9 Arizona cities among top places in U.S. to retire

Arizona as a whole is one of the 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees, according to Kiplinger.

Jack Stark (left), 73, and James Badami, 83, both of Sun City West, ride stationary bikes at the Palm Ridge Recreation Center. AARP projects that by 2040, the state will see a 300 percent increase in residents ages 85 or older, and these residents are healthier and like to stay active.(Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)

Jack Stark (left), 73, and James Badami, 83, both of Sun City West, ride stationary bikes at the Palm Ridge Recreation Center. AARP projects that by 2040, the state will see a 300 percent increase in residents ages 85 or older, and these residents are healthier and like to stay active.(Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)

As the number of retirees climbs nationwide, people beginning a new stage of life might want to consider living in the West Valley.

Long known for communities like Sun City and Sun City West, other parts of the West Valley are attracting attention as options for retirees. Peoria and Glendale recently were ranked in the top-50 best places to retire in the country, with Peoria coming in at No. 10.

The cities were among nine in Arizona on the list created by WalletHub, a financial-planning website for consumers and small-business owners. The 150 largest cities in the U.S. were analyzed and rated based on 25 retirement-related concerns, including housing affordability, recreational activities offered to seniors, quality of health care and other retirement issues.

According to the U.S. census, 15.4 percent of people living in Arizona are 65 years or older, a proportion slightly larger than the national average.

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Arizona as a whole is one of the 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees, according to Kiplinger, a Washington, D.C.-based business and finance-advice publication. Social Security retirement benefits received under Title II of the Social Security Act are exempt from taxable income, there are no state property taxes or inheritance taxes and personal income taxes are low compared with other states.

Additionally, annual rainfall and the high number of sunny days appeals to many from places pestered by gloomy winter weather.

John Sefton, Peoria’s community services director, said retirees in Peoria find a wide selection of activities targeted to them.

“We’ve done a good job at providing a diverse array of accessible programs,” he said. “It’s also about giving back to the community. Retirees are looking for that.”

Programs include Silver Sneakers, which encourages seniors to stay active.

Additionally, Sefton said the city’s recreational amenities reflect a changing retirement community.

“We know our retirees are younger and healthier than ever before,” he said. “They’ve got a great quality of life because of our health focus.”

Sefton said the Peoria Sports Complex and the city’s 10 miles of paved trails are popular among active retirees.

AARP projects that by 2040, the state will see a 300 percent increase in residents ages 85 or older. The group also found seniors in Arizona have lower rates of high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and diabetes than the nation’s average rates.

Whole communities already cater to retirees and other active adults. Sun City West near Peoria houses 30,000 residents. It has four recreational centers, seven golf courses and a 30-lane bowling alley. Local grocery stores, banks and restaurants also are clustered throughout the community.

Robbie Combes, 69, has lived in Sun City West for seven years. She moved from Florida and works as the community’s visitor center coordinator. Despite Florida’s reputation as a destination for retirees, Combes visited Sun City West and chose to move to Arizona.

“I needed a change,” Combes said. “It’s so friendly and you can do anything. I don’t even have to go outside the community if I don’t want to.”

Sun City West has more than 100 clubs with a range of interests. There’s an automotive restoration club, bocce club and a club for line dancing among others. Combes said she focuses her interests on bocce ball, tennis and volunteering at the library.

“It’s very comfortable, convenient and safe,” she said. “And, you can’t beat the weather.”

Dorothy Rucker, 81, has lived in Sun City West for 20 years and volunteers at the front office. She said she initially had no interest in living in the community, but eventually changed her mind.

“I thought only old people lived there,” she said. “I didn’t think I was one of those! But I’m thrilled and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

She said she enjoys community theater productions well as various charity events.

“Some of our residents are very talented,” Rucker said. “People are very active in helping other people.”

The rankings

Wallethub.com ranks the best places to retire:

1. Tampa, Fla.

2. Grand Prairie, Texas.

3. Orlando, Fla.

4. St. Petersburg, Fla.

5. Scottsdale.

6. Overland Park, Kan.

7. Port St. Lucie, Fla.

8. Cape Coral, Fla.

9. Plano, Texas.

10. Peoria

Others in Arizona

18. Tempe.

21. Mesa.

24. Tucson.

26. Gilbert.

31. Chandler.

36. Glendale.

48. Phoenix.

Article Courtesy of AZCentral.com

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9 Arizona cities among top places in U.S. to retire
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9 Arizona cities among top places in U.S. to retire
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Long known for communities like Sun City and Sun City West, other parts of the West Valley are attracting attention as options for retirees. Peoria and Glendale recently were ranked in the top-50 best places to retire in the country, with Peoria coming in at No. 10.
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