Whether you’re nearing your retirement age or think you’re still a bit too young, it’s important to know if retiring in Arizona is good for you. Not only will it help you narrow down your option before the big move, but it also ensures you retire in an area that suits your needs, wants, and lifestyle.
So, is retiring in Arizona good or bad? Like with any state, you would need to consider the pros and cons of retiring in Arizona before deciding whether it’s a good or bad option. After all, one can be a good thing for one person but a bad thing for another.
Let’s explore and discuss in detail the benefits and drawbacks of living in Arizona that residents and regular visitors share. With this information, you can easily decide whether the state is the best place to spend the rest of your retirement years.
Top 10 Benefits of Retiring in Arizona
Here are reasons why people choose to spend their retirement years in the State of Arizona:
- Low Cost of Living
- Fewer Tax Burdens
- High-Quality Healthcare
- Job Opportunities Even for Retirees
- A Good Population of Youth
- Sunny Weather and Climate
- Fewer Insects to Deal With
- Beautiful Scenery
- Several Activities to Do
- Easy-to-Find Places
1. Low Cost of Living
From groceries to monthly bills, you won’t stop spending your money just because you’re a retiree. That’s why one of your top considerations should be the cost of living of where you’ll retire.
The lower it is, the better since your dollars have more purchasing power than in an area with a high cost of living.
Arizona’s average cost of living is generally lower than the national average. Specifically, from 4.2% to 14% lower, depending on the specific city. Of course, there are still cities where it’s a bit higher than the country’s average.
Rent and housing costs, which will take a good chunk of your monthly budget since real estate prices are continuously increasing, are also not that high in Arizona. That’s most especially since the market started to cool down and rent prices started to dip in the last two quarters of 2022.
2. Fewer Tax Burdens
AZ is one of the few states that ensure residents keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible through fewer tax burdens. Even more so for retirees.
For one, retirement incomes from social security are exempted from state income tax. However, those retiring from the military will enjoy a tax-free income, whether from a 401(k) or pension.
Also, residents of the state who are 65 years old and above can claim sales tax exemptions for personal property purchases, such as appliances and furniture, that cost them up to $3,000.
Whether you plan to purchase a mobile home, a studio apartment, or a single-bed home as your main residence, you’ll enjoy up to $2,500 property exemption once you reach the age of 65. Plus, you can be eligible for up to $1,000 of a senior tax credit.
3. High-Quality Healthcare
Ranking 4th in healthcare quality and 24th in public health, the State of Arizona takes the number 21 spot in terms of overall healthcare quality (usnews.com). It means you won’t only expect great services from hospitals and their staff but also enjoy Medicare coverage.
Of course, there is the country’s Original Medicare, whose coverage is uniform across the USA. However, you’ll have great access to various Medical Advantage plans and coverage as an AZ resident.
4. Job Opportunities Even for Retirees
Some retirees prefer to still work since it helps them stay productive and gives them some sense of self-fulfillment. While almost, if not all, states in the US provide opportunities even for retirees, AZ’s industrial market is starting to grow. Thus, you’re sure to find a job that will suit not just your job experience but also your life experience.
Understandably, you won’t want the typical 9 to 5 job that will eat up all your time, so here are some of the highly recommended jobs for retirees:
- Tour guide since AZ is one of the favorite tourist destinations
- Museum educators, especially those who have a passion for education and history
- Substitute teacher that will also allow you to travel from one school to another
5. A Good Population of Youth
While there are communities in the state with a higher population of 55+ individuals, there are still many young adults and youth. They’re easily attracted to the state and most often stay because of the good job market and the sufficient number of schools and universities (usnews.com).
This is one of the reasons substitute teaching, and other types of mentorship are some of the top job options for retirees. It also means your family, even your grandchildren, can consider moving and living in Arizona with you.
6. Sunny Weather and Climate
While it’s true that some areas of AZ still experience snow, it’s a state known for its sunny and warm climate. It wouldn’t be called the Valley of the Sun and named the sunniest state in the country for no reason!
What makes it even better, especially for retirees who are highly sensitive to the cold and don’t want too much humidity, is that AZ’s relative humidity is just around 60%. That’s all thanks to its desert-like climate.
