New Hampshire, The Granite State, boasts of its natural beauty and scenic landscapes. It’s a small state (9,349 square miles) with easy access to the beautiful outdoors. However, you may have to trade off city amenities like diverse experiences in shopping and dining. If you’re considering retirement in New Hampshire, what are the pros and cons?
New Hampshire is a tax-friendly state known for its stunning beauty, rugged mountains, and gorgeous beaches. The weather is diverse and the state experiences all four seasons. Winters are harsh, though, and there are few urban amenities. The living cost is high, and diversity is low.
This article offers an overall view of New Hampshire. We also covered the top reasons for retiring in the state, a property exemption guide, best places, and retirement communities, plus the pros and cons of retiring in New Hampshire.
A Bird’s Eyeview of New Hampshire
New Hampshire has several small towns and a small population, approximately 1.4 million, according to the 2020 United States Census Bureau. About 44,000 people live in its state capital, Concord, while a little over 100,000 live in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city.
For interesting facts about the state, check out What is New Hampshire Known For.
Why Retire in New Hampshire?
Finder, a New York-based personal finance site, analyzed varied rating factors on US retirement destinations across various categories, including affordability, culture, and location. Out of these categories, New Hampshire ranked among the top 10. Here are some top reasons why the state was favored as among the best places to retire:
Retirement in New Hampshire means no taxes on your purchases, state income, and social security. Your public and private pension incomes are tax-free, including your withdrawals from retirement accounts.
According to Concord’s Elderly Exemption (RSA 72:39-a), applicants aged 65 years or older can apply for property tax exemption with the Assessing Department. Learn more about the guidelines and documents required here.
Low Crime Rate
New Hampshire’s crime rate is relatively low, placing it among the safest states in the US and a favorite retirement destination for seniors.
The state ranked well across factors like social isolation risks, the number of healthcare benchmarks, and life expectancy for its senior residents.
Retiring in New Hampshire: Pros and Cons
Is New Hampshire a good place for seniors to retire? Yes, and here are our top reasons why.
New Hampshire is a scenic beauty. Cast your fishing rod (view on Amazon) on its beautiful lakes or explore its dense forests. Its mountains with snowy peaks, like Mount Washington, are perfect for a day of adventure.
Ocean and Beaches
New Hampshire may be among the shortest ocean coastlines in the US, but it compensates with top-destination beaches. Read all about them in the 12 Best New Hampshire Beaches. You can enjoy a swim in the ocean or indulge in fishing.
If you’re retiring to New Hampshire with school-age kids, the state’s education system is diverse, ranked by WalletHub among the Top 5 K-12 Education in the US.
There are lots of public schools and universities, including prominent ones like Dartmouth College, the University of New Hampshire, and the very selective private school Philips Exeter Academy (grades 9 to 12).
Retiring in New Hampshire is synonymous with experiencing all four seasons. Winters are cold with lots of snow and Summers are warm and humid.
New Hampshire ranks high among the US states in caring for its senior residents. According to SeniorCare.com, more than 70 nursing homes are in the area.
In New Hampshire, you can commute from almost anywhere to cities like Boston. You can leverage city-living amenities without the accompanying full-time costs.
New Hampshire’s northern part offers small-town life, but the southern part sees commercialized development. Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth was repurposed into a hub for high-tech companies, consequently boosting the local economy.
What are the negatives of living in New Hampshire? Let’s look at some of the disadvantages of retiring in New Hampshire.
Winters in New Hampshire are long and harsh (as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit in January). For those looking to retire in comfortable weather, you may want to reconsider retiring in the state.
From November to February, expect frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall. Cold fronts sometimes start in October, and snow accumulates fast when the snowstorm season hits in November. While winter is the time to dust off your All-Mountain Freeride Ski (view on Amazon), New Hampshire mountain trails and passes can be treacherous during this time.
Tornadoes and hurricanes are common in New Hampshire from late spring to fall.
There are few urban amenities in New Hampshire. Your shopping options are limited, and there is very little nightlife. Larger cities have bus systems, but public transportation in smaller towns isn’t widely available. It’s also common to have fluctuating internet service.
Cost Of Living
New Hampshire’s cost of living is higher than the US average. The state isn’t among the least expensive to retire. However, living in small towns like Rochester or Claremont may drive your cost of living below the US average.
