Best Places for Military Retirement

Best Places for Military Retirement presented by USAA and

#7 Madison, WI

Population: 558,913
Military Installation: Fort McCoy
Median Home Price: $216,500

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Madison has a lot in its favor with low unemployment, a healthy lifestyle, recreation and cultural opportunities and all the benefits from being home to the University of Wisconsin. Home prices are the most expensive of the places in our top ten, but are still generally affordable and have held their value well during the recent downturn. There is a local VA medical center, but military retirees will need to travel a few hours (90 miles) to Fort McCoy in Sparta to shop at their commissary and exchange. Federal pensions are not taxed in Wisconsin.

USAA and worked with Sperling's BestPlaces to determine the variables on which 379 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. were evaluated against. Sperling's BestPlaces considers general quality of life issues along with variables that correspond directly to military retirees. The variables included:

  • Military base proximity
  • Military base amenities
  • Veteran's Affairs hospital proximity
  • Military pension taxation
  • Unemployment rate
  • Presence of colleges and universities
  • Affordability
  • Housing costs
  • Housing appreciation (2007-2010)
  • Economic stability

Each of the identified variables was weighted based on importance to military retirees, and each metro area was given a score based on its total points for each variable. The metro areas were ranked based on these scores. Metro areas where the median housing cost was 40 percent above the national median were excluded from the list.

Military Retired Pay Overview

The military retirement system is arguably the best retirement deal around. Unlike most retirement plans, the Armed Forces offer a pension with benefits, that start the day you retire, no matter how old you are.

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TRICARE for Retirees

So you are set to retire, but do you know what is going to happen with your health care? Can you really stand to lose your military health care benefits now that you're leaving and probably have a family to take care of?

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Online Retirement Center

Helpful tools and advice for military retirees whether you're just getting started, approaching or living in retirement.

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Who is USAA?

USAA was formed over 88 years ago by members of the U.S. military to meet the financial needs of servicemembers and their families.

At USAA, we believe that honesty, integrity, loyalty and service aren't just things you talk about — they're the way you live. That's why we work together to create complete retirement plans that include investments, life insurance, estate planning and health care solutions, to give you the freedom to do what's important to you.

We know what it means to serve. Let us serve you.

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Madison, WI
Category Metro Area Statistics
Population 558,913
Median Home Price $216,500
Unemployment Rate 5.9%
Federal Pension Taxed No
Military Installation Name: Fort McCoy
Proximity: within 91 miles
Amenities: Medium commissary, large exchange, clinic
VA Hospital Proximity Local
Education Number of 4-year colleges: 2
Prominent Institution: University of Wisconsin

Ask June

Got money questions and looking for answers you can trust? Just Ask June! June Lantz Walbert is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner with USAA Financial Planning Services. She is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve with 19 years of service. Walbert's basic branch is Air Defense Artillery. She also is Airborne, Air Assault, and Canadian Air borne qualified.

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