Retiring in Iowa

1 min readLast updated March 30, 2023by Kate Morgan

Iowa, located in the Midwestern region of the United States, is a growing retirement destination for many Americans seeking a more relaxed and affordable lifestyle with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a welcoming community. With its vast farmlands, peaceful countryside, and friendly locals, Iowa offers a unique retirement experience that is attracting retirees from across the country. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Iowa had a population of approximately 3.2 million people, with over 17% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a large retirement population.

What age can you retire in Iowa?

Like many states, Iowa has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in Iowa: 

Why do people retire to Iowa?

  • Affordability: Iowa's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, which is a huge advantage for retirees on a fixed income. Housing and healthcare costs are also lower than in many other states, making it a very attractive destination for retirees. 

  • Outdoor activities: Iowa is home to numerous state parks, lakes, and trails, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping. The state is also known for its beautiful scenic drives and relaxing countryside. 

  • Friendly community: Iowans are known for their welcoming and friendly nature, making it easy for retirees to feel at home and make new friends. The state is also home to many retirement communities that offer various services and activities for seniors. 

  • Cultural scene: Iowa has a rich cultural scene, with numerous museums, theaters, and performing arts venues. The state hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Iowa State Fair, the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival, and the Des Moines Arts Festival. 

What puts people off retiring to Iowa?

  • Weather: Iowa has a four-season climate, with hot summers and cold winters. The state is also prone to tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas. 

  • Limited public transportation: Iowa's public transportation system is not as extensive as in other states, which could be a disadvantage for retirees who do not drive or prefer not to drive. 

  • Limited job opportunities: Iowa's job market is not as robust as in other states, which could be a concern for retirees who want to work part-time or continue working after retirement. However, there are many opportunities for volunteer work and community involvement. 

Best places to retire in Iowa

If Iowa is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in: 

  1. Des Moines: As the capital and largest city of Iowa, Des Moines offers a vibrant downtown area with cultural events and activities, museums, parks, and trails. The city also boasts excellent healthcare facilities and a low cost of living. 

  2. Cedar Rapids: This city in Eastern Iowa is known for its excellent healthcare system, abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, and cultural amenities. Cedar Rapids is home to a variety of festivals, museums, and theaters, as well as a thriving downtown area. 

  3. Ames: Home to Iowa State University, Ames is a college town that offers an active and intellectual lifestyle. The city has a low crime rate, affordable housing, and a range of recreational activities, including parks, golf courses, and hiking trails. 

  4. Iowa City: Located in Eastern Iowa, Iowa City is a vibrant college town with a rich cultural and intellectual atmosphere. The city offers a variety of museums, galleries, and performing arts venues, as well as excellent healthcare facilities. 

  5. West Des Moines: This suburb of Des Moines is known for its safe and family-friendly environment, as well as its low cost of living. West Des Moines offers numerous parks and trails, a variety of shopping and dining options, and a strong sense of community. 

In conclusion, although limited public transportation and job opportunities are considerations, Iowa is a great option for retirees who value a peaceful and affordable lifestyle, while still having access to cultural and recreational amenities. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Iowa, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement. 

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.