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How to Retire in North Carolina

Do you dream of retiring and spending the rest of your days relaxing and enjoying life in beautiful surroundings? If so, retirement in North Carolina may be for you.

Why North Carolina?

Low cost of living

When you retire, you’ll likely be on a fixed income, so a low cost of living will help make the most of your savings. Overall, the cost of living in North Carolina is below the national average, although it does depend on the area you choose to retire in.

Even in the more expensive areas such as Asheville, Charlotte, or Raleigh, you are going to get more bang for your buck than you would in many other states.

The landscape

North Carolina is one of the most beautiful states in the country. No matter where you live in North Carolina, you’re only a day away from the beach or the mountains.

Visit the Great Smoky Mountains, Chimney Rock State Park, or Grandfather Mountain in the western part of the state, or head east to experience the southern charm of the towns of Moore County, or Wilmington, New Bern, and the Outer Banks. With over 300 miles of barrier island beaches, you’re sure to find a little piece of paradise to call your own.

The climate

Retirement in North Carolina will enable you to get a taste of all 4 seasons. Summers are hot with temperatures usually hovering in the 90s. The humidity is mostly bearable outside of the occasional warm week in August.

Winter temperatures rarely fall below the 20s, and a few snow or ice storms per season are just enough. By the time you begin to tire of it, it’s gone.

Though it often starts with a deluge of pine pollen, spring in North Carolina is bright and fresh. You can’t help but want to be outdoors, experiencing the sunshine and cool breeze.

And Autumn brings with it beautiful and vibrant colors—for some of the best views the state has to offer, consider a car ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Activities for everyone

Do you love playing golf? Try one of the over 400 golf courses the state has to offer, including the famous Pinehurst No 2.

If you prefer arts and entertainment, a visit to the Triangle or Charlotte will provide plenty of opportunities, from shopping to museums, music to performing arts.

Are you a sports fan? North Carolina is host to professional sports teams including the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

Visit Raleigh/Durham, the mecca of NCAA Basketball, where Duke, the University of North Carolina, and NC State go head to head in heated rivalries.

How to Get There

Retirement in North Carolina sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Here are some tips on how to make it happen.

Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k)

You’re probably already familiar with a 401(k). If your company offers one, be sure to make the most of it. In many cases, your employer will match up to a certain percentage of your contributions, so you should invest at least the full amount your employer is willing to match. If you don’t, you’re leaving money on the table.

The best way to guarantee your discipline with your retirement savings is to set up an auto draft from your paycheck. The money will be deposited directly into your account every pay period, and you don’t even have to think about it.

Unless you find yourself in extreme circumstances, refrain from withdrawing any of the funds from your 401(k) until you retire. Otherwise, you will be subject to penalties that will nullify much of your contributions.

Open an IRA

Even if your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) or if you’re self-employed, there are still ways to save for retirement. Traditional IRA’s and Roth IRAs can be set up to help you save for retirement.  Traditional IRA’s allow you to put pre-tax dollars away and accumulate the earning tax deferred.  When you withdraw from the Traditional IRA the funds will be subject to taxes.

Roth IRA’s offer plans that allow funds to be deposited after they are taxed. The funds accumulate tax free and they are not subject to taxes when they are withdrawn from the account.

Regardless of whether or not you are contributing to a 401(k) plan, an IRA or a Roth IRA might a good idea. Start by maxing out your contributions to the 401(k), at least up to the point that your employer will match.

Live the dream

A relaxing retirement in North Carolina is well within reach. Depending on your age, you may have to contribute a higher percentage of your income to retirement savings in order to make your goals a reality. The most important thing is to create a plan and stick to it.

Just remember, the sacrifices you make now will be worth it when you’re taking in the breathtaking sites of the Great Smoky Mountains or standing at the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

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