Benefits of Retiring In Oklahoma (Pros & Cons)

David Bolton

/

May 25, 2022

General Retirement
Benefits of Retiring In Oklahoma (Pros & Cons) | Retire Fearless

Oklahoma offers a comfortable retired life, and it might be a great option for you. But do the benefits of retiring in Oklahoma outweigh its drawbacks?

Settling down once and for all after a life of hard work is no small decision. You need as much information as possible to make the right choice. Located in the south-central region of the United States, Oklahoma is surrounded by a diverse range of economies and cultures, and so, it offers many benefits to those living there. However, there are some considerable downsides to retiring in Oklahoma, which you must consider.

Advantages of retiring in Oklahoma include a low cost of living, southern hospitality, affordable housing, plenty of outdoor activities, and a full range of seasons. However, some drawbacks worth considering are harsh weather conditions, high taxes, and political monopoly.

Living in Oklahoma after retirement means dealing with a mixed bag of pros and cons. Some people might suggest that living in Oklahoma has more pros than cons, but specific pros can vary for the retirees, tipping the scale the other side. For example, Oklahoma offers rapid income growth. However, if you are not looking to work again, this factor will not matter much.

We have lived in Oklahoma for most of our lives, so we took the opportunity to list down the pros and cons of living in Oklahoma, especially targeting those that would affect retirees looking to settle here. Check them out before packing your bags!

Table of Contents

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Benefits of Retiring In Oklahoma (Pros & Cons)

Pros of Living in Oklahoma

Low Cost of Living

The cost of living is a vital factor to consider before settling down as these costs are the significant burden you will have to bear throughout your retired life.

Especially with the limited incoming funds, a low cost of living is significant. Well, you are in luck because Oklahoma has a ridiculously low cost of living. While the average cost of living in the United States ranks 100, Oklahoma has an 83.7 score when it comes to its cost of living.

On the individual level, grocery, health, housing, transportation, and utilities all cost less than the average cost of the United States. This is why US News ranked Oklahoma the second-most affordable state to live in, beaten only by Ohio.

Affordable Housing

If you need to stretch out your savings a bit, you need to save on significant expenses such as housing. Fortunately, Oklahoma offers some of the cheapest housing in the United States. According to Zillow, the average housing price in Oklahoma is only $167.450.

Compared to the average housing price in the US of $325,667, housing in Oklahoma seems several levels cheaper.

Affordable housing is an essential factor that keeps the cost of living in Oklahoma on the lower bar. This is because Oklahoma has a lot of land that's available for development, and the supply of housing is currently uninterrupted.

This is a massive selling point of the state, which is why many retirees flock here. You better settle down quickly to take advantage of the affordable housing before the land goes short.

Rapid Earning Growth

The economic recession of 2008 caused major issues for many states, but Oklahoma wasn't one of them. Oklahoma recovered quickly, and by 2010, it was producing more jobs than ever. This is primarily due to the military bases in Oklahoma.

The Air Force base alone provides livelihood to over 32,000 Oklahoma residents. Besides that, Oklahoma is highly ranked for business prospects as the low taxes and living costs invite many startups and billion-dollar companies alike.

Hobby Lobby, Mercy Health, Devon Energy, and AT&T are some of the companies that share the major chunk of the job market. As of November 2021, the unemployment rate of Oklahoma stands at just 2.5%.

Warm and Welcoming People (Southern Hospitality)

Being a state of the southern region of the US, Oklahoma boasts famous southern hospitality. Southerners and Non-Southerners have different lifestyles, which leads to a combination of qualities in the Southerners, famously known as Southern Hospitality.

Invitations to Sunday church, parties and dinners, finger-licking good barbecue, and a bucket full of politeness are all the little things making you feel welcomed.

Besides Oklahoma, southern hospitality can be found in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee are the states sharing this hospitality. However, Oklahoma is most famous for its politeness.

Easy Traveling

Unlike the busier states, commuting in Oklahoma is a breeze that you will enjoy. Houses in Oklahoma are usually close to one another, and the towns are generally small.

Whether you're commuting to the utility store, clothing stores, malls, or any usual place, every destination in Oklahoma is only a 10-20 minute drive away.

If you live in Downtown Oklahoma City, you won't even need a car to reach your favorite restaurant or park. Nearly all destinations are only a couple of blocks away.

The fact that Oklahoma doesn't receive much traffic and no hour is a rush hour over here is a strong pull for the retirees to spend their lives peacefully.

Plenty of Outdoor Activities

Most retirees choose a state to settle in to enjoy their life by indulging in outdoor activities. If you are one of them, Oklahoma has plenty to offer.

The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a must-go for an art buff. The museum holds around 30,000 artifacts and art pieces. The Museum of Art is another place you can visit if you are into art.

However, if museums bore you, there are plenty of other activities to look forward to. OKC Zoo has a wide range of exotic animals, and the surreal botanical gardens contribute to a fantastic experience.

If you are looking for an action-filled adventure, check out the Zip-Line over mountains in Davis, Canoeing at the Lower Mountain Fork River, Hiking to Oklahoma's tallest point, conquering the dunes of Waynoka, and more.

