South Carolina: Best Place to Retire

If mild winters, low taxes, plenty of recreational activity, and low cost of living sound appealing to you, then the Palmetto State is the best place for you to retire!

TAXES. All residents at age 65 are eligible for a deduction of up to $15,000 from income, regardless of the source. Social security and most disability payments are not taxable. People over 65 can exclude $50,000 of market value from property taxes. South Carolina does not collect inheritance taxes or estate taxes.

COST OF LIVING.  According to the Tax Foundation, SC has the 37th highest tax burden in the nation. Per capita income (in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars) is well below the national average. The statewide average median home price in South Carolina is $121,800 (as reported by Zillow) while the national average (as reported by the US Census) is $218,200.

At age 65, you can apply for Social Security whether planning to retire or not (may apply 3 months prior to Social Security retirement age). You can also apply for Medicare (automatically eligible if qualify for Social Security benefits).
Part A – hospital insurance – free.
Part B – other medical services, which require a monthly premium. There is a penalty for late enrollment.
Medicare pays 80% of allowable charges after deductible. Individual must pay remaining 20% and any other additional charges.
Part D – Prescription drug benefit, effective January 2006.
**May be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments depending on resources and income. If you are eligible for SSI, you automatically receive Medicaid.

AUTO INSURANCE. Automobile insurance credit is mandated for persons who are 55 years of age or older and have successfully completed a driver training course approved by the Department of Public Safety. Contact local 55 Alive program through AARP.

EDUCATION. At age 65, free tuition at all state supported educational institutions that include state universities, colleges, and technical schools (subject to space restrictions and usual entrance requirements). To be eligible you cannot receive compensation as a full-time employee.

CLIMATE. South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

HUNTING & FISHING LICENSE. State residents at age 64 may buy $9 senior lifetime licenses that include hunting and fishing privileges.

RECREATION. Lakes, rivers, mountains, and the ocean! With 368 golf courses, 47 state parks, and over 400 annual festivals- the possibilities are endless!

For more information on retiring in South Carolina, please contact Hope Dorn with ERA Realty at 803-944-9544 or

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