Top Reasons to Retire in Arizona

In a totally unscientific study, I asked my friends at Quail Creek what drove their decision to choose an az retirement community  and what they like most about their retirement community  now that they’re here.  The overwhelming response to both questions was “great weather”.  The respondents have moved to Quail Creek  from a variety of climates to include the midwest, northeast, and northwest regions of our country.  They left behind winters of gray days, frigid temperatures, and snow shoveling.  The importance of splendid weather seems to be heightened in retirees who have more “discretionary” time to enjoy outdoor activities.  (To be honest, if you’re spending your days in an office environment, it doesn’t matter much if the “weather outside is frightful”.)   Check out websites that rank sunny days or amount of sunshine by state and you’ll find Arizona at or near the top every time.

So, what would you find to do with your “discretionary” time in an active retirement community in the weather-friendly state of Arizona?    Lots.  Retired Arizonans can enjoy outdoor sports as either a spectator or participant!  From professional sports, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Arizona Cardinals, to college sports, there are plenty of opportunities for “sideline” sports enthusiasts.  If you’d rather participate, there is an abundance of golf, tennis, Pickleball, swimming, hiking, biking, and softball venues (and the list goes on…) for outdoor fun.  Of course, there are plenty of community facilities available for indoor sports and fitness activities as well.  Even if you’ve never been much of a sports participant before, retirement is a great time to start.

If sporting isn’t your thing, the superb weather is also conducive to exploring the many attractions, natural and otherwise, the state has to offer.    According to the National Park Service, Arizona is home to 22 national parks, including one of the seven wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon National Park.  In addition, there are 30 state parks to visit in Arizona, including Kartchner Caverns State Park and the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park.

Take a ride through the state.  Elevation changes from the southern half of the state (lower elevation) to the northern half (higher elevation) providing dramatically different environments, from the mountain ranges and desert plains of the southern half to the “red rock country” of the northern half.  The mid-state “transition zone” exhibits characteristics of both the northern and southern regions.  This geographical variety provides a never-ending array of unique visiting sites (Meteor Crater, the Painted Desert, and Petrified Forest of the north to the Sonoran desert beauty and copper mines of the south).

And what about the financial advantages of retiring in Arizona?  According to Kiplinger’s “State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees”, Arizona is one of the top ten most tax-friendly states for retirees with a low personal income tax rate that tops out at 4.54%.  Social Security benefits are exempt, as is up to $2,500 of some retirement income.  Arizona’s state sales tax is 5.6%.  There is no inheritance tax, gift tax or estate tax.  Plus, the cost of living in Arizona is lower than the national average.  This means your housing dollars will go further here.

If you’re not convinced that Arizona is one of the best retirement destinations, come visit.  When you do, leave your heavy coats, boots, and mittens behind, but, of course, bring sunscreen.

Author:  Dreama Fumia