Social Security

10 Best Cities to Retire in Arizona in 2021

If retirement means getting away from cold weather forever, Arizona is your state.

Stephanie Faris
Published March 15th, 2021
Table of Contents
Key Takeaways
  • From the cheapest cities in Arizona to the priciest, you can find an area that has all the things you need.
  • In most of Arizona, you’ll enjoy a warm climate year-round, but you can find areas that get significant snowfall.
  • If you’re looking for outdoor recreation, consider one of the state’s lakefront or mountain communities.

If retirement means getting away from cold weather forever, Arizona is your state. Although the summers are sweltering, the winters are mild in most areas, giving you plenty of comfortable days.

The best places to retire in Arizona have access to attractions and plenty of activities for older adults. Your Social Security earnings won’t be taxed, but other forms of retirement income will. When combined with a higher-than-average sales tax, you may find the state’s tax-friendliness lacking. But the cost of living is lower than other states, making up for it.

Apache Junction

  • CITY POPULATION: 42,571
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 33%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 18% below the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $26,637
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

For cost of living, it’s tough to beat Apache Junction, one of the best cities to retire in Arizona due to its affordability. The nearby 12-acre Superstition Mountain Museum, complete with an Elvis chapel, makes this area popular with tourists. But its proximity to Phoenix and plenty of amenities also make it great for retirees.

Sun City

  • COUNTY POPULATION: 37,449
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 75.8%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 11% below the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $32,521
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

When people ask is Arizona a good place to retire, generally Sun City is one of the first places that comes up. As the country’s first 55-plus community, this area was built for the needs of active adults. The city’s recreational features will give you plenty of activities year-round, and golfers will love the 11 championship golf courses, eight of which are open to the public.

Sedona

  • CITY POPULATION: 10,339
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 42.6%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 29% above the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $47,509
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

Although it’s on the pricey side, Sedona is one of the best retirement communities in Arizona for those who love nature. Best known for its “Red Rocks,” Sedona has plenty of mountainous areas ideal for walks and hikes.

Catalina Foothills

  • CITY POPULATION: 50,796
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 31.5%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 8% above the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $66,338
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

If you prefer a more suburban lifestyle, the Catalina Foothills could be one of the best towns in Arizona for you. Located near the Santa Catalina Mountains, you’ll get a combination of outdoor and indoor activities, with shopping, dining, and plenty of attractions.

Peoria

  • CITY POPULATION: 175,961
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 16.9%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 0% below the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $34,343
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

With 55-plus communities and plenty of shopping and dining, those looking for an active life in Arizona will likely find it in Peoria. The city is also home to golf clubs and lakes, for those who prefer outdoor recreation.

Tucson

  • CITY POPULATION: 548,073
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 14.3%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 6% below the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $23,655
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

Located near Tombstone, Tucson is a robust, highly populated city. But what makes it one of the top retirement cities is its events throughout the year. Tucson has an active entertainment community, with year-round cultural activities taking place.

Litchfield Park

  • CITY POPULATION: 6,436
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 26%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 17% above the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $42,435
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

This suburb of Phoenix is considered one of the nice cities in Arizona for a variety of reasons. You’ll find plenty of outdoor spaces, along with access to all the amenities that come with suburban life.

Lake Havasu City

  • CITY POPULATION: 55,856
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 33.1%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 2% above the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $32,160
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

Lakefront living makes this city one of the places to retire in Arizona, especially if you like outdoor recreation. You’ll find plenty of fishing, golf courses, and activities like tennis and pickleball. Nearby facilities like the Havasu Regional Medical Center and the Havasu Surgery Center will give you access to the medical care you need.

Prescott

  • CITY POPULATION: 44,299
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 37.3%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 0% below the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $36,111
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

The nearby Prescott National Forest puts Prescott toward the top of the list of the Arizona retirement cities. In addition to plenty of outdoor recreational activities, you’ll find live music, art galleries, and plenty of dining and shopping.

Flagstaff

  • CITY POPULATION: 75,038
  • SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 8.4%
  • COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 16% above the national average
  • PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $26,954
  • TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Moderately Tax Friendly

If you prefer a chillier climate, retiring in Flagstaff, AZ will give you those snowy winters you like. More than 200 restaurants will give you a diverse selection of dining options, and the award-winning Flagstaff Medical Center will give you peace of mind when it comes to healthcare access.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the best places to retire in Arizona on a budget, it’s important to know the cost of living in your favorite area of the state. Since financial needs vary from one person to another, though, it’s important to assess your own post-retirement income and expenses. Retirable can help you come up with a plan that will ensure you can live comfortably in your favorite Arizona city.

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Author
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a writer for a credit card processing service and has written about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on Money Under 30, The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, E-commerce Insiders, and GoBankingRates.

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