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retiring to Arizona or Utah, pros and cons?

IgloooIglooo Registered User Posts: 7,246 Senior Member
Taxes are lower, much lower than where I live now. Better climate, better scenery, more enticing to kid to come home. I am still hesitant to pull stakes and move. What should I know about it before diving into the change?

Replies to: retiring to Arizona or Utah, pros and cons?

  • HannaHanna Registered User Posts: 14,248 Senior Member
    Are you looking for a big city or more of a rural area? What do you do for fun? Do you need to be near a big airport?
  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,579 Senior Member
    Depends on what you are looking for and what part of AZ. I live in AZ and like it. Sonoran Desert in the south. Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff in north. Most of the state's population is in Phoenix area.
  • greenwitchgreenwitch Registered User Posts: 7,338 Senior Member
    D3 is at college in northern Arizona. I find it amazing that we can fly to Phoenix, such a big airport in a big city, and get in and out faster and easier than anywhere else that is comparable. I'm sure people complain about the traffic, but from what I've experienced, it's far less than Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, etc. People are not loony-bin drivers and there are no tolls. You can move into the HOV-2 lane with no electronic devices needed.

    That being said, I wouldn't want to live in the Phoenix area because the sun is relentless and the tap water is nasty. But if you were somewhere else in the state, it's really nice to know that you can come and go through Phoenix pretty easily. The airport security line can be long, but that's tolerable.

    I don't know as much about Utah but you might want to look into whatever local politics might drive you crazy in each place. And services for seniors and possible property tax freezes for seniors.
  • 1214mom1214mom Registered User Posts: 3,787 Senior Member
    I suggest you make a list of what's really important to you, and then compare different places against that list.
    For us healthcare, safety, proximity to a fairly large airport, more "blue" than "red," access to nature and other activities and several other criteria make up our list.
  • IgloooIglooo Registered User Posts: 7,246 Senior Member
    I am looking for simpler life, outdoors. Southern Utah or Northern Arizona. I was in the area last week. I had the best time in my life. It's just hard to know how that would translate to a long term stay.
  • NJresNJres Registered User Posts: 5,900 Senior Member
    edited October 8
    We have family in the Scottsdale area that moved there from NY/NJ many years ago. They have been very happy there, but they can afford to escape the intolerably hot days of summer (2nd home in Flagstaff + other options). We could not, so didn't consider moving there.

    A young friend of mine lives in Manhattan and took a very good job in Salt Lake City. The pictures of his view from his office were amazing! (snow covered mountains). After 6 months he quit and moved back to NY. He couldn't handle the culture shock.
  • IgloooIglooo Registered User Posts: 7,246 Senior Member
    I suspect that it will be less culture shock for me. I am mainly looking for a simpler life. Heat could be a problem.
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Registered User Posts: 6,036 Senior Member
    edited October 8
    I have spent a fair amount of time in Utah -- we lived in a neighboring state for 5 years.

    Utah is a wonderland for those who want an active outdoor lifestyle. My S and H are addicted to Moab and they have done more than a few road trips there with our Jeeps. I accompanied them on the last trip and it is a breathtaking place. And of course Utah has Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Sundance for skiing -- all are fabulous. But for a permanent move I am sure you have thought about the culture and how that would or would not work for you. I think now about 63% of Utah's population are members of the Church of LDS -- which is fine if you are too. But if not it is much harder to assimilate and become deeply involved in the community because so much revolves around the church. I don't say this from personal experience rather from what I have heard from people who have moved there and found it difficult to integrate. Not saying it can't be done but more difficult.
  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,579 Senior Member
    I understand you may not to post where you live and your name is Iglooo (hint?) but the heat is relative. I live in the hottest part of AZ, far hotter than northern AZ. There are pretty miserable days in the summer when the temp is over 110. That said, winter is amazing. Survive four months to get 8 months of great weather. It's the opposite of New England. Folks hibernate in July/Aug rather than February/March.

    Phoenix is not a bad drive from Northern AZ but you don't have to deal with the city. Sedona is beautiful. I've met people who love living in Prescott. Lot's of options within a days drive into UT, CA, or CO to keep from getting bored.

    I doubt I'll retire here because I do miss weather changes and trees, although Northern AZ has trees but I enjoy living here.

    Good luck on the search.
  • DiotimaDMDiotimaDM Registered User Posts: 994 Member
    You may want to add New Mexico to the list. I'm not an expert at all, but I hear that retirees like Placitas, just north of ABQ, plus the Santa Fe area.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,463 Senior Member
    You need to make lists. Culture is huge. Do you fit religious and political demographics? Ethnic groups? You need to figure out how the weather suits you. A week at the worst time of year. We chose Florida over the desert southwest because of our preferences- want the green despite the humidity. City size and the amenities count. We like the big city living (on outskirts of Tampa) which includes good libraries. Plenty of people from elsewhere so being new common.

    You need to be taking trips in all weather to places on your radar. Or at least pay attention to weather. Figure out how many others of your age/retirement status are around and services/activities. Finding out foods you take for granted are not available can mean something.

    Remember to look at housing- can you find it in your budget and where you would like to be housebound? Outdoors can be wonderful- in the cooler season but the high heat means no sitting outside.

    Our search yielded no perfect place exists. The combination of local factors works for us now. And son moved to Seattle- about as far as he could get. Single summer trips there for us (love the PNW then) and a winter trip here for him in the gloomy season there. Travel time counts. It was 100 degrees at 10 pm local time one trip with a plane change in Phoenix!
  • TatinGTatinG Registered User Posts: 5,490 Senior Member
    Tucson is a bit cooler than Phoenix since it is at a slightly higher elevation. It also has the University of Arizona for activities.

    In planning for retirement I would want to look at a community or neighborhood where people are there full time and not just snow birds.
  • OnwardOnward Registered User Posts: 2,805 Senior Member
    I would go out and spend some time during the off season..ie- summer and see how you like it.
  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad Registered User Posts: 600 Member
    For southern Utah and northern Arizona, research the culture of the specific areas. Flagstaff is pretty different from the small towns of southern Utah, which are influenced by the religious culture. Sedona is different from Flagstaff. All of that area is beautiful, but you may fit better in some areas than others. In the desert areas of Arizona, part time residents are common and its worth investigating whether your neighbors leave every summer, particularly in retirement communities.
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