The Pros and Cons of Retiring in Utah

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Planning for retirement can be both daunting and exciting. As you approach this significant milestone, you’re likely considering where to spend your golden years. Many choose Maine, Florida, and West Virginia, which have the highest percentage of retirees.

However, at the risk of sounding biased, I would like to put forward Utah as an underrepresented but great option for relocating during retirement. As a lifelong resident and professional financial advisor in the state, I have first-hand insights into Utah life. People outside the state may be shocked at how good living can be in the Beehive State.

But before you pack your bags, you should still weigh the pros and cons. Utah’s unique characteristics –good and not-so-good – can surprise non-locals, so it’s best to explore the advantages and drawbacks of retiring in Utah.

Retiring in Utah: Pros and Cons

Retiring in Utah offers a blend of enticing advantages and potential challenges. The following sections examine the pros and cons of making the Beehive State your retirement destination.

PROS

Here are some benefits you can expect.

1. Diverse outdoor recreation options

Utah’s natural beauty hosts many outdoor activities, from skiing down the Wasatch Mountains to exploring the red rock formations of Arches National Park. Retirees have ample opportunities to stay active and enjoy nature.

2. Lower cost of living than the national average

Cost of living can vary – you won’t be spending the same amount in Salt Lake City as you would in Morgan County. However, Utah’s cost of living is generally lower than the national average. Food, monthly utilities, and healthcare are less expensive in Utah than in the rest of the country. You can stretch your retirement savings further in the state than anywhere else.

3. Low taxation rates

Speaking of stretching your retirement savings, Utah boasts a relatively low income tax rate at a flat 4.85%. Utah also boasts the lowest average property tax rate at 0.58%, one of the lowest in the country. The sales tax is also modestly good, with the combined state and local sales tax averaging 7.19%.

4. Ample rebates and tax credits

Retirees in Utah may benefit from various rebates and tax credits, such as the Property Tax Abatement for homeowners, which taxes only 55% of a primary residence’s value. Retirees can also claim a small credit against income taxes.

5. Robust healthcare system

Utah’s healthcare system is renowned for its quality and relative affordability. The state boasts numerous top-class hospitals, medical centers, and specialized healthcare facilities, ensuring retirees receive excellent care when needed. For example, the Intermountain Medical Center and the University of Utah Hospital are two cutting-edge medical facilities in the state.

CONS

There’s no such thing as a perfect retirement state. Here are some of the drawbacks of retiring in Utah.

1. Extreme weather conditions

Utah experiences weather extremes, from scorching summers to freezing winters. The hot and cold may pose challenges if you seek a more temperate climate or have health concerns exacerbated by extreme temperatures.

2. Poor air quality

Some areas of Utah, particularly along the Wasatch Front, suffer from poor air quality due to geographic factors worsening the effects of pollution. Poor air quality can affect respiratory health and overall well-being, especially if you have existing health conditions.

3. Strict alcohol restriction laws

Utah’s liquor laws include limitations on where alcohol can be sold and consumed, as well as strict regulations on alcohol content and serving sizes. The beer on tap can only be 5% alcohol by volume or less, so other drinks must come by the bottle or can.

Another wrinkle is that restaurants cannot serve alcohol without accompanying a food order. Many establishments license themselves as bars to circumvent this issue, but that comes with the headache of not allowing anyone under 21 to enter.

4. Social Security income is taxed

While Utah offers relatively low income tax rates overall, Social Security income is subject to taxation at the state level. This policy can potentially reduce your disposable income compared to states with untaxed Social Security benefits.

5. Expensive real estate

High real estate prices in some regions of Utah, particularly around major metropolitan areas and in popular retirement destinations like Park City, can make it challenging for fixed-income retirees to afford desirable housing options in these areas.

How to Make Retiring in Utah Easier – Regardless of the Cons

Transitioning into retirement in Utah can be smoother with careful planning and preparation. Consider the following tips to mitigate potential challenges:

1. Research housing options

Explore various neighborhoods and housing types to find affordable and suitable accommodations that meet your needs and preferences. After all, housing will most likely be among your biggest retirement expenses.

2. Create a budget for your lifestyle

Determine your retirement income and expenses while accounting for Utah’s cost of living and taxation rates to ensure financial stability throughout retirement.

3. Schedule and transfer your utilities

You can streamline your move to Utah by arranging for the transfer or setup of utilities – water, electricity, and internet services – in your new residence.

4. Establish a Rolodex of local service providers

Build a network of trusted professionals where you plan on moving to. Include doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, and accountants. You’ll need a trustworthy system to address your healthcare, legal, and financial needs effectively.

5. Consult a financial advisor

Seek guidance from a local financial advisor who has experience with the intricacies of Utah’s tax laws and retirement planning strategies to complement your situation and retirement goals.

Beeline to the Beehive State

Utah can be a real contender for the best retirement state. While challenges do exist, there’s nothing that careful planning and professional advice can’t overcome.

As you evaluate your options, consider partnering with Tencap. We’re expert financial advisors with comprehensive experience guiding high-net-worth individuals through retirement transitions, particularly in Utah. Our guidance can bring many benefits to wealthy individuals. Tencap Wealth Coaching can make your beeline to the Beehive State as seamless as possible.

Photo of Nick Carrigan
Nick Carrigan
Wealth Advisor

Nick trains and develops families in creating, maintaining, and growing wealth. This includes educating clients on the science and academics of investing, comprehensive financial planning, and ongoing coaching to ensure discipline for a lifetime. Nick has seen this create incredible levels of freedom, fulfillment, and love for the families he works with.

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