11 Underrated Reasons You Should Retire in Arizona (Did You Know About #9?)

There’s always the promise of sun in The Grand Canyon State.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Retirees always seem to be chasing the sun, beautiful landscapes, and the promise of lower taxes — and who could blame them? That’s why so many end up looking at Arizona as a destination for a stress-free retirement.

But is “The Grand Canyon State” an ideal place to retire? If you’re looking at the incredible landscape, jaw-dropping views, and the lack of an estate tax, then yes. Here’s what you need to know before you decide to plant your golden-year roots in Arizona.

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Lots of retirees

Salsabila Ariadina/Adobe athletic retirees doing yoga

It’s nice moving to a place where you’ll have a built-in community. Arizona is the sixth most popular state for retirees, and that means you’ll likely find lots of new friends who are in a similar life stage to you.

Sunshine year-round

Monkey Business/Adobe couple on road trip

Arizona gets only eight inches of rain annually, which means most of your days will be spent basking in the sunshine. While the summer sun can be oppressive, you won’t complain about temperatures from late fall through spring, when you can expect highs to hit between 66 and 85.

Tax-friendly policies for retirees

Юлия Завалишина/Adobe managing bank finances calculating taxes

Taxes are a big consideration for those living on a fixed income, and Arizona has its retirees in mind. First, Arizona’s income tax is only 2.5%, which is the lowest in the country. Second, your Social Security benefits won’t be taxed in Arizona and there are exemptions on retirement income.

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Good health care

Studio Romantic/Adobe caring doctor teaches female patient

Arizona has the Mayo Clinic and Banner Medical System, both of which are nationally ranked health care systems. There are also top-ranked hospitals across the major cities in the state. Wherever you go, there is bound to be excellent health care within a short drive.

Outdoor recreation

Kay Abrahams/peopleimages.com/Adobe senior couple running in park

Staying active is a top priority for many in their golden years, and Arizona is brimming with activities for adventurous retirees. Whether you’re hiking desert trails, mountain biking, bird watching, or even camping, you’ll never run out of terrain to explore.

Great golf

moodboard/Adobe couple on a golf course

Want to work on your golf game now that you have free weekdays ahead of you? Arizona, particularly Scottsdale, is home to fantastic golf courses. You can work on your swing while looking out at incredible desert views. Plus, many of the courses are affordable to play, which is a bonus for those on a fixed income.

A range of retirement communities

Monkey Business/Adobe retired couple sitting on bench

If you want options when it comes to picking the right retirement community, then Arizona could be the right spot for you. Over 150 active adult communities exist in Arizona, with many around Sun City and Green Valley.

Diverse arts and culture

BGStock72/Adobe potter working on pottery wheel

Arizona is a place unlike any other with arts and culture that represents a range of people and groups throughout history. 

There are museums like the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum, which look at Arizona’s Native American populations. There’s the Desert Botanical Garden, Lowell Observatory, and even the Musical Instrument Museum.

Few allergies

djoronimo/Adobe woman sitting blowing nose

This may not have been at the top of your list when you were looking at retirement considerations, but Arizona’s climate doesn’t lend itself to growing the type of vegetation that causes allergies. That means you could go sniffle-free throughout your later years.

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So many sports

Khaligo/Adobe senior man playing tennis

If you love cheering on a hometown team, Arizona gives you more than a few to pick from. There’s the Arizona Cardinals NFL team, the Diamondbacks MLB team, the Phoenix Suns NBA team, and the Arizona Coyotes NHL team. And, with commitment-free days ahead, you have all the time to go to afternoon games.

No estate tax

alexskopje/Adobe estate tax form

If what happens to your wealth after you’re gone is a top concern, then you’ll be glad to know that Arizona does not have an estate tax or an inheritance tax. This means more of your money goes toward the people you love rather than the government.

Bottom line

Brocreative/Adobe hiking together in a canyon

While there’s no perfect place to retire, it’s important to go in with a clear vision. 

While Arizona’s heat may be oppressive to some, the abundance of sunshine and the low income tax could outweigh any negatives. Just think carefully about your priorities and how those stack up with your dream retirement location when you plan for retirement.

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Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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