Best Places To Retire In California


Living In Palm Springs

Tecolote Beach, near La Paz, Baja California Sur

The median home price is $420,000 , with two-bedroom rentals running $1124 on average. Retirees enjoy an active lifestyle in Palm Springs, with plenty of outdoor activities and cultural events. Residents can continue their education at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State San Bernadino in adjacent Palm Desert or at the Palm Springs Art Museum. About 45 minutes northeast, nature enthusiasts can enjoy a day’s outing at Joshua Tree National Park in the high desert.

Best Counties To Retire To In California

Buyers and sellers of real estate alikewhen asked what are the three most essential considerations about a propertywill nearly always reply “location, location, location.” While this answer is sometimes tongue-in-cheek, it is often quite accurate, and this reply perhaps applies to retirees more than any other demographic. Settling down after a lifetime of working and perhaps raising a family calls for the perfect location: a spot where you can enjoy life with as few concerns as possible.

When seniors aged 65 years or older decide on where they want to live out their golden years, they consider very specific factors, such as the cost of living, government services, health care facilities, weather and overall climate, crime rate, outdoor recreational activities, eating establishments, cultural and entertainment opportunities, and more.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to retire in California using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, healthcare, recreation and weather. Read more about Niche’s methodology here.

Read on to discover the best counties to retire to in California.

Living In Grass Valley

Grass Valley can feel remote, but in a good way – the town thrives on inbound tourism. Getting away is easy, too. Sacramento is an hour’s drive and San Francisco is about three hours away. Meantime, in Grass Valley the air is fresh, natural beauty abounds, and residents enjoy a mild four seasons.

The city of Grass Valley caters to retirees, providing many options in housing, activities and adult education classes. The median price of a home in Grass Valley, where 84 percent of the residents are homeowners, is about $412,250 and two-bedroom rentals average $1131. Trulia’s crime rate index ranks Grass Valley “very low.”

“I’ve known a number of people who moved to Grass Valley and love it! Still more affordable than a lot of other towns.” — Reader comment from Lee

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Health Care Total Points: 4000

  • Average COVID-19 Cases per Capita: Double Weight
  • Health-Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight
  • Home-Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight
  • Family Medicine Physicians per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight
  • Dentists per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight
  • Nurses per 1,000 Residents: Full Weight
  • Life Expectancy: Full Weight
  • Death Rate for Population Aged 65 & Older: Full Weight

Redding Is One Of The Best Places To Live In Northern California

15 Best Places to Retire in the West [2022]

Redding, a medium-sized city of 90,000 in Northern California, is underrated as a retirement destination. With Mount Shasta as a backdrop and the Sacramento River running through town, Redding offers lots of outdoor opportunities and plenty of sunshine, making it a great climate for active retirees. Summers are hot and dry while winters can be cold and wet. As of mid-2018, median home prices are $270,000 and median rent on a two-bedroom unit is $926 per month, well below California averages.

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Transportation In Rio Vista

Seniors can be active outdoors year round due to a pleasant, moderate climate of warm summers and cool winters. The Delta Breeze transportation system provides rides around town and between other cities in the county. Though shopping, medical care and entertainment options are limited in Rio Vista, the city is close to more bustling areas Oakland and Sacramento are less than an hour’s drive in either direction, both of which have large airports. A drive of 15- to 20-minutes will get you to a larger city with more services.

Best Places To Retire In North Carolina On Less Than $2500 A Month

North Carolina has long attracted residents-to-be with its top-notch universities, thriving economy and gorgeous natural scenery. In 2022, it was named America’s Top State for Business by CNBC.

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Yet it may be those who are calling it a day on business who have the most to gain in North Carolina.

Retirees may relocate to the Tar Heel State because it touts a relatively low cost of living and has awesome tax breaks for seniors. It is also, as mentioned, a beautiful place, so if walks in nature are a priority for your golden years, North Carolina will definitely deliver.

But North Carolina is a big place, and there are so many cities and towns to choose from when relocating there. Which ones make the best setting for retirees living on Social Security — or really for anyone on a strict budget?

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,140

Over in Garner in Wake County, rents for a one-bedroom average of $1,280. Monthly groceries cost $429 and healthcare costs $431 per month — the same as it costs in Raleigh. Garner is reputed for its down-to-Earth charm and its close proximity to the famous Research Triangle Park. Fifteen percent of the population is 65 and older.

Pictured: Neighboring Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,109

  • Monthly expenditures: $2,060

  • Monthly expenditures: $1,919

  • Monthly expenditures: $1,911

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The 15 Best Places To Retire In California

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Why do people choose California to retire? Lets discover the best places to retire in California and learn what makes the Golden State stand out.

