How is Virginia for retirement?

Is a Virginia retirement for you? Explore your retirement options in Virginia, from property, pension, and state taxes, to wonderful towns to look at.

4 min read

If you’re looking for a little bit of everything in your retirement, consider Virginia. From its beautiful and generally pleasant four-season climate, right through to friendly faces, fantastic medical care, and plenty of cultural, arts, and academic opportunities, you will have a busy and enjoyable retirement in the Old Dominion.

Virginia is a good state for retirees. The state exempts Social Security income from state income taxes. However, other retirement income sources like 401(k), IRAs, and pensions are subject to state income taxes, but you won’t pay state income taxes if your total retirement income is below $12,000. Also, there are age deductions of up to $12,000 if you are age 65 or older. With a reasonably low sales tax, low property taxes, and a low cost of living, you will find plenty of ways to stretch your retirement budget in this state.

Is Virginia Tax-Friendly for Retirement?

Virginia is rather tax-friendly for retirees. The exempts Social Security benefits from state income taxes, while other retirement incomes like 401(k), private/public pension, and IRA withdrawals are taxed. Luckily, unlike its other neighbors like North Carolina and Ohio, this is only a partial tax, and there are generous deductions.

Retirees can claim up to $12,000 a year in tax deductions. The deduction drops by $1 for every dollar your federal AGI rises above $62,000 ($87,000 for joint filers). Above this deductible limit, tax rates are as follows

Over $17,000 taxable income: 5.75%

Over $5,000, under $17,000: 5%

Over $3,000, under $5,000: 3%

Under $3,000: 2%

Be aware that capital gains are taxed as regular income in Virginia.

How Much Are Sales Taxes in Virginia?

Virginia has a general sales tax rate of 4.3%, while counties and cities collect an additional sales tax of up to 0.7%. This makes Virginia one of the states with the lowest sales taxes in the US. While groceries are taxed (at a lower rate of 2.5%), both OTC and prescription medicine are exempt from sales taxes. The gasoline tax of $0.26 per gallon is also relatively low. There are no inheritance or estate taxes.

How Much Are Property Taxes in Virginia?

Virginia’s property taxes are lower than the national average at 0.75%. Property values in Western Virginia are pretty low, with most homeowners paying under $1,000 in property taxes annually. However, in the more popular Washington D.C. metro area and some cities, this will rise to about $2,000 as most property values are over $200,000.

Almost all counties/cities in Virginia have property tax relief in place for senior homeowners. Typically, these reliefs apply to over-65s and homeowners with disabilities. Additionally, low-income earners are exempt from property taxes.

Pros of Retiring in Virginia

Great Healthcare

Virginia scores in the top 10 for every healthcare metric. If you are hoping to age as gracefully as possible, this is sure to be a comforting fact.

Low Crime Rate

Virginia is currently rated the 6th-safest US state. Virginia’s property crime is particularly low, at 16.4 per 1000 people (vs. the national average of 21). Violent crime is also below average at 2.1 incidents per 1000 people, almost half the 3.7 national average.

Pleasant 4-Season Climate

Virginia has 4 seasons, and they are all beautiful. Winters are generally mild, especially compared to its neighbors. The summers can get a little warm, but that will be a plus for many seniors.

Low Cost of Living

To add to the other income-related benefits of retiring in Virginia, the overall cost of living is low in this state. This makes it a great choice to stretch your retirement budget. Quality of life is high, and the state rates well for happiness and well-being.

Scenic Diversity

There’s a little something for everyone in Virginia. From beaches to mountains, rivers, and valleys. And there are plenty of national parks and other scenic venues that you can enjoy in retirement.

Good public transportation

If you retire in one of the major metropolitan centers, you will find public transportation convenient. Additionally, transportation costs in Virginia are on the lower side compared to other states.

Thriving economy

Virginia has one of the largest economies in the United States, and its economic output has more than doubled in the last decade. Workers earn better salaries and there is better state infrastructure than in other states. A strong economy also means that there are plenty of job opportunities in all sectors and a better quality of life for its residents.

Cons of Retiring in Virginia

Unusual Laws

While often a source of amusement, there are some tricky laws in Virginia, and they may vex you. Those hoping to partake in activities like hunting and fishing, for example, will need to check permit laws for their area carefully.

Active Air Force

Depending on where you choose to live, the air traffic may get a little loud in Virginia. This is due to a high volume of active air force in the state. However, this military presence has some pros, too.

Aggressive Driving

While most issues are in the major cities, Virginia does have a reputation for aggressive driving. This may be off-putting for seniors. Public transport is spotty- great in some locations, but not uniform in the state.


The warm summers are paired with a humid climate that can make Virginia a little sticky. You may find yourself tempted to spend the warmest months next to the air con. 


Virginia is a popular state for tourists. You’ll see a lot of out-of-towners in peak season, which could be annoying for those who live here full-time.

Heavy traffic

Virginia is known for experiencing heavy traffic in the big cities, especially during the rush hour. It gets worse if you plan to live in Virginia but work in DC- you should expect to occasionally spend hours in traffic. You should spend time learning the area so that you know the most convenient routes to use.

Best Places to Retire in Virginia

Falls Church

If you’re looking to spend plenty of time outdoors, consider retiring in Falls Church. With 55 dedicated retirement communities (and counting), and some of the country’s best golf courses, this is a great town for urban living with a rural touch- vibrant city activities and fun outdoors in one.


Williamsburg has some of the best healthcare in the state and is one of Virginia's oldest college towns. It is home to the College of William and Mary, which is known for its firsts; the first law school in America, the first college to become a University, and the first US institution with a Royal Charter. There's plenty of fascinating local history to explore, and the quality of life is high.


Hoping for a retirement soaked in arts and culture? Or looking to keep your mind agile and active? Then head to Vienna. Here you’ll find cultural festivals and events, plenty of colleges hosting plays and talks, and easy access to the D.C. metro area if you choose. Plus some great golfing.


Winchester has been tapped as one of the top retirement destinations in the US, and it is waiting for you in Virginia. It has many historical treats to explore, there's plenty of cultural and educational opportunities, and fantastic medical care. Plus the setting is gorgeous.