Benefits of Retiring In Iowa (Pros & Cons)
March 30, 2022General Retirement
Just like any other place, retiring in Iowa comes with its fair share of pros and cons. So what are the benefits of retiring in Iowa?
When you think about retiring, you want to find a place where the cost of living is low. You must take taxes into consideration as well because, let's admit it, all you want to do is live in peace and spend on luxuries.
Retiring in Iowa is a great idea because it has massive economic growth. There are countless educational opportunities, and the effects of urbanization are minimal. However, the crime rate and health insurance premiums, along with the harsh winters, are something you'll need to consider beforehand.
The best part about retiring in Iowa is that you can enjoy all four seasons. Since the cost of living is low, you will not find yourself spending money ferociously. Instead, sticking to a budget will be easier. However, as mentioned before, Iowa has its downsides, which we will discuss later on.
Having lived in Iowa our entire lives, we're in a good position to tell you all about this wonderful state – both the good and the bad – to help ensure that you're well-informed before you choose to retire here.
Table of contents
Benefits of Retiring in Iowa
Populated by a majority of European settlers, the state of Iowa is also known as the Hawkeye state. Here are some benefits of retiring in Iowa:
The cost of living in the state of Iowa is lower than the rest of the United States of America and at least 10% on the lower side than the neighboring cities.
Cost of purchasing a house
The real estate prices in Iowa are more affordable than in the rest of the country. A family can easily purchase a house for under $200,000, and if they choose to live on the rural side of the town, they can get a property for $100,000 with a vast land that could be used for farming as Iowa is an agricultural state.
Even the rental costs are competitive- a family could rent a 2-bedroom apartment for under $1000. The state of Iowa also gives property tax and rent reductions to elderly and disabled individuals. The eligibility criteria is that one should be 65 or older or be completely disabled.
The state has the highest literacy rate in the United States, which is 99 percent. You will also notice that students here score high in their ACT and SATs. Iowa University specializes in arts and sciences and is the best university in town.
It is built on 1880 acres of vast land on the banks of the Iowa River. It also offers programs that rank among the top 25 nationally. There are not many entertainment options in Iowa as it is an agrarian state, but if one plans to move to this state, then it would be very beneficial for their children's future education and career options.
Safety in Iowa
Iowa is considered one of the safest states in the country, but it has some issues such as drug use, mainly meth.
Other than that, Iowa is ranked among the top ten safest places to live in. Violent crimes such as murders and mass shootings are almost zero here, making it a safe place to retire and grow old in.
Weather conditions in Iowa
Living in Iowa is never boring as this state experiences all four seasons. In summers, it is extremely hot, with temperatures soaring to 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain is also common here.
These hot temperatures benefit the farmers because they are ideal for growing soybean and corn. In autumn, you will see incandescent colors throughout the state. Then, there are winters in which it snows most of the time, and one can experience the lowest temperatures in January. All in all, Iowa is a place where you can live life to the fullest.
Barely Any Traffic Jams
There are hardly any traffic jams in Iowa unless you live in Des Moines. Even the highways are clear, and one can travel freely and enjoy the view along the way.
Iowa is like a small community; one will often see people asking for lifts on the sidewalks. People are very friendly in this state, so you will often come across familiar faces. However, it will take you some time to get to places since you'll want to stop and talk to everyone on the way.
Low Living Costs
Iowa has brilliant healthcare options, and the living costs are low; this is why it is known to be one of the best states to retire in. It doesn't have many entertainment options such as beaches as it is landlocked, but it does have lakes surrounding the state that have, over the years, turned into picnic spots.
If you are a fan of history, then you are lucky as there are many historical sites that you can visit and spend your time. There are also weekend spots that are not overpriced which means that you can take your kids and spend time with them over the weekend.
Wonderful Sport Opportunities
The most recognized event in Iowa is the RAGBRAI, in which cyclists cycle from one part of the state to another over a week's time. Many families also take part in the event in their RVs and follow the cyclists. Cycles are the basic mode of transportation in Iowa, and cars are only used for big grocery trips or going to the neighboring city for entertainment purposes.
One time, 23000 cyclists took part in this event, but now, a limit has been set to 8500 cyclists per event. Iowa has also excelled in wrestling with 37 big ten championships and 24 national championships up their sleeves.
