The beauty of Montana is often said to be unsurpassed by any other state in the nation. But the treacherous climate and sprawling wilderness can be enough to deter most people from moving to the Treasure State.
If you’re considering relocating here, we understand that you want to know what you’re getting into. Unlike shifting borders to most of the central and lower US, a move to Montana requires preparation. Once you’re there and settled, you’ll quickly understand why Montanans are so loyal to the land!
Ready to see what you’ll experience in Big Sky Country? Read on to learn the essentials of relocating to Montana here!
1. Expenses and Wages are in Line With the US Average
As housing prices skyrocket across the country, Montana’s real estate remains neck-and-neck with other states. You can expect to see comparable mortgage and rent costs, utility bills, and other housing expenses. Still, Montana ranks 35 out of 50 in terms of cost of living, so it’s not cheap to live here.
The average wage in Montana is lower than in its neighboring states. If you’re in some of the metro areas, like Missoula, wages are competitive, but the cost of goods is high.
It’s important to get a strong understanding of your budget before you move here, including mortgage or rent, auto insurance, and healthcare costs. If you’re not tied down to a particular city, consider avoiding the densely populated areas where real estate is in high demand.
2. The Job Market is Growing
Montana’s population is barely one million, but the state’s government is attempting to find ways to attract more residents. Currently, many of the jobs are seasonal due to the harsh winter climate, so finding a long-term position can be difficult.
But as tech-based jobs and virtual work become increasingly popular, more people are willing to move to the state and brave the weather conditions in favor of the other benefits Montana offers.
Popular jobs in the state include education staff, nurses and nurse practitioners, retail salespersons, cashiers, and housekeepers. You’ll see mega-corporate employers like Black Feet Tribe, Billings (Medical), and Malmstrom Air Force Base employing a large portion of the population.
As the country’s economy evolves, new jobs in Montana are created regularly in sustainable farming and agriculture. The state’s medical marijuana program brings more dispensaries, too, which increases the need for reliable workers. (Side note: If you’d like to get your MMJ card when you move to Montana, you can learn about that in this article by Veriheal.)
3. Taxes Are Lower Than the National Average
Are you looking for a tax-friendly state for your business or personal finances? Montana’s income tax has a progressive structure, divided into sections. The lower your income, the less of a percentage you pay on your tax return, varying between 1% and 6.9%.
Property taxes are under 1%, and tax credits are beneficial to businesses. There is no state or local tax, a small gasoline and diesel tax, and an average excise tax on cigarettes and alcohol.
4. Education and Healthcare Systems Are Impressive
You might think that with such a low, spread-out population, industries like healthcare and education would be at the bottom of the list. But the opposite is true.
In Montana, healthcare costs are much lower than other places in America. Residents and visitors have access to a strong medical system that runs under a health-insurance-free plan. This is called Flex Family Health. It gives doctors and patients control over their treatment plans. Patients are billed monthly for their unlimited treatment at a rate of $59/person or $149/family.
Education systems are ranked as average or higher, depending on the grade level. Quality of education is in the top half of the country, including higher education institutions.
If you don’t mind driving to school or the doctor in treacherous climates throughout part of the year, the healthcare and education systems are worth the move to Montana. But you can always take virtual classes or engage in telehealth sessions if the road conditions are too hazardous!
There are many unique reasons why people are flocking to Montana lately. Whether you’re heading there for the scenic beauty or to get away from the congested tourist areas in the rest of the country, this state is a breath of fresh air.
Once you know what you’re getting into as far as the cost of living and the essentials of getting settled, you can sit back and enjoy the majesty of the Treasure State.