Retiring in Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin.

Wisconsin, located in the Midwest region of the United States, is an emerging retirement destination for many Americans seeking a peaceful and serene environment with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a comfortable climate. With its lush forests, sparkling lakes, and charming small towns, Wisconsin 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, Wisconsin had a population of approximately 5.8 million people, with over 16% 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 Wisconsin?

Like many states, Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin: 

  • 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 in Wisconsin?

  • Serene environment: Wisconsin is known for its tranquil environment, from its lush forests to its sparkling lakes. Retirees can enjoy living in a serene environment that offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities. 

  • Comfortable climate: Wisconsin's climate varies greatly depending on the region, but many areas have a comfortable climate with mild summers and snowy winters. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who enjoy seasonal changes. 

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

  • Cultural scene: Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin State Fair, Summerfest, and the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. 

If you plan on retiring to Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin?

  • Cost of living: Wisconsin's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, but it could still be a concern for retirees on a fixed income. Housing and healthcare costs, in particular, could be higher in certain areas. 

  • Harsh winters: While some retirees enjoy Wisconsin's snowy winters, others may find them too harsh and prefer a warmer climate. 

  • Limited access to urban amenities: Wisconsin's largest cities, such as Milwaukee and Madison, offer a wide range of amenities, but some retirees may prefer the amenities of larger metropolitan areas. 

Best places to retire in Wisconsin

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

  1. Madison: Madison is a vibrant city that offers a unique blend of urban and outdoor experiences. It is home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has a thriving arts and culture scene. The city also boasts many parks, lakes, and nature trails, making it an excellent place for outdoor enthusiasts. 

  2. Wausau: Wausau is a small city located in central Wisconsin that offers a relaxed pace of life and plenty of outdoor activities. It is situated near Rib Mountain State Park, which offers hiking, skiing, and snowboarding opportunities. The city also has a downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. 

  3. Eau Claire: Eau Claire is a small city located in western Wisconsin that offers a mix of urban and rural experiences. It has a lively downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural events, and it is surrounded by natural areas that offer hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities. 

  4. La Crosse: La Crosse is a picturesque city located on the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin. It has a historic downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, and it is surrounded by natural areas that offer hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. 

  5. Green Bay: Green Bay is a mid-sized city located on the shores of Lake Michigan in northeastern Wisconsin. It is home to the Green Bay Packers football team and has a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. The city is also surrounded by natural areas that offer boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. 

  6. Door County: Door County is a popular retirement destination located on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan. It is known for its charming small towns, scenic views, and outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating. The area also has many art galleries, shops, and restaurants. 

In conclusion, Wisconsin is a great option for retirees seeking a serene environment with access to outdoor activities and cultural events. While there are some drawbacks, the state's comfortable climate and low cost of living make it an attractive retirement destination for many. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin?

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