Washington – Retirement Guide

Washington   Retirement Guide

Top Retirement Cities in Washington: 

Bellingham | Spokane | Walla Walla

Despite having a rainy reputation, Washington State can be an attractive retirement destination for those who love the outdoors. Plus, in some of the state’s eastern regions, the weather is considerably drier than along the coast.

Washington is home to a vast number of beautiful regions to explore, including the dramatic coastline stretching along the Pacific Ocean, the spectacular San Juan Islands, the Cascade Mountains — which include 14,410-foot Mt. Rainier — and the Puget Sound and its islands.

This means there are ample opportunities for active retirees to hike, camp, bicycle, ski, boat, fish and swim. A number of national forests and wildlife refuges can also be found across the state, and are ideal for bird-watching.

Urban dwellers will also enjoy the rewards of Washington’s larger towns, like Seattle, which has a thriving arts, culture and technology scene, while foodies will appreciate the many restaurants across the state touting locally-sourced ingredients.

Pros: No state income tax, ample outdoor activities, excellent local food and wine scene
Con: High cost of living, rainy winters in some areas

At a Glance
Best For: Outdoors lovers
Population: 6,897,000
Cost of Living: 17% above national average
Median Home Cost: $226,600
Unemployment: 7.3%
Top State Income Tax: No state income tax

Even wine aficionados will have something to celebrate: Washington’s wine regions have been gaining much acclaim of late, in particular the Columbia Valley which is known for its cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, riesling, syrah, pinot gris, and sauvignon blanc.

All these benefits do come at a fairly steep price, however. Despite having no state income tax, Washington’s cost of living is 17 percent higher than the national average. Still, there are a number of tax benefits: no state income tax, and retirees do not pay tax on pensions, Social Security benefits or other retirement income. Additionally, seniors 60 or older with income between $35,000 and $40,000 may qualify for the state’s tax-deferral program.

Though some parts of Washington (namely, in the east) are less rainy, retirees should be prepared for a wet climate, particularly during the winter months. That said, most of the state enjoys mild, year-round temperatures.

Top Retirement Cities in Washington:  Bellingham | Spokane | Walla Walla

Photo by Scooter Lowrimore via Flickr. All statistics were up to date as of publication. See these sources for the most current data.