9 best states to be independent
From taxes to topography, there are many factors to consider.
- Keep more of your profits in states with no income or sales taxes.
- States with diverse cities and geographies can accommodate all types of lifestyles.
More than a third of American workers have given up traditional corporate careers for a life as a freelancer. And while being your own boss isn’t for everyone — it takes organization, discipline, and a certain amount of flexibility — the benefits can be many.
Arguably one of the best things about a freelance career is that you’re usually not tied to one particular location. This makes it easy to find the state that best suits your needs and wants, rather than your career goals.
Given the sheer size of the United States, it’s not easy to narrow down your options. Here’s a look at some of our top picks for where to set up shop as a freelancer.
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Washington State is an ideal combination of nature and civilization, home to some of the most geologically diverse landscapes in the country and some of the biggest tech companies in the world. Whether you want beaches, mountains, or all the Starbucks you can drink, you can find it here. And, best of all, you can enjoy it without the burden of state income tax weighing on your profits as a freelancer.
Those looking to escape the exorbitant sales taxes in most states can head to Oregon, where there are no state or local sales taxes. You’ll also enjoy some of the best infrastructure in the country, including an electrical system based nearly 50% on renewable energy. You can find a vibrant tech sector in the state’s major cities or escape to a dynamic landscape of miles of coastline and lush forests.
Given that New Hampshire’s state motto is “Live Free or Die,” it’s no surprise that the state is a great place to get away from it all — well, just about anything. Here you can live free of income and sales taxes, enjoying one of the lowest tax burdens in the country. Residents of New Hampshire can also live free from the trappings of the city, with vast wilderness to explore and the cleanest air around.
Freelancers who love the outdoors — and don’t have to worry about meetings or networking — can find plenty to love in Alaska. There’s more outdoors here than anywhere else in the country, with all the winter sports you can enjoy, plus stunning (and impossibly short) summers. Alaska can also be great from a financial perspective because you won’t pay income or sales taxes. Additionally, citizens can benefit from the state dividend program which offers checks to every resident every year.
Nevada is another popular destination for those who hate paying income taxes, because there are none. But that’s not the only draw. The infrastructure is solid, offering reliable transportation options and some of the fastest internet access in the country. The state is also a great place for those who love the sun, with hot summers, moderate winters, and an average annual rainfall of just seven inches.
The state of Delaware has one of the lowest tax burdens in the country, offering low income taxes and no state sales tax. It’s also a popular place to start a business thanks to limited bureaucratic hurdles and strict business privacy rules. Lifestyle-wise, Delaware is great for people who like quieter cities, though it’s an easy trip to Philadelphia or Washington, DC if you want to shake it up for the weekend.
If you’re a tech-conscious freelancer looking to make a mark, check out Colorado. The state is home to a number of big tech companies, and its entrepreneurial culture means startups are not only popular, but often successful. Plus, Colorado itself is a great place to live, especially if you love outdoor adventure. The state offers some of the best skiing, hiking, and mountaineering in the country.
Home to the nation’s largest economy, California is ideal for freelancers who rely on in-person clients or networking, especially for those working in the tech or entertainment industries. It’s also popular among those looking for strong legal and privacy protections. And while California is known for its cuisine and urban culture, the temperate climate and geographic diversity make all kinds of outdoor adventures a year-round possibility.
No matter how they’re judged, nearly every top state list places Massachusetts in the top 10. The state ranks well for quality of life, education, health care, crime, and the environment. You get four suitable seasons, beautiful landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities. Set up shop near Boston to enjoy big-city life or head west for small-town comforts.
Find the life you love
Being independent is more than your job, it’s a way of life. And this way of life requires a lot of work. But for the right kind of person, the benefits more than make up for the lack of consistency of a traditional career.
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