5. Florida – Specifically Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and the Panhandle region.
Though people joke that the Sunshine State is “God’s Waiting Room” because so many older people like to retire there, it’s also a great place for young military retirees and veterans to establish themselves.
With no state tax and lots of military installations, veterans will find plenty of federal jobs, easy access to healthcare and base amenities, a balmy year-round climate, more than 600 miles of beaches and more golf courses than any other state.
When Nathan Ferguson retired from the Air Force, he and his wife Lisa decided to settle in Florida’s Space Coast, near where Nathan was raised. For them, the warm weather, no state income tax and great schools were the most compelling reasons.
4. Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Va.
Veterans love the Norfolk area because of the oodles of federal and government contract jobs and because the people there are as patriotic as can be. Veterans can zip right over to one of the bases and enjoy access to base amenities and a VA hospital.
The climate is temperate and the housing is downright affordable. The state does tax military pensions (shame on you, Virginia!) but they make up for it by having some great restaurants and shopping, beautiful beaches and a super-convenient location that makes it easy to visit friends in family in both the northeastern and southeastern states.
3. Colorado Springs, Colo.
If you like the outdoors, you’ll love Colorado Springs. Skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, they’ve got all of that and then some.
Add in that the city is home to several military installations and Colorado Springs gives veterans a vast support network and potential job market.
Yes, we know it’s a state (and a darn big one, at that!) and not a city, but so many Texas cities make the “best places for veterans” lists that we thought we’d roll them all into one and save some space on our list for other places.
The best cities in Texas for veterans?
Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and San Angelo.
These cities make the top 10 of nearly every ‘best places for veterans’ list – and with good reason: Texas is home to several large military installations, so veterans have easy access to DoD healthcare, pharmacies and on-base shopping, as well as civilian jobs on the installation. Moreover, Texans tend to be on the patriotic side and they love them some veterans. The state has no income tax and enjoys a great sunbelt climate.
Navy spouse Loree Tillman’s husband is getting ready to retire and she says Houston is calling them home. “It’s where I’m from and my family is here,” she said. “I’ve seen reports that Houston is great for veterans and the job market.”
1. Oklahoma City, Okla.
Maybe you’ve never considered settling in the Sooner State. Maybe you don’t even know what a ‘Sooner’ is (that’s okay, we don’t either), but OKC regularly tops all the lists of the best places for military veterans and retirees because of the city’s extremely low unemployment rate and the fact that Tinker Air Force Base is the area’s largest employer, which means there are a plethora of government jobs there.
Better still, the cost of living there is about 9 percent lower than the national average.
*The states that don’t tax military retirement pay are Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey (if someone is over 62), New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Many other states have some type of tax credit for retirees, but are not fully tax free.
Something else to consider transition out of military life – help your spouse with the best resources possible, especially if he or she is wondering what the heck to do next as a veteran. Visit GIJobs.com for jobs for veterans and resources for your transitioning veteran!
This article has been modified to meet updated editorial standards at Military Spouse, which may include the augmentation of material that reflects the expertise and experiences of our staff.