Retiring in Houston

1 min readLast updated February 1, 2024by Rachel Carey

This article delves into why retiring in Houston is an attractive option for thousands of Americans every year, looking at the pros and cons, the best places to retire, and age-related and tax considerations.

Summary

  • Houston is becoming one of America’s most popular retirement destinations. 

  • Texas is tax-friendly, with exemptions and discounts for homeowners and retirees and no state income tax. 

  • The metropolis has many pros and cons that retirees need to consider. 

  • Katy is home to some of the best retirement communities in Houston. 

  • A financial advisor can review your unique situation and help you create a retirement plan. 

Is Houston a good place to retire? 

Offering vibrant cultural diversity, a galaxy of dining and lifestyle options, affordable living, and year-round warm weather, Space City is fast becoming one of America’s most popular retirement destinations.  

The trend of retiring in Houston isn’t new – 5,739 people moved to the Texan metropolis from another county, state, or country in 2019 alone.  

Tax-friendly laws, warm weather for most of the year, rich cultural diversity, and the low cost of living are some of the pros that come with retiring in Houston; the city can also have its downsides.  

What are the pros and cons of retiring in Houston 

As popular as the metropolis is with some retirees, there are drawbacks that some people find off-putting enough to choose another destination. 

Discover the pros and cons of retiring in Houston below. 

Pros: 

  • Warm climate: Houston is temperate to warm for most of the year – January sees an average high of 62°F. If you want to escape wet, icy winters and shoveling snow, spending your retirement in Houston, Texas, can be a comfortable way to do it. 

  • A foodie’s paradise: Houston’s incredible cultural diversity has transformed the city into a foodie’s paradise. In addition to being home to some of the region’s top Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican restaurants, the city also boasts global cuisines from Cajun to German and from Moroccan to Vietnamese. 

  • Low cost of living: Central Houston housing prices, especially rentals, are steep, but the overall cost of living in the city is 10% lower than the national average. Look at retirement communities in Houston beyond the city center, and you will find that housing costs are 22% lower than the national average. You can also benefit from tax-friendly state laws as well as generous property tax exemptions for residents aged 65 and older. 

  • Convenient location for day trips: Houston’s location makes the city a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area, especially if you enjoy taking day trips. The city is located within easy reach of the Gulf of Mexico’s beautiful beaches, such as Galveston and Galveston Island, as well as green spaces, such as the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, and Sam Houston National Forest. 

Cons: 

  • Heavy traffic: Houston is one of the most congested cities in the US, although retiring in Houston should give you the benefit of being able to avoid rush hours. Public transport options such as the city’s METRORail can help you to avoid the traffic altogether. 

  • Urban sprawl: Houston is the fourth most populous city in the US, and it’s spread out over a large area. While many neighborhoods are walkable, the vastness of the city makes it difficult to do much walking beyond your immediate neighborhood. 

  • Humidity and pollution: The hot summers and heavy traffic of Space City mean high levels of humidity and pollution. The American Lung Association’s 2022 State of the Air report scored Harris County F for high ozone days and D for particle pollution. This can make living in the metropolis difficult for people with asthma, cardiovascular disease, COPD, and lung cancer. 

What are the best places to retire in Houston? 

The best retirement communities in Houston have wide appeal and offer a plethora of lifestyle options. The top five places include: 

  1. Katy: A perfect suburb for people looking for a well-balanced blend of an active lifestyle and home comforts, Katy has more than 55+ retirement communities, affordable housing, and one of the best doctor-per-capita ratios in the metro area. You can also take advantage of market days and festivals throughout the year, as well as relatively easy access to beautiful outdoor attractions such as Katy Heritage Park. 

  2. Richmond: Offering a peaceful, quiet setting, Richmond’s distance from Houston proper gives the suburb a countryside charm. You’ll find a variety of activities and amenities, a range of housing options at affordable prices, good medical facilities, and easy access to major roads. 

  3. Webster: The third best place for retirement in Houston, Texas, Webster is ideal for people who want to live a life that balances activity and relaxation. The suburb offers a plethora of parks and golf courses, museums, movie theaters and bowling alleys, boutique shops, outlet malls, more than 150 restaurants, and superb medical services. 

  4. Tomball: Quaint and charming, Tomball has much to offer in the form of shops, museums, markets, restaurants, live music, medical facilities, and parks with outdoor activities. There is a variety of housing options with a wide price range. 

  5. Humble: Surrounded by greenery, Humble is an idyllic suburb with many amenities and recreational activities available. In addition to gardens, parks, hospitals, and clinics, there are many boutiques, shops, restaurants, and golf courses in the area. Humble is home to a number of popular retirement communities in Houston. 

What age can you retire in Houston? 

Texas law does not mandate a retirement age, so you can consider retiring in Houston at any age – provided you can support yourself. There are a few benefits that come with waiting until your mid-60s before retiring, such as: 

  • Medicare eligibility: You become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, regardless of your retirement status. 

  • Social Security benefits: Although you can start receiving benefits when you turn 62, you can receive bigger monthly payments if you delay claiming them for a few more years. 

  • No age discrimination: Employers may not discriminate against applicants or employees based on their age, according to the law. 

  • Retirement savings: According to many financial advisors, you should aim to save at least 15% of your income for retirement. It’s good to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Find out more about the average retirement savings in the US

What taxes do retirees pay in Houston? 

The Lone Star state is tax-friendly, which is one of the reasons many Americans choose retirement in Houston, Texas. There is no state income tax, and there’s no state tax on Social Security benefits, retirement account income, pension income, and other types of retirement income, such as working part-time.  

While the state sales tax is higher than 8%, groceries, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medication are exempt. The state also offers a $10,000 senior property tax exemption and a homestead exemption, while Harris County offers an optional $3,000 homestead exemption and a 10% homestead cap on property tax bill increases. 

The bottom line 

If you’re considering joining the 2.2 million people who call Houston ‘home,’ keep reading to learn more about retiring in the metropolis. Your expenses will vary from location to location, depending on your purchasing choices.  

Let Unbiased match you with a financial advisor who can offer expert financial advice and help you navigate your retirement savings options.  

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.