Benefits of Retiring In Colorado (Pros & Cons)
February 16, 2022General Retirement
Does your mind often wander off during work, thinking about your retirement plans? If you’re considering retirement in the US, retiring in Colorado is a great choice!
When you finally decide to bid farewell to your corporate life, you can’t help but realize how critical it is to move to a peaceful location that will provide you comfort. At least, that’s how most people feel. If you’re searching for a place with lovely countryside and a rather pleasant climate that allows you to enjoy your morning coffee and evening walks or outdoor activities, add Colorado to your bucket list!
Colorado has much to offer to those longing to live out their golden years in a place with postcard-worthy scenery while enjoying various tax benefits and health care options. However, there are a few drawbacks to moving here, including the extreme weather, high altitude, wild animals, high tourist influx, and cost of living.
Bordered by Wyoming to the north and New Mexico to the south in the western region of the US, Colorado was made a state a century after the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. Hence, the title “Centennial State.” Known for its geographical features, including mountains, foothills, plains, and hot springs alongside many other exciting factors, Colorado experiences a massive influx of retirees every year. Therefore, you’re bound to wonder if it’s a good option for you, too.
Well, when deciding to move, especially when considering retirement, you must know that every state has its own sets of pros and cons. While one place may be great for some, it might not be as good for others. With that said, I have served as a retirement consultant for decades before moving to Colorado from Texas. So, not only have I done my fair share of research, but I also have firsthand experience. I’ve put together this article as a means of sharing the possible upsides and downsides of retiring in Colorado to help make people’s decisions easier.
Table of contents
Pros of Retiring in Colorado
The Centennial State is a popular option amongst retirees looking to move within the United States. From beauty to peace and lower financial burdens, you can expect to reap all these benefits in your sunset years.
Without further ado, here are some of the pros of retiring in Colorado that you can expect to enjoy.
Most people wish to live out their retirement years enjoying the peace and quiet that nature has to offer, making it evident why Colorado is a top retirement destination. After all, your golden years are supposed to be like a long vacation. As home to some of the most beautiful countryside in the United States, Colorado has limitless beauty to offer in the form of enormous mountains, rolling plains, towering trees, sand dunes, hot springs, and crystal clear lakes. With trails running throughout the hilly areas for various fitness and experience levels, you’re never too far from nature.
You can expect to wake up every morning and peek out the windows for a lovely view while enjoying your hot coffee. Moreover, you can also enjoy the sands in the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve or the water in one of the numerous sparkling lakes or rivers. You can also hike the trails tucked in at every corner and maybe simply take a walk around the block to soak in the beauty of the area.
Pleasant Weather All-Year Round
No state has the same climate throughout; the same applies to Colorado. The Centennial State is divided into three climatic regions, with most of its parts experiencing low humidity levels and long stretched warm and sunny days. Those living in Colorado suggest that the state sees at least 300 days of sun per year, and while this is open to much interpretation, it is safe to suggest that Colorado has plenty of sunshine to offer.
Colorado’s climate is one of the most enticing factors for retirees seeking refuge from extreme temperatures in the United States. Not only does its pleasant climate allow seniors to enjoy an immense number of outdoor activities, but it also helps with chronic health conditions. The dry conditions, consistent temperatures, and barometric pressure regularities are reported to ease symptoms of certain chronic health conditions, such as arthritis.
Outdoor Activity Opportunities
With the pleasing climate and scenery, chances are that you’ll be spending most of your time in nature. Colorado is the perfect place to enjoy your retirement to the fullest as it offers you endless opportunities to keep yourself entertained outdoors. With the availability of activities, such as walking, hiking, fishing, and skiing throughout the state, you won’t ever get bored!
You can walk through the forests, enjoy the sand dunes, explore the massive protected lands and national parks, witness the ski trails, and fish in crystal clear lakes. You can also climb one of the mountains if you’re feeling a bit too adventurous.
Either way, this goes to say that there are tons of things to do outdoors in Colorado that will allow you to breathe in the crisp, fresh air and soak in the sunshine.
Low Pension Taxes
Besides the picture-worthy views and lovely weather, Colorado also has fairly lower tax rates for retirees. In fact, Colorado ranks among one of the top tax-friendly states for retirees, which makes it a highly desirable retirement destination to spend one’s sunset years. After all, whether you’re rich or middle class, why wouldn’t you want to save money?
Retirement income in most US states is taxed at almost the same rate as earned income. Fortunately, the situation is quite different for Colorado as it has an overall low state income tax range with a fair deduction on retirement income.
Along with the lower-than-usual pension taxes, Colorado also has a pension or annuity that includes military disability pay, retired military pay, Social Security, and homestead exemption for qualifying seniors. According to this annuity subtraction, qualifying retirees between the ages of 55 and 64 years can get up to $20,000, whereas those over 65 years can save almost $24,000.
