10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina

Written by John Moran

South Carolina has become an increasingly popular state to retire in and it’s easy to see why. The state has generally mild winters and more friendly tax rates especially when it comes to social security. Additionally, its low cost of living and all-round high quality of life is a winner for retirees.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that a lot of first-time or return visitors to this state often come back to set up their retirement homes here. If you are among this category of people, we’ve made a list of ten places within South Carolina that you should consider retiring in.

1. Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach offers its residents a deep vibrant cultural experience. With beautiful wide beaches for you to sunbathe as well as the myriad of art and history museums for you to satisfy the artist in you.

Myrtle Beach also has the best golf courses with a pool of over 120 world-class courses to choose from. Any golf enthusiast will be spoilt for choice There are also a good number of condos for sale in Myrtle Beach at great prices too.

2. Charleston

With its historical charm and primal coastal location, Charleston is an ideal choice for retirees. The city carries a population of just over 400,000 people but the neighborhoods located within the outskirts of the city are home to a decent population of people over the age of 55.

Charleston also boasts of a vibrant cultural and historical scene seeing that it was founded in 1670. If you are into art and history, then the Charleston Museum and the Gibbes Museum of Art among others will give you a good dose of just that.

3. Clemson

This is a city with a lot of historical appeal especially with all the great efforts put into preserving it. It also hosts nearly 17,000 university students which makes it a great place for the young and young at heart.

The large college population also means that the cost of living is relatively low which is great for people living on a pension budget or for people looking to set up business in the area. It also has a large golf course and miles of hiking trails and nature preserves for one to enjoy.

4. Greenville

Greenville is a popular destination many retirees looking to join a budding retirement community. It also provides an energetic city vibe for people to indulge in as they immerse themselves in the food, culture, and socialize with others.

There is a slowly emerging art scene here with many local musicians and artists performing and showing their work at different venues, galleries, and museums. Greenville also experiences great weather all year round and offers many tax reliefs to the elderly, which serve as an incentive for people who are considering retiring there.

5. Aiken

Aiken, or the ‘Winter Colony’, had a population with a median age of 41 in 2017 of which has definitely grown older since meaning it should be a great community to retire in. The average property value of houses in the county fall around $130,000.

Aiken is also a great haven for horse riders as polo games are a favorite pastime activity for the people living there.

6. Hilton Head

Hilton Head is an island famous for its beautiful beaches and state of the art golf and tennis courses. This island is a great retirement area because it has an array of endless activities such as fishing to recreational boating, shopping, and public beach access.

The island’s population has a median age of 58 and so many new condos and beautiful homes are constructed specifically with the retirement community in mind making it a highly ideal choice.

7. Beaufort

Having been named America’s Happiest Seaside Town, Beaufort offers its residents a rich American culture and heritage as well as a great selection of local food.

Chartered in 1711, Beaufort is the second-oldest town in South Carolina. As such, many of the historical sites and homes have been restored and now serve as beautiful tourist attractions for visitors and locals alike to come and experience Beaufort’s rich history.

8. Georgetown

Georgetown is another location that should prove ideal for retirees mainly because of its aging population who have an average age of 50. It also has averagely warm weather all year round that allows its residences the pleasure of going out at any time of the day.

Georgetown also has a lot of amenities that cater directly to the needs of its aging community. In terms of health, about 86% of the population has health coverage.

9. Bluffton

Bluffton, SC, has a mere population of 17,000, and with it comes a great small-town charm not found in many places in South Carolina. This means it’s a fairly easy place to navigate and is ideal for retirees looking to move away from the busy city life.

The average property value in Bluffton is nearly $250,000 with households having an average of 2 cars for commuting. It’s worth pointing out that Bluffton is famous for its oysters that have people from far and wide coming to see.

10. Columbia

As the state capital of South Carolina and home to Columbia University, Columbia offers so much in terms of history, culture, and fun activities. The Riverbanks Zoo, Botanical Gardens, and Lake Murray are all major attractions that are also in close proximity to the city making the commute not only easy but convenient.

The weather is quite warm all year round and with a large group of young and old people alike, Columbia has a rather diverse and vibrant cultural scene. Its many attractive suburbs make it a great option for retirement with homes within the city going for an average price of $185,000 which most people would consider fair despite it being the state capital.

In Summary

Retirement carries different meanings for different people. Whether you are looking to spend your golden years golfing or waking up to the ocean breeze, then South Carolina has it all in-store for you. Whatever you decide to choose, just be sure that it’s tailored to suit your specific needs so you can find peace and relaxation in your retirement.

When and Why Medicare is Right (or Wrong) for You

Written by Carol Trehearn

Medicare is one of those topics that many people know about but don’t really understand.

For instance, you might have heard numerous times that you will qualify for Medicare when you turn 65. While this is correct in general, it does not mean that Medicare is the best and only option for everyone.

With this in mind, let’s take an in-depth look at Medicare and determine when and why someone may, or may not, be eligible and/or should skip signing up for Medicare coverage.

Is 65 Really the Magic Age of Medicare?

