare services in these areas.

  • High cost of living: West Virginia's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, making it an affordable option for retirees on a fixed income. However, some areas of the state may have higher costs of living, and retirees should carefully consider their budget and lifestyle before moving.

  • Limited job opportunities: West Virginia has a relatively small economy and limited job opportunities, which could be a concern for retirees looking to supplement their retirement income.

What are the best places to retire in West Virginia?

Some towns and cities are more attractive to retirees than others. Some of the best places to retire in West Virginia are:

  1. Morgantown: Home to West Virginia University, Morgantown is a vibrant college town that offers retirees access to excellent healthcare facilities, cultural events, and recreational activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing.

  2. Wheeling: Located in the northern panhandle of the state, Wheeling is a historic city with a low cost of living and a charming downtown area. Retirees can enjoy local festivals, historic tours, and outdoor activities such as golfing and boating on the Ohio River.

  3. Lewisburg: This charming town is located in the heart of the Greenbrier Valley and is known for its quaint shops, historic architecture, and annual food and cultural festivals. Retirees can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and golfing.

  4. Shepherdstown: Located in the eastern panhandle of the state, Shepherdstown is a small college town with a vibrant arts scene and a strong sense of community. Retirees can enjoy local theaters, galleries, and shops, as well as outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking along the Potomac River.

  5. Parkersburg: Situated along the Ohio River, Parkersburg is a small city with a low cost of living and abundant recreational opportunities. Retirees can enjoy fishing, hiking, and boating on the river, as well as local festivals and cultural events.

How much tax will I pay during retirement in West Virginia?

The pros mentioned above are not the only good reasons to consider spending your retirement in West Virginia.

Tax and Social Security benefits are other positive factors that attract retirees. The state offers a Homestead Exemption offering property tax relief for eligible residents who are 65 years of age or older, and it exempts Social Security benefits and retirement income up to $8,000 from state income tax.

If you’re still unsure about where to retire, it’s wise to seek expert advice. Explore our article on the top financial advisors for more insight.

when you are ready, connect with a regulated advisor below for a personalized financial plan.

What age can you retire in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, there is no specific retirement age mandated by law. This means that individuals can retire whenever they choose, as long as they are financially able to support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for people who retire in West Virginia:

  • Social Security benefits: The earliest age to start 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 retire before age 65, you will need to find alternative healthcare coverage until you become eligible for Medicare.

  • Age discrimination: While there is no mandatory retirement age in West Virginia, it is still 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 also check out the average retirement savings in the US here.

Is West Virginia a good place to retire?

Retiring in West Virginia has its pros and cons. The state's stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and friendly communities make it an attractive destination for many retirees. However, like any location, the Mountain State has its challenges. Harsh winters can be a concern for some, and the state's rural areas may have limited access to healthcare facilities and other services that retirees may need.

There also are a variety of costs associated with retirement in West Virginia, such as living expenses and insurance, and there are retirement-friendly factors. Ask an SEC-regulated advisor for expert financial advice on navigating the options available to you. Visit Unbiased to learn more about preparing financially for retirement, and let us match you with the best financial advisor for your needs.

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.

Want to retire in West Virginia?

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