7. Fewer Insects to Deal With
With the state’s weather, southern AZ has fewer flies, gnats, and mosquitoes that you need to deal with. However, this isn’t true for the northern communities because they’re high up in the mountains, one of the most common habitats of insects.
8. Beautiful Scenery
One of the things Arizona is famous for is its breathtaking sunsets and sunrises that everyone surely enjoys seeing and taking a photograph of. Not only that, but it has several scenic highways and amazing mountain ranges. Outdoor adventurers will also enjoy the scenic hiking and biking destinations and lakes they can visit across the state.
9. Several Activities to Do
What makes retiring in Arizona even better is that you won’t run out of activities to do and enjoy. From cultural and outdoor activities to sports and dining out, you can think of several ways to rest and relax alone or with your partner, friends, or family.
10. Easy-to-Find Places
As we age, our memory starts to decline, whether or not we have mentally related medical conditions. The good thing about AZ is that they name their streets using a standard development grid.
Finding your way back home or where you’re going would be easy. Family members can also easily locate a relative or friend who gets lost as long as they know what road they’re in. Even the state’s highways use this system, so it’s easy to navigate and reach tourist attractions and other places you want to visit or go to.
6 Drawbacks to Retiring in Arizona
Like with any state in any country, there are some cons to living in Arizona, namely:
- Transportation Cost
- High Crime Rate
- Sunny Weather and Climate
- Air Pollution
- Need to Deal With Wild Animals
- Prone to Natural Disasters
1. Transportation Cost
While the overall average cost of living in Arizona is low, transportation is close to being expensive. One reason is that the state imposes a high tax on gas, compensating for the fewer tax burdens for retirees, its employed locals, and business operators.
Nonetheless, most cities have an excellent bus system that will cost you around four to six dollars. Even better, commuting from point A to point B, whether you use your own car or ride public transportation, won’t take a few hours of your time.
2. High Crime Rate
While the crime rate in most states continues to increase, Arizona still has a higher crime rate than the national average. However, keep in mind that the pockets of crimes in the state’s major cities significantly contribute to this number. There are still many rural and urban areas in AZ with low crime rates, such as Oro Valley and Buckeye.
3. Sunny Weather and Climate
Yes, the sunny weather and climate of the state that some residents and tourists enjoy can also be one of the reasons others won’t consider retiring in Arizona.
The typical summer heat and temperature can reach up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t comfortable for some people, especially those used to a cooler climate or weather.
With that in mind, you need to ensure you’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays if you decide to stay in AZ. Fill in your durable water bottle (view on Amazon) to keep you hydrated, apply sunscreen, and wear loose-fitting clothes.
4. Air Pollution
One of the main issues in AZ is that its air quality continues to decline compared to the overall air quality of the country. Individuals who have existing respiratory issues and other health conditions that can be exacerbated by air pollution are better off checking out another state.
That said, not all cities in AZ have poor air quality, so consider checking their specific rankings and ratings if you really plan on moving and retiring in the state.
5. Need to Deal With Reptiles and Arthropods
One of the things you need to consider when planning to retire in AZ is the number of reptiles present, specifically coral snakes, rattlesnakes, and Gila monsters. The state also has a good population of Africanized bees that attack in swarms. You must also be careful with desert centipedes when, of course, visiting the deserts in the state.
6. Prone to Natural Disasters
Arizona’s dry climate and extensive forests make it susceptible to wildfires, especially during the hot and dry summer. It also experiences frequent dust storms, known as haboobs, which can reduce visibility and cause dangerous driving conditions.
Low-lying areas and dry riverbeds in the state are also prone to flash floods, particularly during the monsoon season with heavy rainfalls. Lastly, while less common than other natural disasters and in other states like California and Nevada, Arizona does experience earthquakes due to its proximity to the San Andreas Fault.
That said, you must take steps to prepare for them if you plan to live in the state. Ensure you have emergency kits, a fully-packed go-to or survival bag (view on Amazon), and evacuation plans. It’s also wise to stay informed about weather and emergency alerts.
Choosing Arizona for Your Retirement
Retiring in Arizona has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages, so ultimately, deciding to stay in Arizona depends on individual preferences and priorities. You need to consider whether you can live with the cons.
Retirees who value warm weather, outdoor activities, and a low living cost may find Arizona an attractive option. However, those who prefer milder climates or have concerns about natural disasters may want to consider other retirement destinations.