Florida, California and Arizona likely will always be high on the retirement “hot list,” but more retirees these days are considering senior living in Las Vegas, too. The metro area’s senior population has been growing rapidly for the past decade. In fact, the 65+ crowd in Clark County, Nevada, grew by 6% in 2013 alone, according to Census figures.
Here are a few reasons you might want to join the flow of seniors to Sin City – and a few reasons you might want to reconsider retiring in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Weather: Sunny Days for Days
First perk of all: the weather! Although Las Vegas does often endure three-digit high temperatures in the summer, the rest of the year tends to be mild and warm. The city’s dry desert climate helps make the hotter months more bearable, as well. And there is no shortage of air-conditioned locations to escape to when the mercury climbs.
If you are a retiree who enjoys a change of seasons, this is not the locale for you. But for those craving (or needing, for health reasons) a warm, sunny climate, it’s hard to beat the benefits of this desert community.
The Smart Money on Vegas
A retirement in Nevada makes a lot of financial sense for many individuals. Nevada is one of only a few states that does not impose an income tax – and that includes income from Social Security and retirement accounts. The state does not have estate or inheritance taxes, either.
The housing market in Nevada was hard-hit in 2007. Though housing has experienced a dramatic recovery in recent years, it can still be affordable to buy a home in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas metropolitan area includes many suburban communities just a short drive from the city’s epicenter – including Paradise, Henderson and the affluent planned community Summerlin – all of which offer a wide range of rentals. Prices for homes and rentals vary greatly by ZIP code, so explore to find the area best for you.
Despite any price fluctuations by region, it’s hard to top Nevada’s property tax system, which is based on 35 percent of the fair market value of the property. Many other states use the model of 100 percent. And residents over the age of 62 who qualify can receive a rebate of up to 90 percent of their property taxes each year.
Playtime: Gaming, Food and Outdoors
Las Vegas is full of things to do on and off the Strip. The obvious standout is the city’s famous casino culture, but seniors can also enjoy outdoor activities suited to Nevada’s sunny weather. Golf, biking, swimming, hiking … it’s all here.
Foodies will love Las Vegas’ world-class restaurants, and it would take years to work through the town’s many shows, musicals, concerts and entertainment options. The area is served by several colleges and universities, including the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where retirees can enjoy art, theater and lectures from internationally recognized figures.
Due to the ever-increasing number of seniors both visiting here and retiring in Las Vegas, many local businesses offer senior discounts. Always ask what is available! Some casinos have “Senior Days” on which special incentives, ranging from multipliers on slot winnings to reduced prices on dining, are served up. Retirees can also score discounts on certain show tickets, public transportation, off-Strip dining and even thrift shops around town.
Bet on Visitors
Las Vegas stands out as an attractive tourist destination for just about everyone, which means you can count on friends and relatives coming to visit. The city has a surprising number of under-21 excursions, eateries and attractions, making it convenient for grandchildren of all ages. Try taking the kids to such standout attractions as Hoover Dam, the Neon Museum and the Ethel M Chocolate Factory – or just let them enjoy one of the many all-ages arcades in the Strip’s fabulous resorts. Many of Las Vegas’ famous buffets offer discounts for kids, too.
Flights at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport are plentiful and often discounted to and from major cities, so it is easy for guests to come in – or for you to fly out and enjoy traveling in your retirement years. If you’re up for a road trip, just hop in your car and drive to Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, Phoenix or Salt Lake City – all just a few hours away.
Gambling With the Downsides of Vegas
Las Vegas does have its share of cons that retirees should take into account when deciding if the region is right for them. The No. 1 negative for many is the city’s crime rate. The violent crime rate in Las Vegas is 130% higher than the national average. This can be expected in a region where gambling, alcohol and sex prevail.
Speaking of those vices, some retirees may be turned off by their prevalence. Keep in mind that they are everywhere – slot machines crowd convenience stores, and people hand out fliers for strip clubs on the street. The good news is that these elements are largely contained within the Vegas Strip and downtown areas; they virtually disappear in the outlying suburbs.
The public transit system is not as extensive or efficient as in other major cities, so unless you are prepared to drive, be aware that it is possible to be bound to whatever neighborhood you choose in the sprawling metro area. (As an aside, traffic can be bad in Vegas, too!)
If you decide that the many positives of retiring in Las Vegas outweigh the negatives, then what are you waiting for? Roll the dice and make the move out to the desert.