When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. For most people, eligibility begins at age 65. In this case, the enrollment window includes the three months before your birthday month, your birthday month, and the three months after. Some people who are younger than 65 can also qualify for Medicare; this includes those with permanent kidney failure and people with certain disabilities.

What If I’m Still Working? Although you will become eligible for Medicare at 65, if you are still working and you have coverage with a group health plan through your employer—and your employer has 20 or more employees, then you don’t have to enroll in Medicare at age 65 unless you want to. But if you work for a small company with fewer than 20 employees, you will need to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B. This also applies if you have coverage through a spouse who is still working.

Enrolling Anyway Might Be Wise

Even if you already have health insurance through your employer and you have no plans to stop working, it might still be a good idea to consider enrolling in Medicare Part A when you turn 65. Medicare Part A is typically free, and this way, you will have it set up and ready to go as a secondary insurance option. It could also help pay for care that your main plan does not fully cover.

Rules Regarding Health Savings Accounts

If you have a health savings account (HSA) through your employer and you plan on continuing to contribute to it, you will not be allowed to do so if you are signed up for Medicare. Unfortunately, people who are enrolled in a Medicare plan cannot make any contributions to an HSA, even if you use the HSA to help cover co-pays and other out of pocket costs that are part of your employer’s health insurance plan. Looking at your monthly medical expenses and how not having an HSA will impact your finances should factor into your Medicare decision.

A Medicare Advantage Plan is Another Option

If you are planning on retiring soon and will no longer be covered at work, Medicare is definitely a great option for your health insurance coverage. While you will qualify for Medicare Part A and Part B, you may also want to look into different Medicare Advantage plans, which are commonly called Medicare Part C. If you are used to having vision and dental coverage as well as help with prescription drug costs, opting for a Medicare Advantage plan can provide you with health coverage that may be similar to what you had through your employer. Through private, Medicare-approved insurers, there are Medicare Advantage PPO and HMO plans; in the case of a PPO plan, you can choose which health care provider you get to see.

Make the Best Decision for You

Like many things in life, health care coverage for older adults is not set in stone. While many people should sign up for Medicare when they celebrate their 65th birthdays, others may wish to hold off until they retire. By doing your research, looking at costs and weighing your options, you will be able to make a well-informed decision about your health insurance.

What Does Retirement Look Like?

Those of us who eventually cross the retirement finish line look forward to happy times pursuing diverse interests we reluctantly set aside while life and responsibility demand their due. And though the hard part is getting there, plenty of challenges await once we don the badge of retirement and strive to adapt to an alien life where each day’s activities are up to our individual preference. This new freedom can be overwhelming especially after decades following the rules, adhering to overpopulated calendar dates. We can do whatever we want for as long as we want. So how exactly does that look?

When I first retired I was pretty excited. No more work stress, no more commuting headaches, no more answering to the whims of those higher in the pecking order. I was free to do my own thing, to let the good times roll. So why not? My wife and I traveled all over the place. I knocked out that massive list of to-do’s I had been compiling for years. I revisited neglected hobbies from piano to gardening to ping pong. I attacked a stack of books amassed for just this time. For a while I was a busy bee happily buzzing from one activity to the next.

Unfortunately, after a year living the retirement dream, something was missing. As a rather organized person (aka obsessive) I found myself reviewing my accomplishments at day’s end. If I did not complete at least a few worthwhile endeavors I felt I had wasted the day. When my wife asked, “what did you do today?” I found myself struggling to offer anything of substance. How exactly do you define “worthwhile”? And worthwhile from whose perspective?

Back on the job quantifying worthwhile was straight forward. Complete the project on time; achieve the quota for the month; sell more this quarter than you did last. The rules were clear and success easily measured.

But once retired, for better or worse, what is worthwhile is not always apparent. Goals are much softer, indeterminant. Success is not so easily measured. Then again, isn’t success in retirement doing what you want, enjoying life and feeling good? Maybe I was overthinking the whole thing. Just go with the flow and don’t worry about impressing anyone. Be happy with living the day and enjoying all it has to offer. Perhaps a bit difficult to quantify? But so what.

With the current COVID situation my wife and I are together pretty much 24/7. Any disagreeable habits will come to the forefront under the spotlight that is daily interaction. But for us the close proximity has not been a problem. We each have our hobbies – she puzzles, attends yoga classes online, quilts, and hikes with select friends; I work out, go for walks, read, garden, and fiddle with the piano. It doesn’t feel like we are stepping on each other’s toes. I hope she feels the same!

And the fact we cannot dine out is no biggie. My wife is an amazing cook and with time on her hands explores new recipes almost daily. We have been eating like royalty and I happily do the dishes.

We have also learned to appreciate each other and what we have. I believe our patience has improved as we navigate a stressful time together. We understand the importance of supporting one another in difficult times, acting as a unified front. But also feel free to explore individual interests. Retired life has taught us it is a lot easier to have fun together if you can also have fun on your own.

We are still figuring it all out. Retirement is in no way stagnant – it is an ever-evolving journey with surprises around every corner. Enjoy yourself!