When people think about retirement destinations, Florida is usually the first place that comes to mind. But, did you know that Arizona is among the top retirement destinations in the U.S.? In fact, according to the Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), by 2020 adults 60 years and older will make up 25 percent of the Grand Canyon State’s population.
Arizona has a lot to offer retirees and “snow birds” alike. In addition to the warm, dry temperatures, the Phoenix area and the state have some great financial benefits and recreational opportunities for retirees.
You’ve worked hard for your money, and you want to settle down in an area where you can live comfortably without breaking the bank. Arizona is one of the 36 states that do not tax Social Security income, according to kiplinger.com.
Additionally, Arizona doesn’t have a state personal property tax, unlike neighboring New Mexico, Nevada and California. Each county’s assessor sets personal property tax rates–which can vary–based on property value and location. If you choose to live in the Phoenix metro area, you’ll most likely fall under Maricopa County, which on average collects 0.59 percent of a home’s fair market value, according to tax-rates.org.
Other tax breaks, according to the Arizona Department of Revenue:
- Potential state property tax credit for seniors over age 65 who own a home
- Subtraction of up to $2,500 for income from military, civil service or Arizona state or local government pensions
- No state inheritance or gift taxes
- No state taxes on prescription drugs
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Phoenix is on par with the national average as a whole, according to U.S. Census data. However, costs for utilities and housing are below that average.
In Phoenix, the median sale price for homes is $181,000, according to Zillow market data. In the nearby metro area of Riverside, Calif., which also has a population near 4.3 million, Zillow reports that the median home sale price is $233,800.
Despite being in a desert climate with some of the lowest rainfall averages in the nation, Phoenix has the fifth lowest water and sewer rates of the nation’s 20 largest cities, according to the city.
And Arizona falls on the low end of the spectrum for the cost of electricity. While some states charge as much as 18 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), Arizona’s average price for 2012 was 10.4 cents per kWh, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This is below the 2012 national average of 11.5 cents per kWh.
Entertainment and Cultural Attractions
With all its potential retirement savings benefits, this gorgeous southwestern state offers a variety of places to spend your leisure and entertainment budget. Of course, there’s the popular tourist destinations, which include the Grand Canyon, Sedona, the Petrified Forest, Hoover Dam, and Old Tucson. In addition to those crowd-pleasing sights, the following attractions offer a little something for everyone.
- Arizona is home to more than 300 golf courses, according to golfarizona.com.
- There are a variety of resort casinos to entertain visitors from out of town.
- Grandkids and water lovers will enjoy the many water parks the state has to offer.
- Arizona boasts tons of museums, galleries and cultural venues.
- Sports enthusiasts will love that Arizona is home to the Phoenix Suns NBA team, Phoenix Mercury WNBA team, Arizona Cardinals NFL team, Phoenix Coyotes NHL team and the Arizona Diamondbacks MLB team—all within the city of Phoenix, or less than a 30-minute drive away.
Another perk of retiring to southern Arizona is the option to put away that winter coat permanently (or donate it to a local charity). A lined jacket will suffice year-round, unless you’re moving to the northern part of the state. The average temperature in the Phoenix metro area is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. And, with less than 8 inches of rainfall a year, having an umbrella on hand is only an occasional necessity.
If the yearning for a cozy cabin or wintry getaway strikes, the Phoenix area is a short, three-hour drive to the mountains. Many Phoenicians frequent the northern mountains during the winter months to go skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, or just relax by the fire.
Arizona really does have it all! It’s easy to see why the state made the list as one of the top 10 best-rated states for retirement.
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