9 Compelling Reasons for Retiring in Montana

Planning a dream retirement?

Look no further than the breathtaking landscapes and peaceful charm of Montana!

With its captivating mountain views and famous Glacier National Park, the state offers outdoor activities that will keep your adventurous spirit alive. 

But beyond the outdoor wonders that make Montana a retiree’s paradise, it also boasts a colorful history and friendly communities that embrace a close-knit but rugged spirit.

Plus, the taxes are reasonable!

If you’re yearning for a retirement experience that combines natural beauty, relative affordability, and a welcoming community, Big Sky Country is calling your name.

Let’s embark on this epic adventure together and make your retirement dreams come true!

Reasons to Retire in Montana

An Elderly Couple Sitting on a Park Bench in Montana

From tranquil, picturesque landscapes and farm-to-table cuisine to vibrant retirement communities and a culturally rich backdrop, Montana has all the elements for your dream retirement.

Let’s explore the reasons to consider retiring in this beautiful state. 

1. Montana’s Scenic and Peaceful Landscapes

A Scenic Lake Surrounded by Mountains in Montana

If you’re a retiree looking for a better way of life, Montana is a great choice.

Here, you can enjoy each day at a slower pace, soaking up the sun, spending time with loved ones, and living a relaxed life.

Montana is famous for its natural beauty, with stunning landscapes that include the amazing Rocky Mountains and the famous Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

It’s like a dream come true for retirees, offering peaceful surroundings and beautiful views for people who want to relax.

When it comes to finding the best places to retire in the state, a few places stand out.

Whitefish is known for its luxury feel and offers impressive mountain views and the nearby Whitefish Lake.

Larger cities like Bozeman and Billings have a modern vibe, with family-friendly neighborhoods and lots of exciting things to do.

No matter where you pick to retire in Montana, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful nature.

From its cities to its vast ranch lands, the state’s beauty shines all year round, even in winter when the mountains are covered in snow.

2. Montana’s Varied Recreational Opportunities

Snow-Capped Mountains in Glacier National Park Montana

Montana ensures seniors are never bored with an assortment of recreational opportunities at their fingertips.

This expansive state boasts an array of outdoor activities to keep retirees engaged and entertained throughout the year.

Among the must-see spots for outdoor lovers is Glacier National Park, which boasts numerous hiking and biking trails.

These trails provide the opportunity to experience stunning mountain ranges, serene lakes, and diverse wildlife, creating boundless options for hiking, mountain biking, boating, and fishing adventures.

During the winter months, Big Sky, Montana beckons to snow lovers.

Home to the renowned Big Sky Resort, it’s a haven for skiing and snowboarding, adding an extra thrill to the state’s snow-covered peaks.

Over at Bozeman, Bridger Bowl calls out to ski enthusiasts who are up for experiencing more stimulating terrain.

Older adults seeking a more relaxed pace within city limits also have plenty of activities to enjoy.

Engaging with the cityscape, capturing photographs, and connecting with the local community are some of the gentler outdoor entertainment options for Montana retirees.

Not only do these activities help ensure an active and healthy lifestyle, but they also create opportunities to bond with fellow nature enthusiasts.

3. Montana’s Locally Sourced Food

Two Deer in Montana

When you think of Big Sky Country, the first thing that may come to mind is its breathtaking natural beauty.

But what people may not immediately realize is that Montana boasts a thriving food culture focused on locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients.

With numerous farms and abundant wildlife, including bison, elk, and deer, you’ll always have a ready supply of fresh fruits and vegetables for your cooking needs.

One of the joys of retiring in Montana is the pleasure of enjoying local restaurants where you’ll savor the freshest ingredients.

From farm-to-table eateries to cozy cafes, the state’s culinary scene is a delightful surprise.

You can feast on hearty dishes made with fish and game, and indulge in dishes that highlight the flavors of the season.

During August through September, locals love gathering wild Huckleberries that thrive in certain parts of the state.

Sweet and tart huckleberries are a true Montana delicacy, and you’ll find them featured in pies, jams, and even cocktails.

As we age, it becomes increasingly vital to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise.

The state’s reputation for locally-sourced food can contribute to your wholesome eating habits.

With fresh, organic produce readily available, you can nourish your body with the best nature has to offer. 

4. Montana’s Reliable Healthcare Services

A Woman in a Wheelchair Being Helped by Caregivers in Montana

When planning for retirement, one of the most essential aspects to consider is access to top-notch medical care.

While it’s true that healthcare options may be fewer outside big cities, that doesn’t mean you can’t acquire reliable healthcare services in The Treasure State.

Urban areas like Billings, Bozeman, and Kalispell boast quality healthcare facilities that can cater to your medical needs.

Montana was ranked among the best states for retirement by CNN Money and Bankrate in 2014.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the state’s attributes, which include ample space, large lakes, and the esteemed Kalispell Regional Medical Center, one of the state’s premier hospitals.