The Hawkeyes have attained victory in five other sports: men's gymnastics, football, field hockey, rifle, and women's track and field. Football is also taken very seriously in the state of Iowa. There are two dominant teams: the Hawkeyes and Cyclones – one cannot be a fan of both, and when the game is on, sentiments are known to get intense.
In fact, these games are also known to ruin relationships and cause divorces! So, if one is new to this environment, it would be better to remain neutral and make friends from both sides.
Hunting in Iowa
Iowa is home to many farmers. Moreover, hunting is common here. In the fall season, hunting deer can become competitive.
In the spring season, many people hunt for morel mushrooms. They are a vital part of people's diet in Iowa. Individuals have started to grow them all year round due to increasing demand. Many restaurants offer them, but people of Iowa know that the true taste of this delicacy lies in the wild-grown mushrooms.
A Heaven for Butter Lovers
The people of Iowa absolutely love their butter and even make sculptures out of it. Iowa is known as the ice cream capital of the world. One can enjoy an ice cream cone along the river.
Every community makes its own style of cheese, and they have specialties, such as cheese curds and other delicacies that are addictive – one would want to come back for more. Iowa is known for its cheese masters. It's a paradise for a dairy lover.
Cons of Retiring in Iowa
Like all places, Iowa has some downsides that you need to be aware of:
Beach Lovers and Mountaineers Will Be Disappointed
Hawkeye Point is the highest point in the state – it is only 1670 feet high. Most of the highest points are alongside Hawkeye.
As for beaches, there aren't any in Iowa, but there are lakes that offer lakeside dining and camping opportunities.
Iowa experiences one of the harshest winters in the country, with temperatures plummeting to -50 in January.
There are absolutely no mosquitos in the state as nothing can withstand the winters in Iowa.
Inadequate Shopping Choices
If you are a frequent shopper and enjoy a wide selection of choices, you might be disappointed as Iowa mostly has locally owned stores.
In fact, you might have to make a short road trip if you want to shop at Walmart. The closest gas station may be as far as 45 minutes away, which means that if you want to fill up your tank, you must make sure that you have enough for the way.
There aren't many food options to choose from in Iowa and what is available is close to what one would find at a regular diner.
Iowa's only contribution to the culinary world is the Maid-Rite sandwich, made from ground beef and ketchup. You could add cheese, onions, and mustard, based on your personal preference. This means that Iowa is not a place a foodie would enjoy.
Not every place in Iowa has a low crime rate- Keokuk ranks among the worst places to live in. One could purchase a house there for less than $65000 because not a lot of people want to live in an unsafe neighborhood.
The minimum wage rate is $7.25 in Iowa, lower than the other states, making it a difficult place to survive. Moreover, Iowa has not increased its minimum wage rate in a long time, showing that there is not a lot of hope for the future.
Iowa caucuses are held every four years, and presidential candidates flood the state to host meetings with the potential voters.
This might be the only state where people might share a corn dog or share a cup of coffee over a conversation with the future leader of the free world. This also means that Iowa experiences an extended political season. If you are someone who does not want to be caught up in a political conversation everywhere you go, Iowa might not be the best place to retire.
Bad Health Insurance Premiums
Although Iowa has great health facilities, the health insurance premiums are comparatively higher than the other states.
In other states, the average insurance would cost $374, but in Iowa, it is $429. However, the low cost of living evens it out.
Iowa is a state majorly populated by farmers, which means that it has a low life pace, and things are slow here. Some of the metropolitan areas offer some job opportunities for those who like to live the corporate life and wear suits to work.
People looking for careers in the healthcare sector can move to this state as Mount Mercy University is one of the top nursing schools in the world. Iowa doesn't have much to offer if one wants entertainment, but the Iowa State fair has gained immense popularity over the years.
After weighing the pros and cons of retiring in Iowa, we believe that its low cost of living and affordable real estate prices makes it a good option. The rivers and farmlands are alluring, and the people are friendly – what else can one ask for when retiring?
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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We love planning for retirement. It's somewhat of a hobby, and we want to share what we've learned with you. Over the years we've found the best ways to live, how to travel, take on new hobbies and give back. Happiness in retirement is the main goal, and having the right information allows us (and you) to achieve that.