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Retirement Tips

Phoenix Retirement Guide: Is the Arizona Hot Spot Right for You?

Phoenix, Arizona is a hot spot for snowbirds and permanent transplants alike. With fantastic weather and a comparably low cost of living, it’s easy to see why. The Phoenix metro – including Phoenix, Mesa, Apache Junction, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Glendale – is one area you won’t want to overlook if you’re considering an Arizona retirement. Just be aware that not everything is always sunny in Phoenix. So, consider these pros and cons of a Phoenix retirement.

Pros of a Phoenix Retirement

Phoenix, Arizona, downtown with mountains in distance

Warm, Dry Climate

The Phoenix area’s most significant draw for retirees is its sunny, warm weather. Rarely will you see a cloudy day in Phoenix. The lowest average monthly low temperature in Phoenix is 45 Fahrenheit degrees in December. You’ll see lovely highs in the 60s, 70s, and 80s in winter, spring and fall. This warm weather is excellent for people with ailments such as arthritis, which is often worsened with cold weather, as well as those with seasonal affective disorder.

[The Positive Effects of Moving to Warmer Weather]

Low Cost of Living

Phoenix is one of the most affordable big cities in the country. In fact, the cost of living in Phoenix is lower than the national average. It’s even lower in Mesa and Glendale. The advantage really becomes clear when you compare the cost of living in Phoenix to that of other major West Coast cities. While Phoenix’s cost of living is 3 percent below the national average, according to recent figures, the cost of living in Las Vegas is 4 percent higher than the national average. The cost of living in Los Angeles is a whopping 42 percent above the national average. It’s easy to understand why so many Angelenos have been moving to Phoenix.

A note on taxes: Arizona offers good news/bad news on taxes. While the state doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, and income taxes are low, according to Kiplinger, sales taxes are high. Many cities also tax groceries, through Phoenix and Mesa don’t.

Recreation and Natural Attractions

Man hiking through spring flowers outside Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix and Arizona offer abundant recreational opportunities and natural attractions. Arizona is the Grand Canyon State after all. If adventure is on your retirement bucket list, the Phoenix area is the place to be. The city itself has 200 miles of hiking trails. Within 150 miles of the city, you can go whitewater rafting in the Salt River Canyon, skiing in Flagstaff, and hang-gliding in Maricopa. If you prefer something a little more down to earth, consider a membership or volunteering at Desert Botanical Garden. Or, of course, the Phoenix area boasts dozens of golf courses.

Lots of Retirement Community Choices

Retirement living was basically invented in the Phoenix area. Sun City, Arizona, which opened in 1960, was America’s first community planned and designed specifically for active retired adults. Sun City set a precedent, and Phoenix-area retirement communities have multiplied since.

Among retirement community choices in the Phoenix area, you’ll find:

If you want to live in a community that is nearly or exclusively for retirement-age residents, you find dozens of 55+ and 62+ communities in the Phoenix area. The Phoenix area also is popular for manufactured homes for sale or rent. Manufactured homes generally are less expensive than traditional houses.

Cons of a Phoenix Retirement

Cactus and blazing sun outside Phoenix, Arizona

Hot, Hot Summers

Remember what we said about the lovely winters, springs, and falls in the Phoenix area? You’ll notice that we skipped a season: summer. That’s because, while the average summer temperature in Phoenix is around 93 degrees, high temperatures often reach 100 and above. Average highs in June, July and August are 104 to 106. While the warm weather and sunny days can help your health and mood, summer heat is the downside. You might want to retreat to your retirement community’s air-conditioned clubhouse or jump in the swimming pool. Fortunately, many Phoenix-area retirement communities boast of one if not multiple pools.

Traffic Congestion

Although it’s no comparison to cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle, Phoenix traffic often gets congested during peak hours. One study ranked Phoenix among the top 25 most congested cities in the country. The Phoenix metro does have a light rail line, which mainly connects downtown Phoenix to Tempe and Mesa. If driving less is on your retirement to-do list, study the local bus routes or look for a retirement community with transportation services. Of course, if you’re retired, it helps that you can stay off the roads during rush hour.

What do you think? Have you retired in the Phoenix area? Share your insights in the comments below. Or, if you’re considering a Phoenix retirement, post your questions.

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    1. Is there a possibility of acquiring an apartment or rental immediately?? Or a long wait time into an over 55 community living.. 1 Bdrm is good enough for me.. I’m desperate to escape the Bitter, Blustery Winter of Ohio. Realized my health does not agree anymore with these freezing temperatures..

    2. Kathleen Regan says:

      Looking at Mesa and Apache junction for over 55 manufactured homes to rent or buy any comments,personal stories would be helpful also thoughts on quality of health care

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