10 Reasons Why Houston is a Good Place to Retire
When the time comes to retire, for many people, that means a move. Whether it’s to be closer to children or grandchildren, live out a longtime dream or simply find a place with a better cost of living and lower taxes, people relocate all the time. And often times the place they choose to go is Houston, Texas.
Retirement planning should take location into account. How much will it cost to live in retirement? What do you plan to do when work is over?
For practical, real-world reasons, Houston, Texas is one of the most popular retirement-relocation destinations in the U.S. Houston has consistently, and by many sources, been named one of the top places to retire in the country. It’s also one of the best places to live, period, according to U.S. News and World Report, which named Houston No. 30 out of 125 U.S. metros on its Best Places to Live list in 2019, and No. 26 out of 100 on its Best Places to Retire list.
Houston is home to about 6.6 million people, a population that is expected to rise to about 7.1 million by 2020. The unemployment rate sits at about 4.3 percent, just a touch higher than the national average (3.7 percent, as of August 2019). The median home price in Houston is about $223,875, and median monthly rent (based on a one-bedroom apartment) is about $884. These figures are lower than many other areas surveyed.
A diverse population, healthy economy and job market, affordable housing and all-around low cost of living top the list of reasons Houston makes such a great place to live, which also makes it such a great retirement destination.
What does this all mean for retirement planning in Houston, TX? Let’s take a closer look.
Low Cost of Living
In addition to the median price of a home in Houston, TX being lower than the national average, energy costs are also lower in Houston, owing to the more favorable regulatory environment compared to other cities and states. In fact, the overall cost of living in Houston is lower than the national average, because the median cost of things like groceries, healthcare and utilities in Houston are below the national average as well.
This can be a huge benefit when retiring since you may no longer be bringing home a paycheck.
Significant Tax Savings
Another reason many retirees relocate to Texas is because there is no state income tax here. This means your Social Security benefits and other retirement income is free of state taxes. This is likely to continue to be the case, because state income tax is expressly forbidden in the state’s constitution.
Weather is another draw.
Although you may have to deal with some subtropical heat in the summer, Houston averages only four to seven days of rain a month, and even in the coldest month of January, the average temperature hovers around 60 degrees.
The LA Times called Houston the most diverse place in all of America, a welcoming cultural melting pot where “minorities are no longer seen as outsiders.” It’s also a city of “transplants,” with almost 25 percent of the population having been born outside the U.S.
A perk that comes with diversity is the food. Because of its amazing diversity, Houston is famous for foods that run the gamut, from chicken-fried steak and breakfast tacos to Vietnamese Pho and kolache.
Many people are unaware of how much Houston, TX has to offer when it comes to culture.
For example, Houston’s Museum District is home to 19 museums and attractions, including the Houston Zoo, Children’s Museum of Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Johnson Space Center/Space Center Houston and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
If sports is your game, Houston is also home to a professional baseball team (Astros), football team (Texans), basketball team (Rockets) and soccer team (Dynamo). There are also 36 golf courses, eight of which are municipal courses (and many more in the area surrounding Houston).
Houston boasts plenty of greenspace as well, more than 366 parks and 50,000 acres of park space within the city limits alone, and 125 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Healthcare can be a big concern in retirement. Houston is home to word-class medical care, including the largest medical center in the world, the Texas Medical Center, as well as top medical schools and teaching hospitals, and many renowned specialty facilities like MD Anderson Cancer Center. In addition, there are more than 360,000 healthcare workers in the Houston area.
Houston may not be the most walkable city, but it has a bus and light rail system that connects downtown and midtown, free Greenlink buses that run on compressed natural gas, bike paths and bike lanes that are in the process of being expanded, car-sharing services and easy access to two international airports, George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby.
USAA named Houston a top city for veterans in terms of job-seeking, so if you’re considering a side hustle in retirement, this might be an important focus for you. Military.com also says that Houston is great for “appreciation, stability and military friendliness.” In fact, Houston has dedicated a government system to veteran’s affairs. The City of Houston Office of Veterans Affairs’ mission is to help Houston become the best city by serving military, veterans and their families, to thank them for their service.
Some of these programs include free transit and toll lane access for disabled veterans, the Veterans Affairs Regional Hospital and clinics, and the Returning Veterans Initiative.
More than 300,000 veterans call the greater Houston area home.
Houston has historically been one of the top-performing U.S. metro economies, with significantly higher job growth than the national average. These and other healthy economic factors contribute to a more positive atmosphere in and around the city.
Houston, TX is also home to many retirees. Because of the factors mentioned above, retirement can cost less and allow retirees to do more than they would if they lived elsewhere. For example, if you retired in California, which tends to have a high cost of living, you may not be able to afford as many trips or excursions in retirement because your living costs are already expensive.
If you’re nearing retirement, already living in Houston or hoping to move to Texas when you reach retirement age, contact Linscomb & Williams to see how we can help.