West Virginia: Your Top Pick for Retirement Living, 24 Reasons Why

Discover why West Virginia (WV) is the optimal retirement destination. With stunning landscapes, affordable living, and a rich cultural heritage, it provides a unique blend of tranquility and community. Explore the practical reasons that make the Mountain State an ideal place for retirees to call home.

1. Music Heritage

Bluegrass/Country-western music band performing
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia has an awesome music scene that’s all about the Appalachian vibes – think folk, bluegrass, and country. They’ve churned out some absolute legends like Hazel Dickens and Bill Monroe, who’ve left their mark on the industry. Fans of this music genre would appreciate the connection to the tunes that tell stories of hard times and grit.

2. Affordable Living

Earn by Paying Attention
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Stretch your cash in West Virginia, where the cost of living is notably below the national average. Charleston, in particular, is 2% below the state average and 10% below the nation’s average. Enjoy financial peace of mind as utilities, groceries, and everyday expenses align favorably, allowing you to maximize your retirement funds.

3. Outdoor Recreation

Person using rock climbing equipment
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Retirees looking to stay active and adventurous will enjoy making a life in West Virginia after they exit the workforce. WV offers many outdoor activities like white-water rafting in the rapids of the New River Gorge, hiking trails in places like Seneca Rocks or the Monongahela National Forest, and world-class rock climbing.

4. Rich Cultural Heritage

mature, older man, male playing five string banjo outside
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia has no shortage of a rich history and lively traditions. Coal mining is a major part of West Virginia culture, influencing art, literature, and more. Celebrations like the Appalachian String Band Music Festival showcase traditional crafts, square dancing, and storytelling, preserving and sharing the culture that defines West Virginia.

5. State Parks

Hawks Nest State Park offers an expansive view of New River Gorge, West Virginia
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia’s state parks are stunning, and if you have extra time as a retiree, you can pick a different one to visit every weekend. Spots like Blackwater Falls State Park boast beautiful waterfalls amid dense forests. Coopers Rock State Forest offers expansive views of the Cheat River Gorge and an extensive network of trails for hikers, and Babcock State Park, known for its iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill, is complete with a serene lake and bright fall foliage.

6. Low Crime Rates

Top of police vehicle
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Rest easy in West Virginia, where low crime rates ensure a secure environment. West Virginia’s violent crime rate has seen a slight increase from 3.2 incidents per 1,000 people to 3.6. However, it’s important to note that this rate is still relatively low compared to many other states.

7. Food

happy tourist breathing in food
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia food is a blend of traditional Appalachian, American, English, Scottish, and Irish influences. They specialize in making foods like pepperoni pizza rolls, venison, morels, ramps, and comfort foods like skillet cornbread and biscuits with gravy. While the cornbread alone is reason enough to move there, they also have other specialties like their hot dogs with chili, cole slaw, and mustard and onions to make it complete.

8. Healthcare Options

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In West Virginia, affordable healthcare is crucial. As we age, it’s not uncommon for the body to break down from wear and tear, and healthcare can be one of the most significant expenses for a retiree. Various local initiatives, such as subsidies and the establishment of low-cost health centers, are actively addressing the diverse income levels in the state.

9. Peaceful Retirement Communities

neighbors talking
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Tailored to various preferences, these communities offer the perfect setting for enjoying the golden years. West Virginia has choices like Cheat Lake near Morgantown, Shepherdstown, and Bridgeport, which provide a peaceful environment for retirees. Other options, such as Lewisburg and Buckhannon, are known for their charming community, and Summersville offers ample outdoor opportunities.

10. Social Security Benefits

Social security benefits form
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Retirees moving to West Virginia can enjoy specific tax benefits, including exemptions on Social Security benefits and certain pension income. The state offers a Retirement Income Exclusion for individuals aged 65 and older, allowing them to deduct up to $8,000 of retirement income from their state-taxable income. Additionally, no state inheritance or estate tax provides further financial advantages for retirees in the Mountain State.

11. Community Events

Woman holding kale.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If a retiree is thinking of calling West Virginia their home, it’ll be helpful to integrate into the community when they get there. Thankfully, many cities there offer tons of community events to bring everyone together, from festivals to farmer’s markets to cultural gatherings and more. This element of fellowship is often missing in some of the more popular states with large cities.

12. Homestead Exemption

Elderly Couple With Consultant
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In West Virginia, the homestead exemption offers property tax relief to retirees who are 65 or older by reducing the assessed value of their primary residence. This translates to lower property taxes, providing financial relief for those on fixed incomes during retirement. It allows them to keep more money in their pockets!

13. Scenic Drives

Blackwater Falls This is one of West Virginia's lovely fall waterfall scenes.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

I don’t see West Virginia at the top of too many people’s lists when it comes to beautiful places in the world. Still, it possesses a lovely natural beauty with the Appalachian mountains, the lush forests, and the bright colors when autumn hits. That doesn’t include the many waterfalls and endless supply of greenery all around you as you drive to various cities like Lewisburg and Charleston, known to capture the attention of nature enthusiasts. As a retiree, you’ll love leisurely drives to take it all in.

14. Relaxed Pace of Life

woman relaxing on a sofa
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

After working hard for so long, you might want to take it easy when you finally get a chance not to have to think about getting up for your job every day. Many retirees appreciate the slower pace of life in West Virginia. If you’re looking for a more relaxed and laid-back lifestyle away from larger cities’ constant hustle and noise, this state might be a good match.

