Learn about retirement in New York, from taxes and income to lifestyle choices

At first glance, New York might seem like an unusual place to retire. However, more and more retirees are considering the Empire State as their ideal place to settle down. Not only can New York offer a bustling city life, but it can also provide beautiful natural landscapes upstate. Before you commit to a move, let's dig into a few pros and cons of retiring in New York.

Key Takeaways:

  • New York is a moderately tax-friendly state for retirees.

  • There are 153 independent living communities in New York state, which can help you meet people.

  • New York experiences all 4 seasons, including a cold and wet winter and a hot, humid summer. Luckily, there are opportunities to spend time outside year-round.

  • Housing and the cost of living are more expensive in New York than in many other states.

  • New York has some of the best health systems in the country.

Benefits and drawbacks of retiring in New York

It’s a good idea to research a state thoroughly when you’re deciding on where to retire. For any state, you should consider its: 

  • Tax-friendliness

  • Retirement communities

  • Cost of living and housing affordability 

  • Climate

  • Healthcare options

We’ll break down each of these categories below.

Retirement taxes in New York

When a state is tax-friendly, it means that it limits income tax, tax on retirement income, or it allows a tax deduction on retirement income. New York is a moderately tax-friendly state for retirees. Here are a few points to keep in mind about its income taxes:

  • Social Security income is not taxed

  • Withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially taxed.

  • Wages are taxed at normal rates, and your marginal state tax rate is 5.5%

  • Public pension income is not taxed, and private pension income is partially taxed. 

New York is considered moderately tax-friendly because while social security and public pension income are not taxed, withdrawals from retirement accounts, private pensions, and wages are taxed.

Some other things to consider are that income from retirement accounts or a private pension is tax-exempt for the first $20,000. If you’re married, each spouse is eligible for up to $20,000 of tax-exempt retirement income, for a total of $40,000 per person. Also, sales and property taxes are relatively high in New York, making the cost of living more expensive.

Best retirement communities in New York state

There are 153 independent living communities in New York state. While finding retirement communities in New York City can be tricky due to space constraints, there are plenty of options outside the city. Some popular destinations for retirees include Saratoga Springs, Great Neck, and Lake Success. In these communities, you can find luxury amenities such as horse racing, spas, restaurants, and easy access to New York City. 

Luckily, New York provides other ways to meet people with similar interests. For example, you can find senior groups in the community that facilitate opportunities to try new cuisines, listen to live music, or roam through the countless museums across the state! 

Retirement Communities in New York City

If you are looking for a retirement community in New York City, you will likely live in an apartment rather than a larger house. The urban location means that your retirement community may be smaller, but you’ll have access to cultural attractions, events, healthcare facilities, and public transportation. Whether you choose to live in or outside the city, retirement communities in New York will allow you to find a social scene that works for your lifestyle. 

Climate and Outdoor Recreation in New York

Climate is an important factor when deciding where to retire. In New York, you'll experience every season. Generally, New York has moderately cold and snowy winters and hot, humid summers with plenty of rain throughout the year. Those who don't want to experience all four seasons might not enjoy the (sometimes harsh) weather. For a sunnier option, you can look into Florida or Arizona

Luckily, New York's climate offers distinct seasonal experiences. In the spring, retirees can enjoy cherry blossom festivals and outdoor dining. Summer brings outdoor concerts, movie screenings, and picnics. Retirees can take scenic drives along the Hudson River or hike through the Adirondacks in the fall. New York is undoubtedly known for its winter when you can visit the various holiday markets throughout the state and enjoy a classic snowy season. 

If you are okay with the changing seasons, New York can be a great place to explore year-round! 

Housing & Cost of Living in New York

New York is one of the most expensive states in the country. In 2023, the median home value in New York was $450,431. In comparison, Florida has a median home value of $387,537. And assisted living communities in NYC can cost as much as $20,000 a month. 

The cost of living in NYC is 68% higher than the national average. In the Hamptons, a popular New York retirement area, the cost of living is 140% higher than the national average.

New York also has a relatively high tax rate. In most states, sales taxes range from 4%-7%. New York, on the other hand, has an average sales tax of 8.875%. Still, there are some ways that New York is tax-friendly for retirees. For example, New Yorkers over 65 may qualify for a reduction on their property taxes. 

New York reliably ranks as one of the highest cost-of-living states every year. However, if you're willing to live outside of NYC, the cost of living decreases.

Quality of Healthcare in New York

While New York ranks 22nd in overall health for older adults, the state has excellent private and public healthcare options. It has an expansive public health system and top-tier hospitals like New York Presbyterian and Mount Sinai. You can find other great hospitals throughout the state, so you can feel comfortable wherever you decide to settle.

About 19% of retirees who live in New York use Medicare. We'll go further into Medicare in New York below.

Medicare in New York

It’s natural that health insurance is top of mind for anyone retiring. Signing up for Medicare in New York is less complicated than you might think. 

There are around 3.8 million Medicare beneficiaries in New York—about half have a Medicare Advantage plan and half have Original Medicare. The great thing about New York is that it has one of the most liberal policies for enrolling in Medicare Supplement plans, so you can get comprehensive coverage more easily.

Choosing the best Medicare plan in New York depends on your unique health and financial circumstances. Our licensed New York Medicare Advisors are here to answer any specific questions and provide personalized advice to help you feel confident in your Medicare coverage. 

Retiring in New York

Many aspects of New York can be appealing to those looking to retire there. However, it's important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of living in New York before you commit. If possible, spend some time across the state to see if it's the right fit for you.

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