Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Best State to Retire in the Southwest

California is a land of sea, surf and sun. Second only to Florida in retirement destinations, California has literally hundreds of retirement communities and 55 and older housing developments. From the rural areas of northern California to the popular southern California beach districts, the entire state caters to retirees, making it one of the best places to retire in the United States. A word of caution about California: it is not a cheap place to live. The state is filled with luxury, and this luxury comes at a premium. However, with a bit of research, good financial planning and a willingness to downsize, even this paradise of extravagance can be affordable, making it one of the best states to retire in the country.

Best State to Retire in Southwest US

The Best City to Retire in California

Nearly half of the population of Palm Springs California is 55 or older, making it an ideal place to retire. At the peak of the housing boom, median home price stood at nearly half a million dollars, but with the decline of the market, a three bedroom, two bath home can now be had for $250,000. Number two on CNN Money’s “Best Places to Retire”, Palm Springs is approximately 100 miles east of Los Angeles and has a total population of 45,000. Its main forms of recreation include horseback riding, golf, tennis and hiking. Median family income is upwards of $43,000.Home to the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Palm Springs also hosts the Palm Springs Follies, in which all performers are over the age of 55. Five-star restaurants, spas and boutiques cater to the very wealthy. Palm Springs is one of the best cities to retire in California for those who desire pampering and relaxation.

The Cheapest Place to Retire in California

As we mentioned before, California is not known as a “cheap” place to live. Popularity often comes with a hefty price tag. However, deals can be found. Lancaster, California, located 70 miles north of Los Angeles, is one of the cheapest places to live in the state. With an overall cost of living index only 4% above the national average, Lancaster is a steal indeed when compared to L.A., which is 38% above average, or San Diego, which is 33% above average. Median family income exceeds $48,000 and the median house price is a relatively low $133,000. Lancaster is home to the California Poppy Festival and is known as a dog-loving community, featuring an annual “Bark at the Park” event for dogs and their humans each October. Close enough to the culture and entertainment of Los Angeles, yet far enough away to avoid paying the high prices of the city, Lancaster is a quiet place, ideal for the retiree who needs to be close to the action without being in the thick of it.

Cheapest Place to Retire in California

Although priced higher than some of its competitors, California is still a high-ranking candidate for the honor of Best Place to Retire. With a large senior population and plenty of retirement communities, many people consider California to be the best place to live.

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