Cheapest Places to Retire – Southwest

Cheapest Places to Retire   Southwest1. Tucson, AZ
Cost of Living: 10.2% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $ 136,700
Top State Income Tax: 4.54%

Tucson’s spectacular weather — the city sees more than 300 sunny days annually, and enjoys an average high of 82 degrees — array of cultural events, abundant land for development and proximity to University of Arizona make it a popular retirement destination. Nearly 25 active retirement communities can be found in Tucson, and more continue to be built each year as the retirement population continues to grow.

Tucson city retains ties to its Western past with events such as the Tucson Rodeo, while Tucson Meet Yourself festival celebrates more than 30 ethnicities represented in the region. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson Festival of Books, and Tucson Symphony Orchestra are just a handful of the city’s many cultural diversions.

Outdoor enthusiasts face no shortage of activities; the city is 25 miles south of hiking, birding and picnicking at Coronado National Forest, and is home to a number of golf courses as well as a botanical garden. More than 10 colleges can be found here, offering retirees the chance to enroll in continuing education classes, and attend lectures.

2. Lake Havasu City, AZ
Cost of Living: 11.2% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $153,950
Top State Income Tax: 4.54%

Lake Havasu City offers retirees the benefits of land-locked Arizona’s warm weather with the added bonus of the waters of Lake Havasu. The lake is, technically, a reservoir, but no matter. Its presence means residents have access to water-based activities, like boating, fishing (at least 10 different species of fish can be found in the lake), and swimming at the beaches. Worried you won’t want to spend your summer days outdoors because of the Arizona heat? There’s even water-fueled respite for retirees during those hot months: pay a visit to the wave pool and waterslide at the Lake Havasu City Aquatic Center.

Plenty of land-based and indoor recreation also await retirees in Lake Havasu City. The town is home to a number of golf courses, hiking trails the in nearby mountains and desert, and a number of ATV trails for the adventurous at heart. You’ll also find boutique shops, a mall, and the popular tourist attraction, London Bridge — the relocated 1831 bridge that once spanned the River Thames in London.

3. Corpus Christi, TX
Cost of Living: 12.2% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $81,450
Top State Income Tax: No state income tax

Corpus Christi is a waterfront town of just over 307,000 that can be an affordable alternative for retirees seeking to settle in a beachfront destination. The town has been coined the
“Sparkling City by the Sea” for good reason — there’s no shortage of water-based and beach activities here, from fishing, sunbathing, kayaking, to boating and beachcombing. Corpus Christi lies just inland from South Padre Island and its famous seashore, as well as the haven of Mustang Island. On popular North Beach, retirees can explore the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.

The town boasts a museum district, where retirees will find the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History and the South Texas Museum of Art. There’s also an interesting botanical gardens and nature center, as well as a wildlife refuge.

It’s no surprise that the town’s waterfront and marina are a hub of activity where many locals converge to enjoy the many shops and restaurants. Corpus Christi also offers retirees relocating to the area all manner of residences to choose from, including restored houses in Heritage Park, a number of 55+ plus communities, apartments and condos.

4. San Antonio, TX
Cost of Living: 11.8% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $76,000
Top State Income Tax: No state income tax

Nowhere in Texas will you feel a greater sense of the state’s history and pride than San Antonio, home to the great Alamo, as well as San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. While history buffs will have their fill of fascinating Old West, Spanish and Mexican historic sites to explore, San Antonio is also more than a mecca of Texas’s past.

Retirees have begun flocking to the city, thanks to a warm climate, interesting sights, active cultural programs, and the famed River Walk. This scenic five-mile stretch along the San Antonio River is lined with trendy restaurants and colorful shops, and interconnected by a series of bridges and walkways.

San Antonio also has a strong military presence — the city is home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks City-Base. A variety of housing is available to retirees, including planned retirement communities, apartments, condos and houses. Retirees hoping to continue working after retirement can find a part-time job at one of the city’s many tourist sites or tourist-centric businesses. The South Texas Medical Center, consisting of hospitals, clinics, and research institutions, is also located in San Antonio and employs 27,000.

5. Las Cruces, NM
Cost of Living: 13.8% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $108,000
Top State Income Tax: 4.9%

As one of the Southwest’s more dramatic sights, the view from Las Cruces of the jagged Organ Mountains piercing the sapphire-blue sky is sure to strike awe in the hearts of retirees considering a move to New Mexico. Still, the sunny town of Las Cruces is no wilderness outpost. The town of nearly 100,000 people is New Mexico’s second largest city, home to a major university as well as diverse cultural attractions.

Active retirees can enjoy the town’s four scenic year-round golf courses. Meanwhile, culture seekers have plenty to explore. Signs of civilization in the area date back centuries; the region was once home to Apaches, Pueblos and Navajos. Their influences can be found in the town’s adobe-style architectures, crafts, such as silver and turquoise jewelry, and cuisine.

Four museums, including the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History are located here, as well as New Mexico State University, offering retirees access to continuing education courses, as well as a symphony and theater. Additionally, Las Cruces hosts a number of annual festivals, including the Whole Enchilada Festival, two wine festivals and a Day of the Dead celebration.

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