Retirement in Alaska
Alaska – at a Glance
For some, the last day of their working life is an opportunity to set out on a new adventure. If you love the outdoors and plan on spending a lot of your free time exploring the wilderness, you might want to consider retirement in Alaska. In addition to incredible natural beauty, there are no state income or sales taxes, making it a more attractive option. And, despite what you may initially think, the weather isn’t much different than a cold Northeastern winter and is surprisingly mild in the summer months.
- Spectacular Scenery
When it was purchased from Russia in 1867, some critics called Alaska “Seward’s Folly” because they believed the then-Secretary of State had made a huge mistake. Clearly, they had not visited the territory beforehand. With lush meadows and snow-capped peaks, including the 20,000-foot-high Mount McKinley, the landscape is truly breathtaking. When you add in the diverse wildlife – particularly the majestic moose – and the possibility of viewing the magnificent Northern Lights, there is plenty of unspoiled countryside to feast your eyes on.
- Small-Town Feel
Anchorage, the capital and largest city in the state, has less than 300,000 residents. The average commute, according to Money Magazine, is just 18 minutes. If you’re accustomed to the gridlock of a major metropolitan area, you’ll find the pace of life is much slower and people are more engaging. When you couple that with good museums and great food – especially if you enjoy crab –the combination of laidback atmosphere and quality amenities can be hard to beat.
- Minimal InfrastructureBecause of the relatively low number of residents, the need for a massive highway system is nonexistent. Travel between cities is often along two-lane roads, something you will have to adapt to if you are from bigger cities with multi-lane divided freeways. And, if you’re thinking about heading out into more remote areas to get a more authentic back country experience, chances are good you will have to travel by boat or small plane.
- Cold Winters
Though residents of the upper Midwest and Northeast can certainly testify to the chill Mother Nature brings, the freezing temperatures aren’t as consistently low as you will find in Alaska. In Anchorage, for example, average sub-freezing lows begin in October and run through April – a slightly longer period than most of the lower 48 states. That said, with highs in the 60s and 70s the rest of the year, it is a very pleasant place to be during the Summer.
Cost of Living in Alaska as per the second quarter of 2011:
The above graph shows the percentage of fluctuations in expenditures in Alaska, as compared to the nation’s average, which is taken as 100%.
Alaska has become one of the most expensive areas to live in.