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Retiring to Delaware? Yes! But Which Part…

By Vicki Wilkins, in All Communities

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Whether it’s to your delight or dismay, it’s not exactly a secret anymore that Delaware is a retirement oasis. With Kiplinger’s Personal Finance hailing our small state as “one of the most tax-friendly state’s for retirees” and CNBC giving nod to Delaware as “one of the best places to retire,” it stands to reason that people are eager to learn more about Delaware living and the perks of retiring here.

At Parkside, I often get folks that visit our models from areas like New Jersey and New York who have made the decision to sell their homes so that they can retire in Delaware.  Whether it’s their first visit, or they have repeatedly trekked up and down the state, I start by asking them what part of the state they are considering on settling down in for retirement: the northern part (New Castle County) or the southern part (Sussex County). At this point, it’s not uncommon for them to admit that they can’t decide between settling in the northern, more urban part of the state or in the more coastal, southern portion of Delaware.  The scenario is a common one: they are torn about which part of Delaware they envision beginning the next chapter of their lives.  Having lived and worked in both New Castle County and Sussex County, I can see how this can be a difficult decision to grapple with; after all, both areas offer extremely attractive, each with their own alluring appeals.

When homeowners choose Middletown, which is located in New Castle County, it is usually for its prime, central location. Folks love that they can travel to the beach in about an hour, while still maintaining close proximity to the major East Coast cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York.   These cities are rich in culture, with ample sports attractions and endless dining and shopping experiences.  They also boast major airports, such as Philadelphia International and BWI, which are centrally located for all of their traveling needs.  The other reason I frequently hear a final vote for Middletown is the desire to be near their children and grandchildren.  With many working families juggling a career with raising children, it is a nice bonus to have mom and dad nearby to help them out with the grandchildren.

In southern Delaware, there is nothing quite like living near the beach. It’s rare to hear any grumbling from retirees who decided to opt for close proximity to the ocean, most likely because they soon discover the relaxed lifestyle that accompanies the scenic coast.   They call it slower-lower for a reason!   It won’t take you long to acclimate yourself to less hustle and bustle.   Yes, there is tourist traffic for a few months out of the year, but this is an easy tradeoff for beach living.The relaxed, coastal lifestyle is also complemented by the rich culture the area boasts, along with the wide variety of dining, nightlife, and shopping, which includes a collection of locally-owned boutiques as well as the Tanger Outlets.

So whether it is Northern Delaware or Southern Delaware, the entire state is a great choice for retirees. Still not convinced? Here’s a refresher on some of the tax benefits you’ll enjoy regardless of where you choose to retire in Delaware:

  • Low real estate taxes
  • Social Security benefits are not taxed
  • No state or local sales tax
  • No inheritance tax
  • State income tax ranges from 2.2% to 6.6%
  • Railroad Retirement benefits are exempt and taxpayers over 60 years may exclude $12,500 of investment and qualified pension income.
  • Up to $12,500 of retirement income is tax exempt for those who are 60 and older.