Eight Great Reasons to Retire in Texas

The most popular state in the country for retirees used to be Florida-but these days, Texas is giving the Sunshine State some serious competition. And with a low tax burden and costs of living, beautiful scenery, huge variety in types of communities, and plenty of opportunity for fun, culture and travel, it’s easy to see why. Here are eight reasons why retirees love living in Texas.

An easy tax burden. Texas does a lot of things to make taxes easier on those aged 65 and older. If you’re a homeowner, you get an additional $10,000 off the assessed value of your home, on top of the normal $15,000 homestead exemption, that is exempt from school taxes. Another $3,000 is exempt from local taxes of other types. There is also a tax ceiling on the total value of your home for school taxes, and in some cities, your overall school district taxes are frozen on the initial year you qualified for the residence exemption. In addition, there’s no state income tax.

Plenty of travel opportunity. Texas is a big state-and it’s ideal for seniors who love to travel. From the Alamo to Texas Hill Country during Bluebonnet Season, there’s plenty to see-and plenty of reasons to fire up the RV and take a road trip.

An affordable housing market. For such beautiful and historic surroundings, housing in Texas is surprisingly affordable. The median listing price for a home in Texas is around $189,000 according to 2013 numbers at Zillow.com, although more expensive areas do exist, particularly around Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Even so, with the home prices mostly low, many seniors can afford to save more-or splurge on a larger home or one with lots of land.

Mild winters. Summers can get hot-but winters here are mild, even in January in some areas. In North Texas, humidity is fairly low during the summers, so the summer heat is more tolerable. If you like summers spent by the pool and no need for snow tires in the winter, you’ll love Texas weather.

Low cost of living. On a scale where the average cost of living nationwide ranks at 100, the cost of living in Texas is ranked as an 88.7. When you add in the low taxes and housing prices, it paints a very affordable picture.

Plenty of variety. Whether you’re looking for the music and culture of Austin, the history of San Antonio, the bustle of a big city like Dallas, or a sleepy rural town among stunning scenery, Texas has it all. There are intellectual college towns, cultural hot spots, high-ranking sports teams, and the slow, relaxed pace of small town life-often within the same city.

Opportunities for self-development. There are lots of colleges in Texas-including six separate public college systems throughout the state and eight private institutions, many of which are high-ranking nationwide. Many colleges offer lifelong learning opportunities for seniors who wish to take individual classes-so you can keep developing new skills and pursuing subjects of interest after retirement.

Great hospitals. Nine hospitals in Texas have strong national rankings-while forty-two smaller hospitals also have strong performance statewide. If you live in Texas, chances are a high-quality hospital will be just a short drive away.

There’s no question-Texas is a great place to retire. With its low cost of living and housing, the low tax burden, mild weather, and plenty of opportunities to pursue your interests in culture, sports, history, travel, and more, it’s definitely worth a second look.