A State with Cultural Diversity

Often mistaken for a monocultural state, Oklahoma surprises its visitors or new residents when they see a vast cultural diversity. A quick look at Oklahoma's flag will tell you the amount of diversity Oklahoma holds in its people.

Oklahoma has the second-largest Native American population in the US, with California bagging the first spot. Shawnee, Apache, Kickapoo, Pawnee, and Kaw are some of the Native American tribes you will find in the state.

Almost half of the young population in Oklahoma belongs to an ethnic minority, and thirty-nine tribes reside in Oklahoma. This is because Oklahoma was initially home to Native Americans before the demographics of the state changed. We will leave the details of this for the cons part.

Experience Full Four Seasons

Living in Oklahoma means never being stuck between summers and winters. You get to experience the full range of all four seasons. This is a southern state, so you can expect the summers to get hot and humid.

However, autumn throws a beautiful monochromatic orange and red shade throughout the state. A primarily plain landscape throughout the summers becomes incredibly attractive in autumn.

Oklahoma City receives 36 inches of rain, a sufficient amount for a city this size. However, it is below the national average, which can be good in some cases. Winters in Oklahoma are cold, with the temperature dropping below zero occasionally.

Unlike the northern states, the state receives a decent amount of snow, so the weather remains bearable.

Oklahoma City is Excellent for Veterans

If you are a veteran, you will settle in the military atmosphere of Oklahoma pretty quickly. Oklahoma has multiple armed forces bases, including the air force and the army. Therefore, veterans find a comforting and familiar atmosphere here to settle in quickly.

Besides that, the presence of the military bestows multiple economic benefits upon the state. Safety is not going to be an issue, and healthcare facilities are also abundant to aid the armed forces. Holding on to unwanted feelings that stem from your years in service? Speak your heart out or mentor in different support groups for veterans.

Much like other states, Oklahoma isn't all rainbows and butterflies. While these points make some excellent plus points for retiring in Oklahoma, let's look at some downsides about the state.

Cons of Living in Oklahoma

The Weather Can be Very Harsh

Experiencing all four seasons in Oklahoma doesn't mean it remains nice and pleasant throughout the year. During the summers, you can expect multiple heat waves, and humidity is always around the corner. But it gets worse. Oklahoma sits on the edge of a tornado alley.

While the risk of a tornado hitting the state with its full force is pretty low, you can still expect scary storms, especially from April to May. You must keep an eye out for the weather reports and take precautions to stay safe from disasters.

As if that wasn't enough, winters here can also be pretty rough. While not frequent, you can expect snowstorms and hail in the peak winter season, sometimes so harsh that all you can see is a white blanket covering everything.

These storms can cause serious damage to property.

A Prairie State

Let us put this simply for you. Oklahoma is not the state if you dream about spending your retirement days exploring the mountains or soaking the sun at the beach. We won't say Oklahoma is ugly. Every state has its unique beauty.

However, the landscape is not the Sooner State's greatest asset. This is because Oklahoma is right in the middle of the Prairie states of the United States.

On the other hand, there are thousands of acres covered in rolling plains with beautiful grasslands. Unfortunately, these plains become a usual sight, and soon, they will start to look all the same. Consider moving a couple of states up if a variety of landscapes is what you're looking for.

Biggest Small Town

This is a key factor to remember. Many people move to Oklahoma City to move away from the fast-paced city life and spend their retirement in peace and quiet.

Also, they choose the state capital because it has the most basic facilities in the state. Since Oklahoma City is known as the biggest small town in the country, it surprises people on a great level.

Oklahoma City is quickly growing due to its excellent job market and affordability. It has already some of the fast-paced city life showing up in recent times. Since the destinations are close to one another, even commuting is fast in the capital city.

Therefore, you can soon expect the effects of such rapid growth to spread throughout the state, and you might have to look elsewhere for the life you were looking for.

Lacking Infrastructure

The low cost of living in Oklahoma comes at a cost. The main reason for the low living cost is the extremely low amount of taxes in the state.

Since states fund the infrastructure development by taxes, Oklahoma's development funds often fall short, keeping many basic needs of residents at bay. Bumps and potholes are normal throughout the state, even in Oklahoma City.

The way out is pretty simple: raising state or city taxes. However, since the government is more focused on increasing the business sector in the state, raising the taxes will drive away the businesses, affecting the economic growth. This is a vicious circle that Oklahoma will take time to break.

Lacks Political and Religious Diversity

While the dense cultural diversity is a benefit of retiring in Oklahoma, the same can't be said about political diversity in the state. Residents here are mostly Christians and republicans in the political domain.

Even with the southern hospitality and welcoming nature of the people, there is little flexibility when it comes to these two matters. You will feel like an outsider if you have contrasting views.

Food Tax Is Prevalent

Whether you buy solid food, drinks, or groceries, they are charged the full state and city taxes that can amount to 10% of the total amount. Where the low cost of living is an appealing factor to outsiders, the high taxes on all food items diminishes the effect of low living costs to an extent.

About THE AUTHOR

David Bolton

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.

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