Advisors Can Help Retired Vets With the Location Issue

It’s estimated that by the end of this year, there will be 2.26 million military retirees living in the U.S. and that the number will climb to 2.36 million by 2033.

Plus, at the end of last year, there were 17.9 million veterans in the workforce. Add those figures up and simple probability indicates many advisors count at least one veteran among their clients. Veterans are important clients for advisors on a number of levels, not the least of which is selecting a state in which to reside after they end their military careers.

As detail in a recent WalletHub study, some states are better than others for retired vets. Thanks to advancements in technology and clients’ increasing tech proficiency, advisors shouldn’t be shy about, when appropriate, helping vets mull moves, even if it means that client will leave the advisor’s home state.

“Military families are accustomed to moving, but when it comes time to retire, it can be difficult to decide where to put down roots. For example, veterans must consider state tax policies on military benefits, along with the relative friendliness of different job markets and other socioeconomic factors, when choosing a state in which to settle down. Many retirees also face major struggles including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, disability and homelessness.

Look South for Vet Retirement Destinations

According to WalletHub, the top three states for military retirees are all in the South – South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. That makes sense because each are large hubs for active duty personnel, but they shine bright for retired vets for different reasons.

“South Carolina is the best state for military retirees, in part because it has many policies in place to help veterans,” notes WalletHub. “The state allows businesses to give preferential hiring to veterans, offers academic credit for military service, and has veteran treatment courts, which give services like treatment and mentoring to veterans in the criminal justice system. South Carolina doesn’t tax military pensions, either.”

Alone, the tax benefits on military pensions offered by South Carolina are noteworthy. So is the point that the state scores well in terms of access to healthcare for vets. As for Virginia, the commonwealth is a great place for retired vets because the state already has the third-highest retired military population in the country and its proximity to Washington, DC makes the state attractive for those looking to launch businesses that cater to the military.

“Virginia has a number of policies in place to help veterans, such as programs that help them transition from the military back to civilian life. Virginia also allows veterans to be preferred in hiring, has veteran treatment courts and provides academic credit for military service,” adds WalletHub.

Oddly enough, D.C. scores 48th on the rankings as a retired vets retirement destination.

Don’t Look West

According to the WalletHub rankings, the West isn’t the best region for retired vets as California, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon place, 41, 42, 46, 50 and 51 on the list, respectively.

Nevada and Washington offer the benefit of not having state income taxes, but each scores poorly on quality of life for vets and access to healthcare.

From a cost-of-living perspective, California’s disadvantages for any retiree are well-documented, but its low rank for retired vets is arguably surprising when considering the state is home to the second-largest Marine base (Camp Pendleton) as well as San Diego serving as the home of “Top Gun” and the home port for the Pacific Fleet.

On a related note, Colorado is the home of the Air Force Academy and a variety of that branch’s installations, yet, like California, it scores poorly in terms of veterans’ economic opportunity, quality of life and access to healthcare.

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