According to a 2019 Federal Reserve report, living comfortably in New Hampshire as a typical 65-year-old can spike to $1M on average.
Traffic in New Hampshire can get congested, primarily in the summer when tourists flock to the state. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, expect heavy traffic coming in on Friday evenings and leaving Sunday nights.
Diversity isn’t ripe in New Hampshire. While it’s home to tasty maple syrup and fresh seafood, your food choices aren’t too many. There also aren’t many ethnic cuisines or interesting small shops to explore.
While New Hampshire doesn’t charge a sales tax or levy one on your pension, retirement income, and Social Security benefits, property tax in the state is the second-highest in the US. A three-bedroom home near the University of New Hampshire can cost you more than $7,000 a year.
Small Senior Population
Only 14% of the state’s residents are seniors. This low percentage can go both ways since it can translate to more availability for you in choosing a retirement home.
When the weather warms up after winter, the atmosphere turns sticky and muggy, so mosquitoes and ticks come out and play. Screens on windows and doors will do the trick during the warmer months.
A task force is doing proactive interventions, but it’s an issue in small towns and rural areas.
Best Cities And Towns To Retire In New Hampshire
There are several best places to live in New Hampshire for retirees, and we’re naming a few.
As New Hampshire Seacoast’s creative capital, Portsmouth is a popular seaport destination that resembles dreamy New York. Set in beautiful seascapes, the city has easy access to mountains, prides on an excellent school system, and has a low crime rate.
Among the best retirement locations in New Hampshire is Claremont, the only city in Sullivan County where wooded forests and green pastures surround you. It offers a secluded feel without missing out on adventures like live music at the Claremont Opera House or leisure strolls at Moody Park and Arrowhead Recreation Area.
If quaint and historic is your retirement dream, Amherst village center is the place. This small town is rich in history, surrounded by amazing houses and opportunities to explore the outdoors, including its Fourth of July celebration.
Only a short drive from New Hampshire’s major cities, Somersworth lets you escape the hustle and bustle of city life. There are six hospitals within 25 miles, and about 13% of its residents are ages 65 and above.
A robust economy, excellent education, and family security are the major perks of retiring in this small village. Popular tourist destinations include Lake Winnipesaukee (offering 40,000 acres of year-round recreational activities), earning the town its name Jewel of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Wolfeboro is a self-proclaimed Oldest Summer Resort in America, with famous eateries listed among the best outdoor dining restaurants in the New Hampshire Lakes Region.
Enjoy the great outdoors when you retire in Keene. Stonewall Farm offers learning opportunities for residents, supports local producers, and demonstrates sustainable farming. Break in your Folding Bike (view on Amazon) on biking trails, stroll along walking paths, visit animals, or simply enjoy beautiful sceneries.
Home to The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, Dover is the largest community on the seacoast, highly favored by families for its healthy school system and robust local economy.
Another famous attraction is the Jenny Thompson Outdoor Pool, whose namesake is a hometown Olympian athlete.
Best Retirement Communities In New Hampshire
New Hampshire has some of the best retirement communities in the US. Here’s a quick list of neighborhoods to check out:
- RiverWoods Exeter
- Huntington At Nashua
- Connect55+ Londonderry
- Hunt Community
- Mill Pine Village
- The Village at Rivermead
- Sugar Hill Retirement Community
- Taylor Community
- Covenant Living at Keene
- Summercrest Senior Living Community
For in-depth insights into these retirement communities, check out our list of the best retirement communities in New Hampshire.
Conclusion: Retiring in New Hampshire (Pros and Cons)
When looking for a home to retire, it’s important to consider factors that will make your retirement years both relaxing and exciting. And if charming towns and large stretches of wilderness will make that happen, you should call New Hampshire your new home. However, retiring in this state isn’t always a bed of roses.
New Hampshire offers a scenic backdrop of mountains and forest, particularly in the fall. But its North Country can be uncomfortable with severe cold and heavy snowfall in the winter. You have lesser worries about taxes, but purchasing a retirement home can dent your savings with its high property tax.
‘Live Free or Die’ is the motto of New Hampshire, so that’s a strong selling point for retiring in the state. However, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons. Whatever side ticks the most boxes, you can be sure to arrive at an informed decision.