More Retirees Crossing State Lines – Here’s Where They’re Going

More than 338,000 Americans relocated for retirement last year – a 44% increase from 2022 – and about a quarter of those retirees moved to a different state.

According to the online moving-services marketplace Hire A Helper’s latest annual report, Florida is the number one destination for retirees, claiming 11% of movers across state lines. South Carolina comes in at a close second and New Jersey third, with Texas and Washington rounding out the top five. Let’s explore what’s drawing retirees to these destinations.

Tax benefits a key consideration

Three of the five states – Florida, Texas and Washington – don’t tax residents’ income, which is an obvious draw for people whose earnings will decrease significantly in retirement. While many states don’t tax Social Security benefits, these three also won’t tax investment income or 401(k) distributions.

But what about New Jersey, with its notoriously high income and property tax rates? It’s also the sixth-most likely state for older adults to leave. California and New York are the top two, originating almost 30% of interstate retirement moves between them.

With a cost-of-living index of 114, New Jersey is a more affordable destination for retirees leaving New York, with its index of 125. Cost of living indexes are pulled from a variety of factors, including housing, groceries, transportation and health care. A score over 100 means the state has a higher cost of living than the national average. But even for people moving from other locales, the Garden State has its benefits.

Not only does New Jersey not tax Social Security distributions, it also boasts generous pension exclusions that enable retirees to shield up to $100,000 from state income taxes, as well as property-tax relief programs for seniors and people with disabilities.