Retiring in Arizona
This article will take you through the main things you need to consider if you are retiring in Arizona.
Arizona, located in the southwestern region of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a warm climate, outdoor activities, and a lower cost of living compared to California. With its diverse landscape, including the Sonoran Desert, mountain ranges, and canyons, Arizona offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Arizona had a population of approximately 7.5 million people, with over 16% 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 Arizona?
Like many states, Arizona 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 Arizona:
Social Security benefits: The earliest age at which you can begin receiving Social Security benefits is 62, but if you delay taking benefits, your monthly payments will increase. Full retirement age (FRA) is between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year. Delaying benefits until after FRA can result in even higher monthly payments.
Medicare eligibility: Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of retirement status. However, if you choose to retire before age 65, you will need to find alternative healthcare coverage until you become eligible for Medicare.
Age discrimination: It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on age.
Retirement savings: Regardless of retirement age, it is important for individuals to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Many financial experts recommend saving at least 15% of your income for retirement.
However, like any location, there are both pros and cons to retiring in the state.
Why do people retire to Arizona?
Warm climate: Arizona is known for its warm climate, with over 300 days of sunshine per year. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who want to avoid harsh winter conditions.
Outdoor activities: Arizona is home to numerous national parks, forests, and lakes, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and golfing.
Cost of living: Arizona's cost of living is generally lower than California's, making it an affordable retirement destination. Housing and healthcare costs, in particular, are lower than in many other states.
Cultural scene: Arizona has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. The state hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, and the Phoenix Film Festival.
What puts people off retiring to Arizona?
Healthcare access: While Arizona has a lower cost of living, some retirees may find it challenging to access healthcare services in certain rural areas.
Retirement income taxes: Arizona does tax retirement income, including Social Security benefits and pensions, which could impact retirees on a fixed income.
Natural disasters: Arizona is prone to natural disasters such as wildfires, dust storms, and flash floods, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas.
Best places to retire in Arizona
If Arizona is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in:
Sedona: Located in northern Arizona, Sedona is known for its stunning red rock formations, hiking trails, and spiritual energy. It offers a peaceful and scenic environment for retirees who enjoy outdoor activities and relaxation.
Scottsdale: Scottsdale is a popular retirement destination located in the Phoenix metropolitan area. It offers a warm and sunny climate, numerous golf courses, and a thriving arts and culture scene. Retirees can enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment in the city's many neighborhoods.
Tucson: Tucson is another popular retirement destination in Arizona, known for its mild winters, beautiful scenery, and rich cultural heritage. Retirees can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, golfing, and biking, as well as a vibrant downtown area with museums, galleries, and restaurants.
Prescott: Prescott is a small city located in northern Arizona, known for its charming downtown area, mild climate, and outdoor recreational opportunities. It offers a small-town feel with easy access to nature and cultural events.
Green Valley: Green Valley is a retirement community located south of Tucson. It offers a warm and sunny climate, beautiful scenery, and a variety of amenities for retirees, including golf courses, fitness centers, and cultural events.
Sun City: Sun City is a large retirement community located in the Phoenix metropolitan area. It offers a range of amenities for retirees, including golf courses, swimming pools, and community centers. Retirees can enjoy a warm and sunny climate and easy access to shopping, dining, and entertainment.
In conclusion, Arizona offers a range of retirement options, from tailored communities with good amenities for retirees to vibrant towns with a cultural scene. The state’s tax burden is a consideration so it's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Arizona, 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.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.