Cost of Living in California
Admittedly, parts of California, especially near the coast, can be more expensive than living in other states. Homes in some areas can cost more than similar ones in other retirement meccas, such as Florida, and California also has a state income tax. However, there are both condos and single-family homes throughout California which may be more affordable than you expect, including many in the $150,000 to $400,000 price range. Many of these condos and homes can be found in the large number of active adult retirement communities scattered throughout the state.
In addition, property taxes are lower per $100,000 valuation than in some other states which do not have a state income tax, such as Texas. Many people have found that the added expense of paying a state income tax on their modest retirement income is offset by the lower property tax rate. Of course, you would have to talk to your financial advisor or income tax professional to see which of the states you are considering would work out best financially for you.
Weather in California
There are a wide variety of climates in California. Along the coast in Southern California, you will find mild temperatures most of the year. The inland desert area around Palm Springs, in the Coachella Valley, is pleasant in the winter, but extremely hot in the summer. It has been a popular place to retire for decades, with everyone from former President Gerald Ford to Sonny Bono and Bob Hope taking up residence there in their later years.
Northern California is colder and wetter in the winter than Southern California, but mild and sunny in the summer. For those who enjoy winter sports, the California mountain ranges are sprinkled with ski resorts in Southern, Central and Northern California and many people who enjoy outdoor sports have purchased mountain cabins in rural areas, where they have been able to retire very affordably. Fishing lakes, golf courses, vast park lands and other recreational areas can also be found throughout the state and hundreds of thousands of retirees have found comfortable places to retire near their favorite spots.
Consider an Active Adult Retirement Community
One popular choice is to retire in one of over 100 active adult retirement communities which are scattered around California. These age restricted communities for people age 55 and over contain homes and amenities designed to be fun, convenient and accessible for people as they get older, even if they have limited mobility. Below you can learn more about some of the more popular, affordable choices available in California.
A Popular Retirement Community in Southern California
Laguna Woods Village, just outside of Laguna Beach, is one of the most popular retirement communities in the state, with 18,000 residents. Located just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, it also contains golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, clubhouses, a theater, a stable with horses for resident use, and many other amenities. Condos are available in a wide range of prices, from $150,000 to over $1,000,000. The biggest downside to the community is that it was developed in the 1960s and 1970s, which means many of the condos need to be updated, although some of them have already been modernized by the current owners. There is so much to do in this community that a friend of ours who lives there refers to it as "Camp Laguna."
Other Affordable Southern California Retirement Communities include:
Oceana in Oceanside
Four Seasons in Beaumont
Terra Lago in the Coachella Valley
Sun Lakes Country Club in Riverside County
You can learn more about these communities, as well as others, at 55Places.com. The article below is a good place to start:
A Popular Retirement Community in Northern California
Trilogy at Rio Vista has a variety of lovely homes which start in price around $300,000. My husband and I have several friends who live there and they all love the community, which surrounds a golf course and is near the Sacramento River ... a perfect arrangement for people who love golf, sailing and fishing. We attended a party at a home on the golf course and the view was gorgeous. Many of the homes have solar panels on their roofs, which dramatically reduces the cost of heating and air conditioning.
Other Affordable Northern California Retirement Communities include:
Four Seasons at Westshore - near Sacramento
Sun City Roseville
The Vineyard in Redding
Diamond Glen in Folsom
You can learn more about all of the above communities, as well as others, in the 55places.com article below.
Learn More about Other Active Adult Communities in California
Of course, the ten communities listed above are not the only choices in California. If you would like to see a complete list of over 100 active adult retirement communities in California, including more comprehensive information than can be detailed here, you can download the entire 2017 California Active Adult Community Guide. It is available free online and will give you detailed information about a wide variety of neighborhoods.
Do you need a good overview of retirement planning tips? Watch for my book, Retirement Awareness, which will be published by Griffin Publishing in 2018.
Would you like more information about retirement planning, where to retire in the US or abroad, common medical problems, Social Security, Medicare and more? Use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.
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Photo credit: Photo of the golf course at Laguna Woods Village in Southern California is property of author.