Another factor worth considering when retiring in Colorado is that although the sales tax runs higher in the state, it doesn’t apply to necessities, such as groceries and medication. Moreover, there’s no estate tax in Colorado, so you can leave your family your money without paying any hefty fees.
Overall, the tax situation for seniors can make your sunset years more relaxed in terms of finances.
High-Quality Medical Care
Healthcare is obviously one of the most important factors for seniors to consider when deciding where to retire, given the inevitable decline in health due to aging. Fortunately, Colorado does more than just meet this requirement. According to a report, Colorado ranks as one of the top ten states excelling in healthcare in the United States.
With some of the best, top-notch hospitals and experienced doctors, Colorado offers some of the highest-quality medical care available throughout the country. There’s no denying that certain remote areas lack the ease of access to quality healthcare services, but most of the population, especially those living in the cities, are never too far from premium healthcare services.
Additionally, you may think quality healthcare will come at a great price, but that’s not true, at least not in Colorado. Thanks to the government’s efforts and well-laid-out policies, healthcare services in the Centennial State cost much less compared to other states in the US.
Numerous Retirees and Retirement Communities to Join
Many people would traditionally flock to Florida in herds – to enjoy the rest of their days peacefully under the sun. However, things have taken a turn for the better over the years, leading a growing number of retirees to venture to Colorado. In fact, since 2010, the Centennial State has witnessed a massive jump in the number of people choosing to retire there.
So, if you’re planning on retiring in Colorado, know that you won’t be alone. Instead, you’ll come across a ton of people that belong to your age group, making it easier for you to connect with someone and expand your network. Settling in one of the many impressive retirement communities Colorado has to offer will make it even easier for you to befriend someone and maybe enjoy the many outdoor activities with them.
Cons of Retiring in Colorado
As great as Colorado is, like all other states, it comes with its fair share of concerns for retirees.
If you’re looking to retire in Colorado, it’s important that you consider the following downsides of your move along with the long list of benefits.
Located Above the Sea Level
Although subjective, the altitude of the state can be a potential factor in making or breaking one’s decision to retire in Colorado. The Centennial State is at least 2,000 feet above sea level, with most of the regions being much higher than that. While this may seem like a pro to many people, others might not quite agree with it.
Many people, especially seniors, may experience altitude sickness, at least initially. However, while some never get over it, others find ways to prevent it, training their bodies to adjust to the changes over time.
So, if you’re extremely scared of heights, you might want to rethink your decision to move to Colorado.
Severe Weather Conditions
As mentioned before, Colorado witnesses one too many sunny days a year. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t suffer the brunt of severe weather conditions. Depending on the region you settle in, you could witness hail, strong winds, and even wildfires. Moreover, certain parts of the state also receive high snowfall, which interferes with one’s day-to-day life and makes it challenging to get around.
When you settle in Colorado, you must be prepared to experience the occasional damaging storm. For instance, in 2017, certain regions of Colorado saw massive hail balls that resulted in damage worth billions of dollars.
High Influx of Tourists
With so much to offer to almost everyone, Colorado is a highly attractive state that pulls visitors from all over the United States and even the world. According to a survey, Colorado saw almost 87 million visitors in 2019, and although that number significantly dropped during the pandemic, many speculate the numbers will swell again in a post-COVID world. So, you can expect to find yourself amidst the hustle-bustle of tourists.
Although this may seem like a con to many retirees, especially those searching for a serene environment, like the altitude, the tourist influx isn’t all bad. Tourists play a significant role in stabilizing and boosting the state’s economy as they spend money, eventually resulting in better state policies for everyone, including seniors.
Some people hold a deep love for nature and wildlife and are mesmerized and excited at the sight of moose, deer, and other stunning creatures. If you’re that type of a person, then pack your bags; it’s time to move to Colorado!
On the other hand, if you’re the opposite, you might want to think twice before moving to this state. As commendable as Colorado’s nature is, we can’t deny that it is home to some dangerous animals that can do damage when and if you’re not prepared.
With wild bears, moose, lions, wolves, and coyotes spread throughout the state, animal attacks aren’t unheard of. However, when moving to Colorado, this is a factor worth considering, but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor. Remember: education can go a long way in preparing you to handle the wildlife.
High Living Costs
Although the tax rates in Colorado are much more feasible for seniors, you can’t let go of the high living costs. Depending on where you currently reside and where you plan on planting yourself in Colorado, you may need to pay a little extra for things.
Groceries and transportation rates are comparatively budget-friendly, but you will definitely have to consider the substantially high housing prices. The best way to save yourself from the shock of the high living costs is by conducting your research and comparing the rates to where you’re currently residing.
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.