With hospitals, clinics, and specialized care centers scattered throughout the state, Montanans have access to the healthcare they need to maintain their well-being.

Planning for future health needs is crucial, and having immediate access to reliable healthcare services can significantly impact one’s retirement experience. 

5. Montana’s Tax-Advantageous Retirement

An Old Couple in Montana Looking at a Laptop

When it comes to retirement destinations, Big Sky Country has a secret advantage that not many people are aware of – its relatively tax-friendly environment. 

Let’s talk numbers.

Montana boasts a lower overall tax burden compared to the United States as a whole.

First, their income tax rates are capped at 6.65%, which is notably lower than many other states.

But here’s where it gets even better – certain portions of social security payments and pensions remain untaxed.

That means no tax on your hard-earned retirement income.

What’s more, Montana has no sales tax whatsoever.  Imagine being able to keep more of your money when making everyday purchases.

But it doesn’t stop there – the state offers relatively low taxes on residential real estate.

Montana’s average effective property tax rate is a mere 0.74%, well below the U.S. average of 0.99%.

This means you can enjoy the state’s beauty without worrying about high property taxes eating into your retirement savings.

As a retiree, the value you gain from your money is a vital consideration for maintaining comfort throughout your later years.

Montana’s tax advantages, combined with its low population density and cost-effective retirement options, make it an attractive choice for those seeking financial stability. 

6. Montana’s Reasonably Manageable Cost of Living

A Woman Talking to an Elderly Woman at a Farmers’ Market in Montana

Montana’s cost of living is 6% lower than the national average, and the state offers a welcome relief from the financial pressures of pricier states.

Peace of mind comes with living in a place where your hard-earned dollars can stretch further.

The state’s affordable lifestyle is evident in various aspects of daily living.

For instance, utility bills are almost 10% below the national average, meaning you can enjoy the same comfort without breaking the bank.

When it comes to transportation, CNN Money ranked Montana among the cheapest states in 2014.

Whether you’re exploring picturesque landscapes or visiting friends and family, you can do so without worrying about exorbitant costs.

Of course, it’s important to note that the term “affordable” is balanced by Montana’s housing market.

The state’s median home price is $440,339, which slightly exceeds the national average of $410,200.

However, retirees who don’t plan on settling in expensive neighborhoods like Bozeman, Billings, or Whitefish can still find reasonably priced options in smaller towns or cities across the state.

7. Montana’s Welcoming and Sociable Communities

An Elderly Couple Talking to a Woman on a Bench in Montana

Montana’s welcoming and sociable communities are one of the state’s hidden treasures.

Montanans are known for their genuine hospitality, making it easy to strike up conversations with strangers.

It’s common to see people calling out to each other for help with everyday tasks or any small needs.

Montana’s sense of community is especially beneficial for seniors who may need assistance with grocery shopping, taking out the trash, or lifting heavy things.

Whether you choose to retire in a bustling urban area or a quiet rural town, you’ll find a strong sense of community that embraces newcomers with open arms.

It’s this tight-knit feeling of belonging that sets Montana apart and makes it an ideal place for those seeking acceptance and a supportive community.

You’ll find these welcoming communities scattered throughout the state’s urban and rural areas. 

Prime retirement destinations in Montana, like Bozeman, Kalispell, Billings, and Deer Lodge, boast a particularly strong sense of togetherness that seniors need. 

8. Montana’s Colorful Historical Background

Inside a Cathedral in Montana

As we enter our golden years, a desire to connect with the past often stirs within us.

Montana’s rich history and colorful background provide the perfect gateway to explore bygone eras and embrace the stories that have shaped the state.

From the magnificent Cathedral of St. Helena to the awe-inspiring Montana State Capitol, architectural heritage offer opportunities for seniors to immerse themselves in history.

Museums like the Museum of the Rockies and the stately Moss Mansion provide glimpses into Montana’s captivating past, allowing visitors to experience the lives of those who came before.

Learning and exploration have no time limit, and they’re especially important for seniors because they keep the mind active and sharp.

For retirees seeking a fresh and enriching perspective, discovering Montana’s towns and cities is an adventure in its own right.

9. Montana’s Retirement Communities

A Group of Elderly People on a Porch in Montana

Montana’s thriving retirement communities can be found in cities like Bozeman, Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, and Great Falls.

Each place offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure and retiree-friendly neighborhoods.

In Bozeman, for instance, the Bozeman Lodge provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for active adults looking to embrace the beauty of this vibrant city.

With its stunning mountain views and charming downtown area, Bozeman offers a perfect balance between an active lifestyle and a close-knit community feeling.

In Missoula, Holiday Grizzly Peak offers retirees a chance to enjoy the benefits of one of Montana’s best cities to live in, all within a friendly and helpful community setting.

