Elderly people

Georgia's House Study Committee on Innovative Financial Options for Senior Living will hold a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 17.

When it comes to tax bases and the cost of living, Georgia is one of the best states for retirees.

A recent report by the business publication Kiplinger ranks Georgia as the third best state to retire.

Seniors in Georgia can qualify for tax breaks on their property, social security and retirement income.

About 13 percent of Georgia’s 10 million residents are 65 and older, according to the U.S Census Bureau. With rent ranging at 21 percent of the median income and mortgages around 31 percent, the cost of living seems affordable for most residents. 

Georgia’s median income is $52,977, which puts the cost of living 7 percent below the U.S. average, according to Kiplinger. However, the median income for seniors is around $50,000. The median rent in the state is $927 and the median mortgage is $1,351, according to the U.S. Census.

Plus seniors in Georgia qualify for retirement-income exclusion during tax season for up to $35,000 or $65,000. Income such as pensions, annuities, interest, dividends, IRA, 401Ks, capital gains, royalties and pensions can be exempted, so can the first $4,000 of earned income in the tax year.

Social Security benefits are not taxed in Georgia, so retirees can take home their entire checks. The national maximum social security amount for 2020 is projected to be $783, according to the federal agency’s website. 

Homeowners who are 62 and older who earn less than $10,000 also can be exempted up to the same amount off of their property's assessed value. Homestead exemption is doubled for people who are 65 and older and earn $10,000 or less.

However, seniors face a huge barrier when it comes to health care in Georgia. According to Kiplinger, the average health care cost for a retired couple is below the national average at $404,460. WalletHub, the personal finance website, ranks Georgia’s capital, Atlanta, 82nd among the places for health care for seniors in the nation. Other major Georgia cities like Augusta and Columbus ranked 155 and 179 respectfully.

WalletHub’s rankings were based on the number of physicians, dentists, gerontologists, nurses and physical therapists available per 10,000 residents. Life expectancy and emotional health also play into those numbers. It also weighed in the number of health care and home-care facilities per person.

Georgia is facing a crisis when it comes to assisted-living care, The Center Square reported. 

The population of Georgians who are 65 and older will grow to 2.9 million by 2040, according to the U.S. Census. The greatest rate of growth is expected to be among adults who are 85 and older. 

Contrary to its tax-friendly report, WalletHub ranks Georgia as the 30th best place to retire based on the combination of its health care status, affordability and quality of life.

WalletHub ranks Georgia 13th as far as affordability, 40th for quality of life and 42 for health care for seniors.

 

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.