“But it’s a dry heat!” Those words are never heard more often than coming from the mouths of Arizona residents, in defense of how they manage to live – and thrive – in their state’s well-documented record temperatures. Outsiders might consider that infamous heat, dry or otherwise, a reason not to consider retirement in Arizona.
But the truth is, Arizona is hot not only on the thermometer – it’s a hot destination to put down roots, for people of all ages. Seniors have made Arizona a prime retirement destination for decades. Here are some reasons the heat is on in the Grand Canyon State.
That Dry Arizona Heat
The weather, of course, is probably the first thing most people mention or question when considering Arizona for retirement. Yes, it’s hot, and can become oppressively hot in summer. However, a solid seven months of the year offer a pleasant, sunny and dry climate. When temperatures begin to climb into the high 90s to low 100s, retirees should feel fine outdoors due to the lack of humidity. (That’s right, “But it’s a dry heat” is a valid statement!) Still, be aware that the mercury can climb well above 100 in some areas – and that means you may want to stay inside on those days.
High Temperatures, Low Taxes
On a practical note, whether or not you are a fan of hot weather, Arizona offers some compelling financial advantages for retirees. The state has no tax on Social Security income, no inheritance tax, no gift tax, and no estate tax. Also, housing is affordable in Arizona. The Phoenix metro area, for example, is the eighth most affordable big U.S. metro for buying a home. The median home price in the Phoenix area in April 2016 was $235,000; the median condo price was $146,500, according to The Arizona Republic.
Speaking of housing, seniors who are seeking an active retirement community should know that Arizona is the birthplace of the 55+ master-planned living concept. Sun City, Arizona, which opened in 1960, was America’s first community designed specifically for seniors who wanted to enjoy leisure and recreation with other retirees in a vacation-style setting. Sun City is still active to this day, and paved the way for the state’s hundreds of other adult communities – as well as set the standard for the entire nation.
Get out and Explore Arizona
Arizona is a nature’s wonderland of the West – a beautiful state with numerous areas to explore. Most notably, it’s home to Grand Canyon National Park and Red Rock State Park. Plus, Arizona offers outdoor activities in droves for seniors and their families to enjoy. White-water rafting, horseback riding, and fishing along the Colorado River are popular.
Although Arizona is noted most often for its desert climate, it also offers skiing in the higher-elevated area around Flagstaff. And, for those who like golf, the state has more than 70 golf courses, attracting aficionados from around the country.
Culturally, the state is home to a number of Native American tribes, including the majority of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the United States. Fans of the Old West will delight in visiting Arizona’s preserved towns and landmarks documenting the era and cowboy culture.
Cities From Urban to Artistic
It may sound like a cliché, but Arizona has something for everyone. Those who enjoy the pace and style of a large urban area will enjoy living in Phoenix. Nearby Scottsdale offers a luxurious, upscale lifestyle. Tucson and Tempe both house major universities. Sedona offers an otherworldly spiritual and artistic community unlike anything else in the nation.
Best of all, residents can travel easily to and from these very different destinations, creating “mini-vacations” right in their own state. For example, a mere two-hour drive will take you from the hustle of downtown Phoenix to the completely different, majestic red rock formations of Sedona. Such short journeys provide a perfect option for getaways, celebrations, or ideas for entertaining visitors. Those who like longer road trips will enjoy easy access to popular destinations such as California and Nevada. (Las Vegas is about four and a half hours from Phoenix by car.)
Who Wouldn’t Like It in Arizona?
Given the list of pros, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that this state is extremely popular with retirees. However, it’s not for everyone.
The desert climate provides the polar opposite of what a fan of seasonal living and cooler weather desires. Likewise, those who prefer green landscapes may find the majority of Arizona to be visually jarring.
If politics are an important consideration, the state is well known for its conservative leanings, with some policies that may not sit well with those who have stronger liberal views.