15. Historic Sites

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia has different historical sites that cover multiple periods, which is pretty cool if you’re a history buff. Take Harper’s Ferry, for example; in the 19th century, John Brown’s Raid unfolded, highlighting pre-Civil War tensions. Or, in Wheeling, the architecture reflects the state’s development during the Victorian era in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Additionally, the state has Civil War battlefields and structures still standing!

16. Affordable Real Estate

Woman showing couple around new apartment
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Compared to how much housing costs in other states, West Virginia is a great option for retirees who don’t want to burn through their savings. As reported by SeniorLiving.org, the average monthly cost for renting a one-bedroom apartment in West Virginia is $552, and for a two-bedroom apartment, it’s $678. That’s much lower than the national average of $1,027.

17. Hospitality

Man being shown hospitality from elderly woman
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Making the transition into retirement isn’t always easy. Some people find themselves not knowing what to do with so much idle time, often feeling out of place if they move somewhere new. In West Virginia, retirees can find welcoming communities where friendliness and hospitality are second nature, creating a sense of belonging that hopefully makes the switch a little easier.

18. Proximity to Major Cities

Woman walking instead of driving a car to save money
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia is more of a rural destination, but it’s close enough to some significant urban areas like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and others. This advantageous location offers the perfect blend of city and country where retirees can enjoy additional amenities and entertainment options.

19. Low Population Density

Community members gather
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia is a good option if you want to move somewhere that isn’t overly populated. It’s considered one of the smaller states, and the traffic isn’t too bad regarding congestion. It sits in the middle of the pack compared to other states with a terrible reputation for being crowded all the time, like California, Florida, and New York.

20. Appalachian Culture

Homemade quilts for sale
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Appalachian culture is one of the most prominent aspects of living in West Virginia. Outside of the music, there are other folk traditions, like storytelling that shares local legends and tales, handmade crafts like quilting and woodworking, and distinct dialects and expressions.

21. Festivals

music festival
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Mountain State has so many fun festivals to participate in, adding to why it’s an inviting destination to call home after your retirement. There’s the Bridge Day Festival at the New River Gorge Bridge, where you can watch people leap from the bridge (seems crazy, but to each his own!), the Strawberry Festival, the Maple Sugaring Festival, the Wine and Jazz Festival, and the State Fair that come to mind!

22. Mild Climate

Car snowed in.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

I didn’t know it was a thing to enjoy four distinct seasons, but apparently, some people like the winter! This factor of moving to WV might be a welcomed change for those who are from places where it’s always cold or always hot. In WV, you get to see vibrant hues in the Fall, lots of snow during the winter, flowers blossoming in the spring, and a summer that’s not overly hot all the time.

23. Fishing Opportunities

Fishing rod on the boat, sunset time. Beautiful autumn colors.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

West Virginia is a fantastic spot for fishing, whether you’re a pro angler or just out for a chill time by the water. They have big walleye, bass, and muskie, amongst many other species you can catch at Cheat Lake, Summersville Lake, Tygart Lake, and Jennings Randolph Lake, in particular. You can try your luck no matter the season!

24. Seniors’ Services

elderly healthcare woman in scrubs helping old lady
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

A variety of senior services in West Virginia caters to retirees’ needs. From healthcare assistance to community programs, the state ensures seniors have access to the support and resources required, making it an accommodating and considerate environment for someone entering retirement.

23 Steep Taxes Adding to California Residents’ Burden

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alex Millauer

California: a place of sunshine, innovation, and, unfortunately, some of the nation’s highest taxes. From LA’s beaches to Silicon Valley’s tech hubs, residents grapple with a maze of state taxes. Here’s a glance at 23 taxes that might surprise both Californians and outsiders. 23 Steep Taxes Adding to California Residents’ Burden

Cash in on Nostalgia: 21 Toys Now Worth a Fortune

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kostikova Natalia

Time to dust off the boxes and find that once-cherished toy from your childhood. For collectors and enthusiasts, they items have become valued objects and they can be worth big bucks – are there any of these in your attic? Cash in on Nostalgia: 21 Toys Now Worth a Fortune

Millennials Don’t Buy These 19 Products Anymore

Image Credit: Shutterstock / mariakray

Millennials are changing consumer habits, quietly replacing once-staple products and traditions. Often criticized for their disruptive preferences, this generation is reshaping the marketplace with digital expertise, ethical buying, and a taste for the unconventional. Millennials Don’t Buy These 19 Products Anymore

10 Reasons Firearms Are Essential to America’s Fabric

Image Credit: Shutterstock / rblfmr

Americans’ strong attachment to guns is influenced by constitutional rights, historical context, and cultural traditions. This article explores the cultural perspective driving their unwavering support for gun ownership, revealing the key factors shaping this enduring aspect of American life. 10 Reasons Firearms Are Essential to America’s Fabric

California’s 16 New Laws Raise Red Flags for Prospective Residents

Image Credit: Shutterstock / PeopleImages.com – Yuri A

California, celebrated for its beaches, tech prowess, and diversity, is now gaining attention for its recent legislation, prompting some residents to reconsider their residency. Explore the new laws of 2024 and the controversies and migration they’re stirring. California’s 16 New Laws Raise Red Flags for Prospective Residents

The post West Virginia: Your Top Pick for Retirement Living, 24 Reasons Why first appeared on Thrift My Life.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / .

The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.