Benefits of Retiring In Utah (Pros & Cons)

As you approach your retirement age, you probably want to make the big move you've always wanted. So, if a move is in the pipeline, consider retiring in Utah!

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As you approach your retirement age, you probably want to make the big move you've always wanted. So, if a move is in the pipeline, consider retiring in Utah!

Having spent most of your life in a single place, looking for a new place for the retirement phase of your life can seem alluring. Most people search for a fun and relaxed yet budget-friendly and financially effective location to enjoy now that they aren't consumed by work. Enter Utah.

Utah has a growing economy, promising job market, good healthcare, reasonable living costs, beautiful locations, friendly people, low crime rates, and a good public transportation network. On the downside, Utah is witnessing rapid population growth, isn't tax-friendly, has extreme weather, and has a conservative government.

Utah is the 30th most-populous U.S. state, with mountains, deserts, and high plateaus forming most of its landscape. As one of the fastest-growing western states, Utah welcomes people from all over the U.S. and the world to live peacefully here. In fact, this state has the fourth-highest popular growth rate due to hundreds of thousands of people flocking here for permanent residence. All in all, a move to Utah could very well change one's life!

Retiring in Utah has a myriad of perks to offer to those looking for both financial and non-financial benefits. However, it also comes with its fair share of perks that can deter people from seeking a home to live out their golden years here. Well, if you're considering Utah as a retirement destination, you're in luck! Having lived in Utah most of my life, I've put together this article to walk you through the good and bad features of the state to make your retirement decision easier.

Table of Contents

Pros of Retiring in Utah

There are countless reasons why Utah is a great place for many. Here are a few pros of seeking retirement in the Beehive State.

Growing Economy

Utah has an excellent economy that has seen considerable growth over the years. The Beehive State has very low employment levels, with an increasing labor force and the number of tech jobs. In fact, when the rest of the country and world took a hit, Utah thrived during the pandemic. As per the Wall Street Journal, the Beehive State has the lowest unemployment rate and a towering number of working individuals, even post-pandemic.

When considering retirement, all you want is to move to a state where there is growth and stability, as it significantly helps sort out certain stresses of daily life. Well, Utah most certainly delivers on this front. In an ode to its rapidly expanding economy, you can expect to make cheaper purchases, help working family members relocate, and experience an overall satisfactory cost of living.

Great Job Opportunities

You may be wondering why this would be an advantage for you when you're already planning to retire. Well, if that's what your first thought was, then you're probably one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately, for others, the sad reality is that unless you're a millionaire or are born into family money, it can be pretty tough to save up enough to spend the rest of your retirement days in peace.

Many people from around the U.S. are facing social security cutbacks, forcing them to continue in the workforce and earn long after they have retired. This trend has spread widely across the U.S., sweeping up seniors from around the country.  

So, if you're one of those retirees looking to continue working part-time or full-time for extra income, Utah is a rather promising option. Given its booming economy, the Beehive State is the ideal place for retirees seeking jobs for additional cash.

Quality Healthcare Services

Quality and affordable healthcare services are very important once you reach a certain age. Therefore, when you're retiring, especially at an older age, you need to find a place that offers great healthcare. Luckily, Utah thoroughly caters to this requirement via great and budget-friendly medical services.

The healthcare costs in the Beehive State are much lower than the national average. This is quite a relief and possibly a deciding factor for seniors, considering healthcare can consume almost 40% of one's total income. So, when retiring to Utah, you can expect to receive prompt and quality medical attention without it costing you an arm and a leg.

Fair Cost of Living

Utah's average living costs are higher than 27 states, yet it is a reasonable place to live in. Of course, like other places, certain places in Utah are more costly than others. For instance, areas like the Green River probably won't have estates as costly as the ones in Salt Lake City.

When retiring in Utah, you obviously don't have to move into a city, unless, of course, that's your preference. However, if you don't have a load of retirement savings and are looking to invest in property, Utah's rural and countryside areas are your best bet!

Furthermore, if you still want to live in a city with low savings, you will probably have to work to meet your wants and needs. On the plus side, however, the cost of groceries, utilities, and gas will be much cheaper and more affordable compared to the high wages you'll earn in the city.

Lovely Landscapes and Scenery

Utah is one of the top destinations, not only in the United States but also in the world. With so many breathtaking locations and picturesque scenery, you'll have more than enough opportunities to tour some stunning places and explore new landscapes. You can set off in your car and drive along the well-made roads to find some scenic spots. Don't forget to take your camera along!

Outdoor Activities

Given the state's gorgeous and incredibly diverse landscape, you can expect to enjoy various outdoor sports and activities throughout Utah. Whether you're an adventure seeker or a simple person looking for peace and calm, Utah has something to offer to almost everyone.

You can hike through the Moab desert, ski on world-class slopes, or go for white water rafting. If you're looking for something mellower, then you can take a walk around the park or go and soak in the view of the mountains. As long as it's not peak winter, you can easily tread through Utah.

