Lifestyle

10 Best Cities to Retire in Hawaii in 2022

Ready to retire in the beachy, serene Aloha State? Choose from one of these top cities—from every island of Hawaii —affording the best lifestyle for retirees.

C.E Larusso

C.E Larusso

Published July 21st, 2022

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

With beaches, golf courses and plenty of active lifestyle options, Hawaii is one of the most unique places to spend your golden years.

The Aloha State has one of the lowest average state and local tax burdens in the country for retirees.

The average property tax rate is the lowest in the United States, making home ownership affordable for many retirees.

The cost of living in Hawaii is above the national average, which makes it seem like an out-of-reach place to retire, but it should be noted The Aloha State has one of the lowest average state and local tax burdens in the country for retirees. If you’re in a higher-income bracket, you might get hit with a hefty income tax rate (maxing out at 11%) but the majority of residents don’t pay anything close to that, and Social Security benefits are entirely tax-free at the state level.

In addition, the average property tax rate is the lowest in the United States. Have we convinced you yet? Read on to check out our round-up of the best cities from each of Hawaii’s main islands.

On the Big Island

Hilo

CITY POPULATION: 45,056

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 30% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $50,339

Hilo has the vibe of a small town but with the amenities of a larger city; you won’t be short on grocery stores, boutiques, farmer’s markets, and parks. In addition, there are a few museums to keep your days varied when the beach is not enough. Properties are priced lower than bigger cities in Hawaii (like Honolulu), so you can make your dollar stretch a bit further, and still only be a one hour flight away from Oahu, if you want to take a day or weekend trip.

Waimea

CITY POPULATION: 10,969

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 62% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $69,473

Known for its paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture, Waimea is for those looking for more rural living. Home to the headquarters for the Keck Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, Wailea is located 2,600 above sea level, though it still boasts easy access to the beach. In February or March of every year, Waimea is home to a cherry blossom festival, celebrating the colorful trees most commonly associated with Japan.

On Oahu

Kaneohe

CITY POPULATION: 33,841

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 14%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 97% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $93,917

Kaneohe is a coastal community with lots of outdoor activities available, such as fishing, boating, kayaking, and surfing. It’s only 25 minutes away from Oahu, though, in case you need any of the amenities a big city offers. Kaneohe is home to the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens and the Byodo-In Temple, which is home to a Japanese garden with koi ponds and (well cared-for) peacocks, both beautiful places to stroll, read, and meditate.

Wahiawa

CITY POPULATION: 16,442

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 18%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 73% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $67,616

Situated between two mountain ranges—the Wai‘anae and the Ko‘olau—Wahiawa is a quieter city on Oahu, with fewer tourists than many other spots. Historically, it was a hub for agriculture, and is still home to the Dole Plantation (which features the world’s largest plant maze) with its miles of pineapple fields. Residents love to picnic or read along the shore of Lake Wilson.

Kailua

CITY POPULATION: 15,231

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 13.7%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 52% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $94,250

A haven for those who prefer to bike or walk to get around, Kailua has a central town area and most residents live within a mile of it (and its gorgeous beaches). Only about 30 minutes from both Waikiki and Honolulu, it boasts multiple farmer’s markets every week and is home to two world-class beaches, Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach. Former President Obama even has a house there!

Honolulu

CITY POPULATION: 347,181

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 16%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 76% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $75,850

If you crave island charm (and weather), but require a city for abundant amenities, culture, and more, Honolulu is the answer. In the neighborhood of Kapiolani, you’ll living centers and amenities designed for seniors, as well as a medical center nearby. In the more upscale Kahala, enjoy the Waialae Country Club or shopping at the Kahala Mall. The local Kaalawai Beach is perfect for morning coffee or sunset strolls.

On Maui

Kihei

CITY POPULATION: 16,749

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 7%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 64% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $69,688

Less expensive than neighboring Wailea or Makena, Kihei is on the southwestern side of Maui, with dry, sunny weather year-round. It does have a lot of tourist activity, but that’s because it’s next to some of Maui’s most charming beaches; Kalama Beach Park is 36 acres and offers views of the West Maui Mountains.

Paia

CITY POPULATION: 2,285

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 8%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 86% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $59,261

Health food lovers rejoice: Paia is home to Mana Foods, an enormous, well-known health food store with locally-grown produce from around the island. Only 20 minutes from the airport, Paia is a quiet place to live, with restaurants, shops, galleries, and even the occasional celebrity sighting—Willie Nelson has been known to pop into Charley’s Saloon. It’s the gateway to the gorgeous drive to Hana, if you wish to take a winding road to a bamboo forest, and is also walkable to several stunning beaches.

