Nest Notes

Why Retire in Pennsylvania?

Two woman standing with a bike outside

February 15, 2023

Savvy Americans begin scouting locations for retirement well before the time arrives. Much is written about the sunbelt states, which rather unfairly get a large share of attention thanks to their warmer climates. But there are plenty of reasons many retirees choose Central PA, too. Read on for some highlights defining PA’s popularity among the retired crowd. 

The Climate

Climate considerations are one of the big draws to temperate Central PA, which boasts four distinct seasons. Yes, the winters can get cold, but spring peeks around the corner as soon as one tires of bundling up against the chill. As summer’s heat dwindles, fall’s spectacular colors create quite a show. There’s a fairly low risk of weather-related hazards, too. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, forest fires and other extreme forms of weather are decidedly infrequent, especially in comparison to other regions of the country. 


Financially, Central PA makes a lot of sense for older Americans. A steady economy and housing market are much less volatile than in other parts of the country, so your investment is more protected. Affordability is another factor in the positive column with a lower than median home cost compared to the national average. 

While we’re talking finances, PA provides some tax benefits for older Americans. There’s no state income tax on Social Security or most retirement income. Kiplinger’s PA State Tax Guide states, “Income from a private employer, government, and military retirement plans paid after the taxpayer becomes eligible to retire is exempt.”

Food and clothing are not taxed, and items are taxed at a modest 6%. 

Geographic Location

In terms of geography, PA has an abundance of natural beauty, with lakes, rivers, mountains, forests and all sorts of scenic byways to explore. The Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean aren’t far either. Active adults appreciate being outside every season, skiing, golfing, fishing, hunting, hiking, and boating, among other pursuits. 

The central location is great for travelers. International flights can be caught from the relatively sleepy Harrisburg International Airport. NYC, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and many other mid-Atlantic cities are within half a day’s drive or less. Amtrak’s vast rail network makes leisurely train travel accessible, too.

Quality of Life

Finally, there’s a good quality of life here. Beyond a stunning landscape and a steady financial picture, Central PA ranks 3rd overall in WalletHub’s 52-metric study for quality of life, and 14th overall in “Best States to Live in the US.” Charming towns like perennial “Best Small Town in America,” Lititz, PA and quaint, historic York are close enough to frequent for dinner. Top-notch healthcare, lots of doctors and world-renown hospitals are part of the appeal. 

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