Where Do We Go Now, Sweet Spouse of Mine?
As military spouses we’re accustomed to being told where we’ll live. From the desert to the mountains, Alaska to Arkansas, we get orders and make the best of it.
But then the day comes when our spouse’s military career ends and we finally get to choose where to live.
When it comes to post-military life, not all cities and states are equal. With that in mind, we’ve scoured the internet for information on the best places for veterans and retirees to call home, and came up with this list.
10. Your Home or Your Spouse’s Home
Yes, it may not provide the best tax breaks or jobs, but the best place to call home is often the place where you grew up.
“We decided to settle back home in Indiana,” said Sarah Austin, whose husband previously served in the Army. “After living all across the country, we learned that the cliche ‘there’s no place like home,’ rang true.”
But if you’re not inclined to move to your home town, or you grew up in a military family and don’t think of any city as your home, you might consider settling in …
9. Your last duty station.
Odds are, you’re already living near a military installation now, which means there are likely government jobs and a civilian population that likes having veterans around.
“We’ve decided to settle in Fayetteville, N.C., (for now) as my husband was accepted into the Physicians Assistant Program at Methodist University,” said Ashlee Cleveland, whose husband left the Army after serving last at Fort Bragg, N.C. “It is nice to work with a school who appreciates veterans. That, and I love my job – so Fayetteville was an easy choice for us!“
After Heather Sargent’s husband was medically retired from the Marine Corps, her family decided to stay in Carteret County, N.C. – between Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point – because they had so many good friend and connections there. “We didn’t move back to Connecticut because we wanted to make sure he was close to veteran support systems that would know what he was dealing with and there was no way we could afford to move back North on his disability pension,” she said.
8. Manchester, N.H.
The only New England city that repeatedly makes ‘best for vets’ lists, the experts say Manchester is a great place to settle down because there are plenty of defense contract jobs there and the city has an extremely low unemployment rate.
And not just for the cheesesteaks (but, oh how we love the cheesesteaks!). The City of Brotherly Love has about 4 million residents, so you’ll find every big city amenity in Philly and you’ll find lots of federal and government contract and military skill jobs.
There’s also no state tax on military retirement pay, very low sales tax, and many affordable housing options, which can be hard to find in New England.
The area also offers military retirees local access to a VA medical center and a nearby military base, and there’s zero state tax on military retirement pay.
Karen Francis’ husband retired recently from the Army and they’re currently planning a move to Pennsylvania. She explained their decision, saying, “We found a perfect house for my husband’s new photography business and Pennsylvania doesn’t tax military pensions. Plus it is more affordable than here in Maryland or Virginia.”
6. Madison, Wis.
With a low unemployment rate, low sales tax, no tax on military retirement pay and low housing costs – what’s not to love about Madison? (Well, the weather … it gets really cold there in the winter!)
Madison also offers a number of federal jobs and has a VA medical center. And we suspect – but we don’t know for fact – that the locals have really great senses of humor. Madison is the birthplace of The Onion.