On Kauai

Kapa’a

CITY POPULATION: 10,580

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10.4%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 55% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $59,261

Overall, Kauai is quieter than the other islands, so if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle during retirement, it’s worth looking into. Due to a heavy tourist economy, Kapa’a has many restaurants to sample and enjoy, as well as excellent outdoor recreation like paddleboarding, kayaking, and more. For those who prefer to stay on land, the Ke Ala Hele Makalae multi-use path wraps around the island’s eastern coastline, and is ideal to walk or bike along during one of Hawaii’s many perfect days.

Lihue

CITY POPULATION: 9,036

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 22%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 51% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $77,941

Lihue, the county seat of Kauai, is the home to the island’s biggest airport and a cruise ship port. It is a haven for ocean activities, from kayaking to paddleboarding. Visitors and locals alike love to visit Wailua Falls, a breathtaking, easily-accessible waterfall, and finish off the day at Koloa Rum Company, where you can imbibe by sampling locally-made rum. Lihue is also home to many vibrant retirement communities.

Which City Should You Retire In?

Choosing a city to retire in is a major decision, and dependent upon several factors. You’ll want to weigh what climate you wish to live in, your overall budget, and what kind of housing you’d like—a home, a townhouse, or something else entirely. If you’re looking to stretch your retirement dollars, it’s important to consider places that are very tax-friendly and have a lower overall cost of living. Consider these factors and speak with one of Retirable’s Certified Financial Planner® to discuss your goals and options.


Share this advice


C.E Larusso

C.E Larusso

A professional content writer, C.E. Larusso has written about all things home, finance, family, and wellness for a variety of publications, including Angi, HomeLight, Noodle, and Mimi. She is based in Los Angeles.

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Lifestyle

10 Best Cities to Retire in Hawaii in 2022

Ready to retire in the beachy, serene Aloha State? Choose from one of these top cities—from every island of Hawaii —affording the best lifestyle for retirees.

C.E Larusso

C.E Larusso

Published July 21st, 2022

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

With beaches, golf courses and plenty of active lifestyle options, Hawaii is one of the most unique places to spend your golden years.

The Aloha State has one of the lowest average state and local tax burdens in the country for retirees.

The average property tax rate is the lowest in the United States, making home ownership affordable for many retirees.

The cost of living in Hawaii is above the national average, which makes it seem like an out-of-reach place to retire, but it should be noted The Aloha State has one of the lowest average state and local tax burdens in the country for retirees. If you’re in a higher-income bracket, you might get hit with a hefty income tax rate (maxing out at 11%) but the majority of residents don’t pay anything close to that, and Social Security benefits are entirely tax-free at the state level.

In addition, the average property tax rate is the lowest in the United States. Have we convinced you yet? Read on to check out our round-up of the best cities from each of Hawaii’s main islands.

On the Big Island

Hilo

CITY POPULATION: 45,056

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 30% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $50,339

Hilo has the vibe of a small town but with the amenities of a larger city; you won’t be short on grocery stores, boutiques, farmer’s markets, and parks. In addition, there are a few museums to keep your days varied when the beach is not enough. Properties are priced lower than bigger cities in Hawaii (like Honolulu), so you can make your dollar stretch a bit further, and still only be a one hour flight away from Oahu, if you want to take a day or weekend trip.

Waimea

CITY POPULATION: 10,969

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 62% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $69,473

Known for its paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture, Waimea is for those looking for more rural living. Home to the headquarters for the Keck Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, Wailea is located 2,600 above sea level, though it still boasts easy access to the beach. In February or March of every year, Waimea is home to a cherry blossom festival, celebrating the colorful trees most commonly associated with Japan.

On Oahu

Kaneohe

CITY POPULATION: 33,841

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 14%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 97% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $93,917

Kaneohe is a coastal community with lots of outdoor activities available, such as fishing, boating, kayaking, and surfing. It’s only 25 minutes away from Oahu, though, in case you need any of the amenities a big city offers. Kaneohe is home to the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens and the Byodo-In Temple, which is home to a Japanese garden with koi ponds and (well cared-for) peacocks, both beautiful places to stroll, read, and meditate.

Wahiawa

CITY POPULATION: 16,442

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 18%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 73% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $67,616

Situated between two mountain ranges—the Wai‘anae and the Ko‘olau—Wahiawa is a quieter city on Oahu, with fewer tourists than many other spots. Historically, it was a hub for agriculture, and is still home to the Dole Plantation (which features the world’s largest plant maze) with its miles of pineapple fields. Residents love to picnic or read along the shore of Lake Wilson.

