A sort of “debate” has emerged regarding whether it is better to retire in Nevada or Arizona. In the following article, we’ll attempt to answer the “living in Nevada vs Arizona” question by exploring several facts, opinions, and statistics. In the end, you might be surprised to see which state comes out on top!
For many Americans, the Southwest US has become an increasingly desirable place to spend retirement. This is due to a number of factors, including the temperate and pleasant climate, the endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors, and the favorable cost-of-living and tax rates of the growing Southwestern states.
Retiring in Arizona vs Nevada: The Basics
Nevada and Arizona are neighbors, and both border the state of California. Unsurprisingly to most, they are both desert states, with dry, sunny days and cool evenings pretty much all year round. Humidity is also low in both states, which most retirees tend to enjoy.
Arizona – Arizona is made up of mostly canyons and hills, sharing nearly a quarter of its border with Mexico. It boasts several national forests, and the northern-most area of the state is largely dominated by Native Reservations, with cities clustered in the center and south. As far as major sites go, the Grand Canyon and surrounding park attract thousands of people per year.
Nevada – Nevada is far more mountainous than its southeastern neighbor. It has the famous Sierra Nevada range for starters, as well as the scenic Lake Mead recreational area. You also have the Hoover Dam and, of course, Las Vegas, to explore.
As grand as the Grand Canyon is, it’s not the kind of place you visit every weekend. Las Vegas, on the other hand, provides endless opportunities for fun and excitement no matter what age you are. Plus, you simply can’t compete with the views of the mountains you’ll enjoy nightly from your Nevada backyard.
Living in Nevada vs Arizona
Both states offer a myriad of activities, entertainment options, and outdoor fun. From rafting and camping to hiking and more, the desert is the perfect playground for active retirees.
Arizona – Arizona is known to offer plenty of outdoor entertainment, sure, but it’s also one of the hottest places in the country. On the other hand, there are attractions galore to be found in the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale.
Nevada – Like Arizona, you will find plenty of outdoor entertainment options in Nevada’s great open spaces. Unlike Arizona, Nevada is more than just golf courses – it has Las Vegas.
Known as the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas has quickly become the new trendy place to retire. It’s existence really helps to clear up the debate about whether to retire in Nevada or Arizona!
Arizona vs Nevada Taxes
There’s no escaping the fact that the vast majority of retired Americans are on some sort of fixed income. While that income may be high or low, it’s very important to check out Arizona vs Nevada taxes.
Arizona – Arizona charges income taxes on all withdrawals made from your retirement accounts, which can add up to a small fortune over time!
Nevada – Nevada charges no state income tax or inheritance tax, which makes it perfect for individuals with high incomes or substantial IRA / 401(k)s. This means more money in your pocket throughout your retirement, which can be a deal-breaker or deal-maker for a lot of individuals.
Especially for those moving to high-tax states such as California, New York, or Illinois, Nevada is a good choice to stretch your retirement dollar. For Californians, you can really see the difference in our California vs Nevada Tax Guide.
Cost of Living in Arizona vs Nevada
While it’s always nice to have some extra cash in pocket from tax savings, it won’t add up to much if you live in a prohibitively expensive place. To see the real difference between living in Arizona vs. Nevada, you have to look at what you’ll be spending on the day-to-day.
Arizona – Arizona has a cost-of-living rate below the national average. This means that food, gas, and other necessities won’t cost you an arm and a leg. However, the cost-of-living peaks in the capital area, which – unless you’re particularly drawn to the desert – is likely where you’ll end up.
Nevada – Nevada also has a cost-of-living rate that’s below the national average, but it also has more variance in cost depending on where you live. If you’re right next to the action in Vegas, for instance, you can expect things to cost a little bit more. Move a few miles out, and you can enjoy dramatically lower prices than Arizona.
If you’re not set on living in the most expensive neighborhoods, you can save a lot on goods and services by living in Nevada. This means that it’s much easier to stretch your dollar in this state, giving it a distinct advantage over its neighbors.
Making Your Decision
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when examining living in Arizona vs Nevada. Both are scenic, historic, and beautiful areas of the country.
However, don’t despair! It’s easy to enjoy the best of both states, as many of their best attractions are located just a few hours’ drive from one another.
If you’re still not sure where is best for you, try taking our Best Place to Retire Quiz.
Retire Better Now also offers a Las Vegas Relocation Program, where we help people find a home and new lifestyle in Las Vegas.
If you’re interested in relocating to either state, fill out the form below and we can help connect you with a relocation specialist!