For those seeking a retirement community in the heart of the stunning Flathead Valley, Kalispell’s Immanuel Lutheran Communities is a top choice.

Surrounded by mountain ranges and in proximity to Glacier National Park, this beautiful city offers an abundance of outdoor activities and a sense of belonging.

Retirees can also find comfort and convenience at Holiday Hunter’s Pointe in Helena, the capital city.

Here, they can enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle and immerse themselves in the vibrant historical and art scene the city has to offer. 

Choosing Montana’s independent living communities, in particular, lets seniors enjoy life to the fullest without worrying about home maintenance and other issues that come with living alone.

Montana’s Top Retirement Locations

Sunset Over a Field With Flowers in Montana
source: flickr.com

When it comes to retiring in Montana, several top-notch locations offer a perfect blend of beauty, history, and community.

Let us guide you through some of the best places to retire in The Treasure State.

City% Population over 65Median Home ValueHospitals (within 25 miles)Good Reason to Retire
Deer Lodge32.5%$223,8042Strong history, museums, thriving community of retirees
Helena19.3%$244,3003Relaxing historic atmosphere
Missoula12.8%$279,7003Museums, shops, architecture
Billings16.6%$221,1002State parks all over the largest city
Kalispell17.1%$233,5003Retiree-friendly atmosphere, rural feel
Bozeman9.2%$365,6001Outdoor recreation hub
Butte18.7%$150,6003Lively history, mining town
Great Falls18.4%$176,5002Haven for nature enthusiasts

No matter which Montana city you choose to retire, you’ll find a unique sense of belonging, natural beauty, and a community that embraces the pleasure of living life to the fullest.

Montana Retirement Final Thoughts

A woman sits on a bench, peacefully retiring in Paradise Valley, Montana, while overlooking a breathtaking river and mountains.

Montana provides retirees with the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, history, and outdoor activities, thanks to its beautiful landscapes and various recreational options.

Iconic places like Whitefish Lake and Glacier National Park invite seniors to explore the natural wonders that offer a peaceful environment for relaxation.

What makes Montana even more special are its friendly communities and vibrant retirement residences like Bozeman Lodge, Holiday Grizzly Peak, and Immanuel Lutheran Communities.

Paired with its appealing tax advantages for seniors and the opportunity to relish locally sourced culinary delights, the state offers a blend that ensures top-notch retirement and a revived zest for life.

Montana Retirement FAQs

1. Is Montana or Wyoming Better to Retire In?

Montana offers retirees plenty of room to roam with its vast landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities, and the lack of a sales tax is a perk.

On the other hand, Wyoming is a top choice for tax-conscious retirees, with low living costs and a low crime rate (234 for every 100,000 residents) according to government statistics.

Wyoming tends to be the better state to retire in, but it’s important to consider your priorities in terms of tax implications, cost of living, and community dynamics when making your decision.

2. Is It Expensive to Retire in Montana?

The cost of retiring in Montana can vary, often based on the specific location you choose.

Montana’s average home price ($440,339) in 2023 is higher than the national average ($410,200), but retirees can still acquire affordable housing outside of expensive neighborhoods in places like Whitefish, Bozeman, and Billings.

Furthermore, counteracting the high housing cost is the state’s lower cost of living (6% below the national average), reduced utility bills (10% under the typical nationwide level), generally affordable transportation costs, and the absence of a sales tax.

3. Is Montana a Good State for Retirement?

Yes, Montana is generally a good state for retirement because of the following:

  • relatively low cost of living and favorable tax structure for seniors
  • beautiful cities with large senior populations that offer a close-knit and friendly community.
  • awe-inspiring natural scenery, from stunning mountain ranges to tranquil lakes and rivers
  • thriving retirement communities
  • reliable healthcare services, particularly in urban areas

4. Do Retirees Pay Taxes in Montana?

Yes, Montana retirees are subjected to taxation on their Social Security retirement benefits, though the taxed amount could differ from the federal taxable sum.

It’s worth mentioning that Railroad Retirement benefits are not subject to taxation in the state.

Moreover, there’s positive news for retirees planning to move to Montana – beginning in 2023, specific pension and annuity income could receive a partial exemption, offering potential tax advantages. 

5. Why Are People Retiring to Montana?

People are retiring to Montana for several reasons, among them:

  • lack of a sales tax and reasonably low property tax rates
  • scenic landscapes and abundant recreational opportunities
  • presence of thriving retirement communities in the state’s most livable cities like Kalispell, Bozeman, and Missoula

Discover more of Montana’s hidden treasures through these compelling reads:

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Written by:

Elizabeth Hawley
Hey, fellow travelers! I'm Elizabeth Hawley, stepping into the world in the hues of fall. For me, Montana is more than just a state; it's a muse. The golden aspen trees and russet landscapes in the fall have always fueled my creativity. Co-founding PocketMontana.com was a no-brainer, blending my love for art, photography, and Montana's ever-changing palette.

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