Connecticut is known for many things including its picturesque landscape. Whether it’s jobs, housing, or culture you want to know about, we’ve looked in detail at some of the pros and cons of retiring in Connecticut to make your decision easier.
As you near retirement, your mind may wander to fulfilling your life's dreams; and for many, that involves relocating. After all, retirement is a time for freedom.
Some people move to be closer to or farther away from family while others take this step for health or financial reasons. But the relocation trend seems to be wavering. Despite COVID forcing up to 3 million Americans to retire earlier than planned, the number of retirees who moved in 2021 dropped to 226,000—roughly 43% fewer than in the year previous. It’s also the lowest number of American retirees in the last five years! So why are fewer retirees relocating? COVID again, the housing market and lack of retirement savings played a part for sure. But as the country and world begin to get back to a new normal, we expect to see the numbers rise once more.
When it comes to relocating to or from the state of Connecticut, there are a number of benefits and a few drawbacks you should consider. Whether you're considering moving out of, into, or remaining in Connecticut for your golden years, Agemy Financial Strategies can help. As a financial firm based in Connecticut, we can offer you experienced and knowledgeable advice on how to manage your retirement in this beautiful state. But before making such a life-changing decision, here’s a look at some of the pros and cons to think about.
Pros of Retiring in Connecticut
1. There are numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in Connecticut
If you're an outdoorsy person, you’ll love what the state has to offer. You might not think about a visit to the beach as a top priority in Connecticut, but you’re only two hours away from the ocean at the furthest point when living here. You’ll find several popular options to visit, including Hammonasset Beach State Park, Ocean Beach Park, or the beautiful Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk. In fact, the state boasts nearly 100 miles of coastline along the Long Island Sound and is crossed by four major rivers, providing residents with plenty of beautiful scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities.
It is a fantastic place for hiking, which includes a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Most of the state parks have opportunities for you to enjoy, and a handful of forest preserves make for the perfect autumn trek. There is a little bit of something for everyone to love when you live in Connecticut.
2. Connecticut offers an abundance of entertainment
The entertainment scene in Connecticut is also lively for those who enjoy going to a weekend show. If you love the performing arts, New Haven’s College Street Music Hall is the place you want to be. It reopened in 2015 after being vacant for more than a decade. Now it’s the place for artists who come through the area, attracting acts that would normally skip over the state when traveling between Boston and New York City.
Retirees in Connecticut will love taking their grandchildren to explore the country’s oldest amusement park. In fact, the state is credited with inventing the amusement park. Bridgeport, Connecticut is home to the longest continuously operating amusement park in the United States.
3. The crime rate in Connecticut has been steadily falling
Did you know that Easton, Ridgefield, and Madison top the state’s safety rankings? Just another reason to spend your retirement here. There’s a sense of safety which is comforting to anyone. Connecticut is well known for its great small community atmosphere. Many residents boast their small town feels more like a family.
Some of the best cities to live in are in Connecticut because their record of safety continues to improve. The state is experiencing its lowest crime rate in decades, with the overall ratio being about 20 incidents per every 1,000 residents. The rate of violent crime is only 2 per 1,000, which makes most communities a safe place to raise a family and let your kids outside to play in the front yard.
It is still a good idea to have insurance in place for any of the more expensive items you have in your home. Compared to other places you could live along the East Coast, you’ll find Connecticut has a lot to offer.
4. Connecticut residents live longer
Debate all you want about quality of life in Connecticut, but duration of life in the state is indisputable. Connecticut has the fifth-highest life expectancy in the United States, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Connecticut residents can expect to live an average of 80.4 years, with females at 82.9 and males at 77.9. The findings, published earlier this year in the National Vital Statistics Reports, reviewed 2018 population estimates, state-level mortality and each state’s death and population figures that year for older Medicare beneficiaries.
5. Connecticut grants seniors access to a tuition-free degree
Last but by all means not least, Connecticut allows senior citizens to take college classes and earn a degree tuition-free. At the University of Connecticut (UCONN), seniors can take undergraduate courses on a non-credit basis for $15/semester. Senior citizens working toward a degree do not have to pay tuition but do have to pay university and activity fees.
Cons of Retiring in Connecticut
1. It can get really cold in Connecticut
If you're older, the cold weather can be a deal breaker for some. If residents aren’t leaving Connecticut because they’re trying to find work somewhere else, then there’s an excellent chance that they’re going because of the weather. The average temperature in the winter in Hartford is below 20°F. The coastal part of the state sees 15 snow days each year, with accumulation levels reaching three feet. Norfolk gets even more of the white stuff, averaging almost 80 inches per year.
Definitely a consideration for those who suffer in colder months.
2. The cost of a house is high in Connecticut
The pandemic has sent CT house prices through the roof and drained the inventory.
Zillow reports that the median home value in Connecticut is about $348,047. With an extremely low supply of available homes for sale and skyrocketing demand, some would-be buyers feel as though it is becoming increasingly difficult to afford the cost of moving into a new home. The highest median home price and most drastic change over the last two years is in Fairfield County, where there was an increase of 43.5% to more than $400,000.
How long can this housing spike remain? That all depends on the supply. According to the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices report, total 2022 home sales are not expected to reach 2021 numbers simply because Connecticut real estate agents are running out of inventory.
3. The cost of living is high in Connecticut
There’s no point in beating around the bush here: Connecticut is an expensive state, and living costs are higher than the national average. The cost of living in Stamford (one of Connecticut’s most expensive cities) is only 17% lower than Manhattan, New York. Compared with all other states, Connecticut has the eighth highest overall cost of living.
In general, living in dense, urban metro areas is more expensive than living in more rural areas. Connecticut is home to four metropolitan areas. The most expensive in the state is the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area, where the cost of goods and services is 15.3% higher than the national average and 9.2% higher than the statewide average. If you can afford to live here, then there are plenty of advantages for you to enjoy. Fewer people are finding it possible to do. Plus the rural areas present a cheaper-cost of living if you want to spend your golden years out of the metro hustle and bustle.
While many people stay in their homes until they're forced to relocate for medical or financial reasons, reports show that those who move to a new place are actually happier than those who remain in their homes. Will the above information sway your decision of relocating in retirement?
Connecticut housing is expensive, the cost of living is above average, and property taxes are high. But while the cost of living is high in Connecticut, the quality of life matches it, with income, health, and education ranking well above average.
At Agemy Financial Strategies, we are based in the state for a reason. That reason being we simply love location, the lifestyle it provides and the spirit of the people living here.
If you love it, too, the cons are worth working through with the right financial plan in place. But for those who can't get over the weather or cost of living, then relocating to a less expensive and warmer climate may be for you.
Now that you know some of the pros and cons of retirement in Connecticut, it's important to look at your retirement plan and see if this is something that would benefit you. If you’re like most people, qualified-retirement plans, Social Security, personal savings and investments are expected to play a role. Once you have estimated the amount of money you may need for relocating in retirement, a sound approach involves taking a close look at your potential retirement-income sources.
At Agemy Financial Strategies, we want you to know we’re here to help you navigate retirement and any questions that come up during your retirement process, including relocation opportunities. As Fiduciary advisors, it's our duty to act on your behalf in finding the right solutions for your individual wants and needs.
Stay tuned next week when we explore the pros and cons of retiring in Colorado.