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9 Things You Must Know About Retiring to Arizona

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07.07.2021

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Whatever age you are, retirement planning is vital. And that includes deciding where you're going to spend your retirement, either full time, or as a snowbird.

Some of you have already been exploring, taking advantage of doing remote work the last 16 or so months and traveling while working. That's an advisable way to check out possible retirement locales — including Arizona.

Much like Florida, Arizona’s population swells in the winter months — a study by Arizona State University reported a boost of nearly 300,000 retirees who temporarily settled in Arizona for the winter. In Lake Havasu City, for instance, the year-round population of 57,000 nearly doubled to 100,000.

Many other retirees have settled in Arizona year-round. The nation’s first active adult retirement community sprouted in Youngtown, Ariz., in 1954, and today 13% of the state’s 7.3 million residents are 65 and older.

Is Arizona calling to you, too, as you plot your retirement? Here are nine things you should know before deciding to retire in Arizona.

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Between 2010 and mid-2018, Arizona’s population grew by 12.2%. (By comparison, New York state’s population grew only 0.8%.) In 2020, Arizona was one of the top states with the most inbound movers, according to United Van Lines. Retirement was the reason for the relocation cited by 39.6% of the Arizona newcomers.

There are 166 age-restricted retirement communities, some starting as young as 45, across the state. The most popular, according to 55places.com, a website focused on active adult communities, is Sun City in Sun City, Arizona, an age-restricted retirement community for folks 55 and older. It offers seven recreation centers, "one of the highest rates of golf holes per capita of any active adult community in the country," indoor and outdoor swimming pools, restaurants, and fitness centers as well 30 churches, a synagogue, two libraries, a performing arts center, an on-site hospital, and more.

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You knew that already, didn’t you?

But perhaps you’ve never really experienced it. “Yes, that ‘dry heat’ thing is real,” says Bob Burwell, a retiree from New York state now living in Mesa. “Even in the low 100s at 8% humidity, it is way more tolerable than 85 degrees with 90% humidity. Once the sun sets, the temperature drops rapidly.”

Annual precipitation ranges from 3 inches in the arid southwest to roughly 40 inches in the mountains of east central Arizona, according to the Arizona State University’s climate office.

“The most obvious reason to retire in Arizona is the beautiful climate,” says Damian Bruno, an affiliate agent with the Sedona–Village of Oak Creek office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “However, many do not realize that it is a varied climate, with the northern part of the state receiving four seasons.”

Yes, but those extremes: Arizona, like much of the Southwest and West Coast in the summer of 2021, is enduring days of record-setting hig temperatures.

"God's punished us with a record 62 days with a high over 110 degrees," says Burrell.

And then there's monsoon season, which runs June 15 to Oct. 1. "Predictions call........

© Kiplinger


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