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Modern House


Is Michigan The BEST Place To Retire?

2 or so years ago I made a video about why you should consider retiring in Michigan, and today, my thoughts have changed a little bit, stick around to find out why…

A few months ago, headlines hit the news stating that Michigan was named the 2nd best state in the nation to retire. This research was done by Bank locations which compiled data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Council for Community and Bureau of Transportation which reviewed the 50 states using 18 or so metrics which contributed to 3 major categories when considering a place to retire and that is: cost of retirement living, quality of life and access to healthcare. Michigan ranked so high on this list due to the access of healthcare as well as an affordable lifestyle. I know what you’re thinking, but Andrew it’s BLEEPING' cold there, the roads are icky I have heard, and there’s not a lot of airports so we can enjoy this retirement stage of our lives traveling. And I’m so glad you conveniently brought all that up, because even with all that in mind, the 2nd place ranking was still earned.

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but before I got into real estate in 2017, and started making videos, I used to be a manager of a retirement home. I started there as a server at the age of 14, then moved up to management, then moved up to corporate and was in charge of several items for the locations in Michigan, and I would always talk with the residents, listen to their stories, chat about their lives and why they chose this spot to continue out their days in southeast Michigan, and yes a lot of them would say they were there to be closer to family, but a lot of them also said there’s no other state they would consider calling home. And at the time, I thought to myself, “are you crazy? Run somewhere warm or something.” The more I talked to residents, the more I realized where their perspective came from.


For starters, the state of Michigan is fairly tax-friendly for seniors, a lot of the residents would complain about how much the cost of living is at the retirement home, which I don’t blame them, I saw and heard all the financial details and it makes me sick thinking about it, but the moral of the story, senior living is pretty expensive anywhere you go, but the difference was they couldn’t imagine living anywhere else financially, especially since Michigan has some decent tax incentives. Michigan doesn’t tax social security income and offers several sizable deductions on other retirement incomes. According to retirefearless, The state government partially taxes withdrawals from retirement accounts and public and private pension incomes. Also, the state’s marginal tax rate is 4.25%, and wages are taxed at pretty normal rates. Another incentive to look more into, is a lot of senior citizens think they are all taxed the same, when in reality, if you’re born before 1946, you can get some pretty good tax breaks, but it’s not as generous when you’re born after that. A retirement planner or tax planner can definitely fill you in more on all the incentives you can get throughout retirement, so don’t disregard that step!


When talking more to residents about why they chose this retirement home in Michigan, they brought up the healthcare system. As you may or may not know, Michigan is ranked very highly in the healthcare department. I unfortunately have seen the healthcare service in action, picking up residents from time to time, but they were always there so quickly, and we were all very appreciative for that, because in situations like that, timing is everything. With great access to healthcare in mind, the great lakes state ranks high in terms of the accessibility to insurance, and as a part of the 2010 affordable care act, Michigan has boosted access to insurance by extending Medicaid to more than 600,000 people according to retirefearless data.

Another thing to consider, as I mentioned before is the housing situation, are you staying in your home? Moving into a retirement community? That decision needs to be heavily considered for your quality of life, but financially as well, and of course I know you’re aware of that. Michigan was always the state known for a low cost of living, and don’t get me wrong, that’s still true to a certain extent, but the pandemic has definitely blown these home prices out of the water, just like in any city or state across the nation. Before you hop across an article that says the average cost of a home in Michigan is 100-150,000 dollars or something, it’s most likely old data or they are averaging the cheapest regions in the state. Just have a conversation with a Michigan Realtor like myself and we can definitely give you the lowdown on home prices, and I can also include the top 10 best places to retire in Michigan, which essentially takes all the top metrics I mentioned earlier in cities around the state. When it comes to finding a home, understand that the average age of a home in Michigan is nearly 50 years old, but understand that a lot of Michiganders take pride in renovating these older homes and making them brand new, while keeping a lot of that old charm in tact, and since you’re retiring I know you probably want some of that waterfront action (i don’t blame you) and the beauty of that (besides the view of course) is that fact holds even more truth when it comes to lake front homes because they hold their value and appreciate much better than a home off the water of course.