Friendly People

When in Utah, you can expect to find some of the friendliest and nicest individuals you'll ever encounter. Since most Utahans are raised as Mormons, which teaches the significance of practicing love and kindness, the natives of this place are highly welcoming.

Moreover, regardless of whether you're religious or not, expect to be surprised by the inclusivity and warmth these people display. Utah is also listed as one of the most giving states in the country, with high rates of donations, services, and volunteering. So, if you're interested in participating in such activities, Utah is a great place for you.

Leisurely Activities

Utah offers numerous senior-friendly leisure activities, from scenic driving to scuba diving to riveting museums, theaters, swimming opportunities, and comedy clubs. The Beehive State is also home to some great national parks and the Sundance Film Festival. Moreover, the state also hosts various concerns and has a myriad of bars and quality eateries to satisfy your taste buds.

Low Crime Rate

Safety is a colossal priority for most retired seniors, so this alone can be a great reason when moving to a city or state. If this factor is important to you, you must consider Utah as a prospective state to settle. After all, it has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States.

This doesn't mean that crime isn't common around the state, but it actually means that it's limited to certain areas, such as Salt Lake City. However, most crimes in SLC are usually property-related rather than violent crimes.

As you move to the state's rural areas, you'll notice the crime rates dipping even further. In fact, the crime rates there are lower than 80% of the nation's average, making Utah's rural areas one of the safest places to live in the U.S.

The Chance to Witness All Seasons

You can witness all four seasons across the Beehive State. In many places, you can even experience winter and summer on the same day! With desert summers in the south and extreme winters in the north, Utah has everything except for an ocean.

During the spring and fall seasons, you can watch the landscapes change and enjoy the blooming flowers and changing colors of leaves. Summers can get quite hot, but they offer some much-needed relief from freezing winter days.

When winter hits in its full glory, the mountains are covered with blankets of stunning powdery snow. On other days, the weather in the valley remains cool and crisp. Either way, you get the chance to witness winter in its full spectrum.

Well-Laid-Out Transportation Network

Given the rapid economic developments, the transportation network throughout Utah's cities and other metropolitan areas is pretty commendable. The Beehive State has an established link between the light rail systems and bus routes that offers support to public transportation, making it convenient to access for the residents.

Utah has also experienced extensive highway renovations over the past decade, resulting in the creation of a well-established border-to-border highway system that allows people to travel faster and more smoothly. Two major highways are connected to Utah from both directions, so you can get from top to bottom within a few hours.

Cons of Retiring in Utah

If the pros of retiring in Utah have you totally convinced to move here, these cons might help you clearly evaluate your decision before you pack up and move. Here are a few cons of retiring in Utah to consider.

High Tax Rates

Although the tax-friendliness of a state isn't the deciding factor, it is a vital one to consider when measuring the retirement potential of a place. Sadly, Utah doesn't deliver well on this factor. Given the rather high rates of taxes, Utah isn't a tax-friendly state at all, at least compared to other states.

The residents of the Beehive State have to incur income tax, property tax, gas tax, alcohol tax, cigarette tax, and much more. Utah also has a 6% base sales tax, with its total tax rates averaging at 7%, which is higher than the national average.

Rapid Development

You might be wondering why I've listed rapid development as a con. Well, as great as development can be, sometimes, growing too fast can cause a lot of concern.

Utah has grown and expanded its industries and economy at an unprecedented rate. The state has specifically started to boom in the past decade or so and has witnessed incredible growth during the pandemic, with people flocking there from all over the country. This population growth can be an ode to the gaining popularity of Utah's tech industry, which has also led to it being known as the "Silicon Slopes."

So, for starters, one of the major problems of this rapid development is the enormous population growth. Most retirees want to live in a peaceful place, but with so many people entering Utah, it will be nearly impossible to expect a quiet life.

Another major problem is that the rapid development and massive influx of people have driven up the state's housing prices. Even though the housing prices are relatively affordable than other states, they are still increasing every day and will continue to rise in the coming years.

Prominent Mormon Community

Almost 60% of Utah's population follows the Mormon religion. While this does make the people of the state extremely kind and friendly, it can be tough for less-religious people or those who aren't a part of the faith to fit in. Moreover, as you head south in the state, the percentages of Mormons go up to almost 80%, which can be overwhelming, threatening, or simply off-putting for some people.

Conservative Government

Utah has an extremely conservative Republic government, which can be very unfavorable for some. Even though Salt Lake City is a democratic city, the government as a whole isn't. So, if you have strong liberal ideals or are a solid democrat, then living in Utah might not be for you.

Going hand in hand with the Mormon religion, the government is very conservative. Although Salt Lake City itself is a predominantly Democratic city, the government as a whole is not. If you are a strong democrat or have very liberal ideals, then living here may be an issue for you.

Extreme Weather

Utah experiences extreme weather and temperatures throughout. Winters across the state have lots of snow and freezing cold temperatures, which dip even further in the mountainous areas. The same applies to summers in the Beehive State. Summers in southern Utah can be extremely hot, with temperatures soaring up to 115 degrees.

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