Tags: Retirement | retirement | Alaska | cost of living

Retirement Cost of Living in Alaska

By    |   Saturday, 30 May 2015 12:41 PM

Retiring in Alaska can prove to be a pricey endeavor with everything from food to utility costs that are many times higher than what you'd pay for the same expenses in the 48 contiguous United States. Overall, it costs about 34 percent more to live in Alaska than in mainland states, but some things, like utilities, average about 50 percent higher than in other parts of the country, while food is about 37 percent more expensive, according to a report by MarketWatch.

Why is the cost of living in Alaska so high? Well mostly it's due to Alaska's location. Because the state is detached from the mainland by thousands of miles, goods must travel much farther to get here, which increases their cost. Additionally, utility costs in Alaska are so high due to the remoteness of many towns that require much more work to lay power lines.

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To keep costs down, consider moving to a city like Fairbanks, where goods and services will be cheaper than in a rural area. "Fairbanks' cost of living is lower than most other Alaskan communities. From a national standpoint, it has a similar cost of living to Boston, Massachusetts," states the Come to Fairbanks website, which is run by the city's economic development division.

Other retirement living costs that can be high include accessing a hospital in an emergency. Unless you choose to live in Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau, access to hospitals can be very limited, and in some of the most remote regions "getting to a good hospital may mean a three-hour ride in a tiny plane," according to MarketWatch.

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Low taxes, however, are one plus from a cost perspective when considering retirement in Alaska. "Alaska is a tax haven for retirees. Alaska has no income tax or sales tax, and the state doesn't tax pension or Social Security income," according to U.S News & World Report, which ranked Alaska as one of its top bets for retirees from a tax perspective.

Another perk to retiring in Alaska is that Alaskan permanent residents are paid a stipend to live in the state, thanks to the Alaska Permanent Fund. The fund gives a percentage of oil and mineral revenues earned in the state back to the community each year. How much residents get depends on how well the fund performs on a given year, but checks usually average between $1,000 and $2,000 per person.

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Retiring in Alaska can prove to be a pricey endeavor with everything from food to utility costs that are many times higher than what you'd pay for the same expenses in the 48 contiguous United States.
retirement, Alaska, cost of living
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2015-41-30
Saturday, 30 May 2015 12:41 PM
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