With affordable housing in mind, a low cost of living is crucial and that’s something a lot of the residents within the retirement home value. A lot of their day to day is filled with activities outside of the retirement home, so the communities bus gets used quite a bit to take field trips all over the place, and one of the big things that makes this possible is the cost for everyday goods and services aren’t so astronomically high to where residents feel the need to stay within the home all day long. Granted, some communities may make this a part of their monthly fees, others will have them pay on the spot to my knowledge. After doing several comparisons with numerous sources out there judging the cost of living in Michigan versus other states, Michigan averaged a 3%-3.5% lower than national average cost of living, while housing was between 12-14% lower. The utilities are also 1.5-2% lower, but groceries and other necessities are roughly 1% higher than average.


When it comes to retiring, the residents told me that they value views and experiences in their older age, which is something you can’t blame them for. Being located in southeast Michigan like these folks, they’d be easily accessible to their family members to come by and steal them away for a long weekend or few weeks to all the different amazing locations around Michigan, whether it be Traverse city in the wine country, in the upper peninsula to see any possible breathtaking view, Mackinac island or even just to a Tigers, redwings or pistons game. There’s so many different destinations and attractions to visit. ON top of being able to run away to all the different places in Michigan, the state is also known for having the coolest small towns tucked away for some peaceful living. If you’re someone who has worked in a city or overly populated area for years and years I can see you shaking your head in agreement right now, since I’m sure a little calmer and subtle pace may be a little more your style during this time of your life. Either way, you are always just a few miles away from a body of water in the great state of Michigan, so the options are endless. Just know that the more north you go, the more snow you’ll get. With small town living in mind, there’s also plentiful access to urban living if you don’t want that rural lifestyle. Maybe you’re someone who wants to keep up on that social life and have events planned and available every hour of the day, and that's just perfect because there are so many cities in southeast Michigan alone that offer that type of living. And you might be sitting back wondering what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for during your retired years and I actually created a video a little while back about finding your Michigan lifestyle which I bring up in several videos, and it will apply to you too, so be sure to add that to your queue.


Aside from the well known scenery, the different types of living, the recreational opportunities to keep your hobbies going strong, there’s also a great outlook on Michigan’s economy. Maybe you’re someone who could care less about this fact and plan to live out the rest of your life there, or maybe you want to worry about resale, and appreciation simply for the generations of family in front of you. The 2008 recession hit Michigan incredibly hard, and I’m sure you might even remember what you were doing on that day when the economy fell off a cliff. Retirefearless mentioned that since most of the employment opportunities in the state are directly or indirectly linked to automakers, the fall out of the industry led to a sharp decline in employment. However, since then, Michigan has made an incredible economic recovery, leading to a considerable reduction in the unemployment rate. The Mitten state’s economy went from relying on a single industry to becoming home to some of the biggest companies in the world, creating a diverse and dynamic environment. Which is settling news.

Before I let you go, I wanted to bring up the top 10 best places for retirement in Michigan to get your gears turning and this isn’t just limited to southeast Michigan, this is everywhere in the state. Starting off with #1 we have Charlevoix township, #2, Ford river township, #3, Pleasant ridge, #4, Bingham township, #5, Frankenmuth, #6, Bingham farms, #7, Grosse Pointe Farms, #8, Bridgman, #9, Greilickville (probably butchered that pronunciation), and #10, stevensville.

For those of you that made it this far, would you retire in Michigan? Why or why not, drop your thoughts in the comments below. If you need any help buying, selling or investing in the wonderful state of Michigan, don’t hesitate to reach out anytime, I’m happy to be your go to resource.

MENTIONED LINKS: Michigan Lifestyle Video: • DON'T Move To Michigan Until You Watc...



Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the rising stars of Michigan real estate agents. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in Brighton, Michigan.


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