An unaffordable cost of living and high taxes are the reason more than half of New Jersey’s working adults polled recently by Fairleigh Dickinson University say they will retire outside the Garden State. A total of 52% of those polled said they will move out of state upon retiring, while just 32% intend to remain in New Jersey, according to the university. For those who plan on leaving, a strong majority – 57% – cited the cost of living and the state’s tax burden as being behind their decision to flee.
“People are living longer and need their retirement savings to last beyond what previous generations expected,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the PublicMind Polling Institute and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson. “Future retirees are obviously looking for places where they can stretch their dollars, and New Jersey isn’t looking too affordable these days.”
Across the board, affordability and taxes were the most common reasons provided for wanting to leave the state, university officials said. Those 40 and older, and white non-retirees, were the most likely groups to cite affordability and taxes as their main reason for leaving the Garden State. Non-whites and those with no more than a high school diploma were, overall, less likely than most to express concern with affordability in retirement, but poll findings offered “indisputable evidence” of the concerns residents have about the state’s income tax, particularly for retirees, the university said in a statement.
The second-highest reason given for wanting to leave the state – by 15% of respondents – was the desire for a different or warmer climate. Of those wanting to leave, 40% said they’ll look to a southern state. About 14% said they would remain somewhere in the northeast and 13% said they will likely move abroad. A fifth of those wanting to leave are undecided about their future destination.