Kailua

CITY POPULATION: 15,231

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 13.7%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 52% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $94,250

A haven for those who prefer to bike or walk to get around, Kailua has a central town area and most residents live within a mile of it (and its gorgeous beaches). Only about 30 minutes from both Waikiki and Honolulu, it boasts multiple farmer’s markets every week and is home to two world-class beaches, Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach. Former President Obama even has a house there!

Honolulu

CITY POPULATION: 347,181

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 16%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 76% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $75,850

If you crave island charm (and weather), but require a city for abundant amenities, culture, and more, Honolulu is the answer. In the neighborhood of Kapiolani, you’ll living centers and amenities designed for seniors, as well as a medical center nearby. In the more upscale Kahala, enjoy the Waialae Country Club or shopping at the Kahala Mall. The local Kaalawai Beach is perfect for morning coffee or sunset strolls.

On Maui

Kihei

CITY POPULATION: 16,749

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 7%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 64% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $69,688

Less expensive than neighboring Wailea or Makena, Kihei is on the southwestern side of Maui, with dry, sunny weather year-round. It does have a lot of tourist activity, but that’s because it’s next to some of Maui’s most charming beaches; Kalama Beach Park is 36 acres and offers views of the West Maui Mountains.

Paia

CITY POPULATION: 2,285

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 8%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 86% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $59,261

Health food lovers rejoice: Paia is home to Mana Foods, an enormous, well-known health food store with locally-grown produce from around the island. Only 20 minutes from the airport, Paia is a quiet place to live, with restaurants, shops, galleries, and even the occasional celebrity sighting—Willie Nelson has been known to pop into Charley’s Saloon. It’s the gateway to the gorgeous drive to Hana, if you wish to take a winding road to a bamboo forest, and is also walkable to several stunning beaches.

On Kauai

Kapa’a

CITY POPULATION: 10,580

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10.4%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 55% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $59,261

Overall, Kauai is quieter than the other islands, so if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle during retirement, it’s worth looking into. Due to a heavy tourist economy, Kapa’a has many restaurants to sample and enjoy, as well as excellent outdoor recreation like paddleboarding, kayaking, and more. For those who prefer to stay on land, the Ke Ala Hele Makalae multi-use path wraps around the island’s eastern coastline, and is ideal to walk or bike along during one of Hawaii’s many perfect days.

Lihue

CITY POPULATION: 9,036

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 22%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 51% above the national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $77,941

Lihue, the county seat of Kauai, is the home to the island’s biggest airport and a cruise ship port. It is a haven for ocean activities, from kayaking to paddleboarding. Visitors and locals alike love to visit Wailua Falls, a breathtaking, easily-accessible waterfall, and finish off the day at Koloa Rum Company, where you can imbibe by sampling locally-made rum. Lihue is also home to many vibrant retirement communities.

Which City Should You Retire In?

Choosing a city to retire in is a major decision, and dependent upon several factors. You’ll want to weigh what climate you wish to live in, your overall budget, and what kind of housing you’d like—a home, a townhouse, or something else entirely. If you’re looking to stretch your retirement dollars, it’s important to consider places that are very tax-friendly and have a lower overall cost of living. Consider these factors and speak with one of Retirable’s Certified Financial Planner® to discuss your goals and options.


Share this advice


C.E Larusso

C.E Larusso

A professional content writer, C.E. Larusso has written about all things home, finance, family, and wellness for a variety of publications, including Angi, HomeLight, Noodle, and Mimi. She is based in Los Angeles.

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Retirable, Inc. ('Retirable') is an SEC registered investment advisor. By using this website, you accept our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Retirable provides holistic retirement planning services, which are available only to residents of the United States. You must be at least 18 years of age to become a Retirable Premium user. Nothing on this website should be considered an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell securities.

Investing involves risk and past performance is not indicative of future results. Increased spending increases the risk of depleting your savings and performance is not guaranteed. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any decisions based on your own personal circumstances.

For more information, see our Form ADV Part II and other disclosures.

© 2022 Retirable Inc. All rights reserved.

We're accredited and certified by

Legal

Retirable, Inc. ('Retirable') is an SEC registered investment advisor. By using this website, you accept our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. Retirable provides holistic retirement planning services, which are available only to residents of the United States. You must be at least 18 years of age to become a Retirable Premium user. Nothing on this website should be considered an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell securities.

Investing involves risk and past performance is not indicative of future results. Increased spending increases the risk of depleting your savings and performance is not guaranteed. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any decisions based on your own personal circumstances.

For more information, see our Form ADV Part II and other disclosures.

© 2022 Retirable Inc. All rights reserved.

We're accredited and certified by