Arizona is known as one of the better places to retire, as it has a warm climate that draws retirees to Florida, but at a lesser price and less humidity.
Let’s go over 11 of the things you might want to know before retiring in Mesa, Arizona.
The first thing anyone will ever tell you about Arizona is that it is hot. Nowhere is that more true than in the southern valley, where temperatures can reach over 120 degrees on record-breaking days. But, that heat is dry heat, which makes it much more tolerable to most people.
Mesa can get hot. That is something that everyone should keep in mind, whether you are a resident or a visitor. If you choose to retire in Arizona, then you either need to prepare for those sweltering temperatures or be a snowbird.
What is a snowbird? A snowbird is what residents call those who choose to live in Arizona for the winter months to avoid snowfall, then move back up north during the summer months to avoid sweltering temperatures. Snowbirds generally rent their homes out when they are not living in them or leave them empty. Some are the renters. Either way, you need to decide if you are someone who can handle the heat of the summer or not.
2. Cost of Living
Wherever you end up retiring, you need to be aware of the cost of living and how it will translate into your personal finances. Just because your savings will allow you to live comfortably in your current residence, a new city may exponentially drain or stretch your retirement plan.
With that said, Mesa’s cost of living is slightly above the national average. You have to pay around 10% more for housing and 6% more for utilities. The median home price as of 2022 is around $440,075 while the rent is $1,344 a month.
Your energy bill is around $180 a month and your phone bill is $200 a month.
However, groceries are 2% lower than the national average while health care is 7% lower.
3. Local Roads and Travel
When it comes to cars and road upkeep, Mesa excels for a simple reason. There is no snowfall. No snow means that you do not need to worry about changing your tires out for the winter, potholes are practically non-existent, and no piles of snow on the side from snow plows.
Along with that, it is less strain on your car in general. You do not need to clean off your car, knock loose any icicles, or worry about damage related to freezing temperatures.
Mesa and the surrounding areas have a very particular layout when it comes to roadways and city blocks. It is called a grid system and is one of the easiest ways to navigate and move through the city. Most stoplights are located at mile or half-mile increments. Roads run perpendicular and parallel to one another, creating the “grid” the city was laid out on.
Mesa is home to multiple 55+ communities if you wish to retire in a more social area.
Sunrise Village, Las Palmas, Palmas del Sol, and McGavin Ranch are all home-based communities where you can buy a house to live in and around your fellow Seniors. The prices and lifestyles range so be sure to check out their websites to find what would best fit your lifestyle and budget.
If you prefer something cheaper than the options above, Mesa still has you covered. Silver Spur Village, The Cliffs, and Saguaro Sun are all mobile home communities dedicated purely to 55+ with houses for less than $100,000.
5. Senior Discounts
Mesa knows they have a large population of retired citizens. As such, there are many businesses that offer senior discounts, including the City itself.
The City of Mesa offers a Limited Income Senior Rate Program which provides a 30% discount on water costs, which is really nice to have when you live in a desert and water isn’t exactly what you would call plenty.
Here is a list of several restaurants, retailers, grocery stores, and travel options that offer senior discounts in Arizona.
Another fun discount available to anyone over the age of 65 is available at Mesa Community College. They offer 50% off tuition for any Senior who wishes to take a class. You can learn something new, tighten up your skills or hobbies, or work towards a late degree. It is never too late to take that leap.
6. Daylight Savings
Did you know that Arizona is one of two states in the United States that does not observe Daylight Savings Time? That is right, Arizona does not care about turning forward or backward their clock.
While that may not seem like a huge positive, especially if you are retired and do not have a job to worry about being late to. But, not having to stress about turning your clock or having your body adjust to the new time frame can be a positive to many. There is no loss or gain in hours and no messing with your personal body clock. If this appeals to you, then it can be a factor in retiring in Mesa, or just Arizona in general.
When it comes to your retirement, it may simply be leaning back in a chair by a pool with an ice-cold drink.
For others, it might be traveling around the world or spending time with the grandkids or great-grandkids.
Either way, Mesa is in close proximity to Phoenix International Airport, which provides connecting and direct flights to and from many destinations in the world. Whether it is your personal trip across the Atlantic Ocean or your visiting family members from across the country, you can find a way.
For the visiting family (if you like your quiet moments or perhaps are a bit cramped for space) you can find affordable hotels for them to stay in, or perhaps one of the many Airbnb’s in the area.
8. Health Care
As previously mentioned, health care in Mesa is slightly less than the national average. But, that is not the only reason you may want to retire in Mesa.
When you drive through the city, you might be surprised at the number of hospitals that you come across. They have general hospitals, emergency rooms, and specialty hospitals in Banner Heart, Banner’s Children’s Hospital, and Arizona Spine & Joint Hospital.
Along with hospitals, there are many highly rated options for doctors and clinics for personal check-ups and minor health issues you may find yourself with. Whether it be general health or a specialist, Mesa has you covered.
When it comes to taxes Arizona ranks 23rd overall in the 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index.
The state sales tax is 5.6%. The average local tax rate is 2.8% making your average sales tax rate at 8.4%.
When it comes to property tax, there are two types in Arizona known as primary and secondary. The City of Mesa does not collect the primary property tax, but it does collect the secondary property tax.
For a full tax breakdown in the state of Arizona, check here.
If you retire in Mesa, there are many physical activities available to you.
As a retiree, you may wish to participate in that age-old pastime of golf. Mesa has multiple golf courses and country clubs that are highly rated including the Mesa Country Club, Royal Palms Golf Course, Red Mountain Ranch Country Club, Longbow Golf Club, and many, many more.
There are also nearby hiking trails and nature walks with Hawes Trail, Desert Trails, and the Sun Circle to name a few. These hikes can range from simple nature walks to steeper, more challenging climbs. Whatever your physical level, there are options, even including a few wheelchair-accessible nature trails.
If you would rather watch sports, Arizona is home to baseball spring training, with two stationed in Mesa itself (the Cubs and the A’s).
In the nearby state capital, Phoenix, you will find National teams in almost every popular sport. In basketball, you have the Phoenix Suns. Baseball has the Arizona Diamondbacks and football is the Phoenix Cardinals. Perhaps the most surprising is the Phoenix Coyotes, which is a professional hockey team.
Whatever your personal sport preference, you have the ability to purchase season tickets, if you so wish.
Along with sporting, Mesa is also surrounded by museums and theaters for your entertainment needs. Some are located in Mesa and others are located a short drive away. Options include:
- The Arizona Museum of Natural History
- The Mesa Arts Center
- The Mesa Amphitheater
- Hale Theater
- The Phoenix Zoo
- Brinton Desert Botanical Garden
- Desert Botanical Garden
If you want to include even further north, Arizona is home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world in the Grand Canyon. Other than the Grand Canyon, there are multiple national and state parks and forests around the state that you can visit.