Do you like the idea of spending your golden years in The Golden State?

Well, were not surprised! The allure of its ocean views, sumptuous weather, laidback lifestyle, and outstanding natural beauty is hard to resist. So hard, in fact, that a staggering 261.7 million people are set to visit California this year.

Sure, its high cost of living and taxation of retirement income are definite drawbacks. Yet life on the West Coast offers such an array of incentives that its no surprise so many would-be retirees find themselves California Dreaming.

Where are the best places to retire in California, though? As the third largest state in the country, narrowing down your options can be a real challenge.

Thats why we wanted to put this guide together. In a bid to simplify the decision-making process, were going to discuss 15 of the best retirement destinations in California. In no particular order, lets dive in.

Find The Best Places To Retire In California Today

Chartwell Rideau Place Retirement Residence – Ottawa

The list above may not include many of the cities you may have expected, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego. However, the cities from our list can provide a better quality of life in retirement with easy access to bigger markets. If California isnt the best option for you, visit our lists for the best places to retire in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and even Mexico.

The best places to retire in California can suit your specific needs and provide the utmost comfort and security. Begin the search for your forever home in the Golden State today.

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Californias Health Care For Retirees

California offers solid health care for its residents, but it doesnt necessarily stand out nationally. The United Health Foundation senior report placed California at 38th in its 2021 health rankings. It also noted that the state has a high prevalence of falls, which is an area of concern for older adults.

One area that the state does rank very well in is Medicare quality. While Original Medicare is provided at a federal level and is the same in all states, private companies offer regional Medicare Advantage plans.

More populous states tend to have more and better options for Medicare Advantage, and California is no exception. According to the U.S. News & World Report, it ranks second among all states in Medicare quality.

While Californias overall health rankings is middle of the pack, its large population and numerous options especially in relation to Medicare actually make it an ideal state for retirees from a health care perspective.

Explore Humangoods Central California Senior Living Community

Live life among new friends while you enjoy everything that the central California area has to offer in our communities:

  • Rosewood – Bakersfields only nonprofit Life Plan Community, Rosewood features thoughtfully designed wellness programs and has earned a reputation for being a trusted resource for area seniors.
  • Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens – Nestled in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, this community is Fresnos original nonprofit Life Plan Community. Our updated Mediterranean-inspired campus is beautiful, and neighbors are welcoming.

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Pros And Cons Of Retiring In California

The main pro of retiring in California is the fact that the state offers a high quality of life in a variety of different environments. There are few states that can boast of everything from beaches to major cities to mountains and national parks.

Virtually every retiree can find a part of the state that appeals to them. And the high number of older Americans in several cities throughout the state can help you feel like youre part of a community.

California has all the activities and excitement that come with big cities, while also offering the tranquility of beach town life just a short drive away. There are few places in the U.S. that can truly offer better living, along with regularly warm weather.

However, the tradeoff for such a high standard of living is the cost of it.

Theres no way around the fact that California is an incredibly expensive state to live in, even for retirees. This sets up a sizeable barrier that prevents most older adults from reasonably being able to retire in California.

Even if you spent years saving for your retirement and put lots of money away, the combination of cost of living, housing prices and taxes in California can quickly eat away at your savings and leave you in a precarious position.

Retirement in California simply may not make sense for those who dont have a significant amount of wealth set aside for retirement.

Rio Vista Has A Low Cost Of Living And A California Small Town Vibe

Best State To Retire On A Fixed Income

Affordable small town experiences are an everyday pleasure in Rio Vista, which is along the Sacramento River in eastern Solano County. With a population of about 8,000, Rio Vista has easy access to the larger Sacramento and San Francisco itself, 60 miles southwest. Rio Vista is known for its annual Bass Derby and Festival in October, which not only attracts sports fishermen but also brings in live music and artists.

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Grass Valley Is One Of The Best Northern California Towns

If stunning mountains and lakes is what you’re looking for in retirement, Grass Valley fits the bill in the Sierra Nevada foothills northwest of Lake Tahoe. This Gold Rush-era town of about 12,000 people has an outdoorsy vibe, and a quaint historic downtown with art galleries casual and fine dining and local entertainment.

Cost Of Living In California

Simply put, California is an incredibly expensive state to live in, separating it from many of the best retirement states. It costs more to live in California than almost any other U.S. state.

According to a data report from Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, California ranks 48th nationally for cost of living in 2021, behind only New York and Hawaii.

California ranks poorly for cost of living in categories like groceries, utilities and transportation. But the category that hurts the state the most is housing. Rent and property values are significantly higher in California than almost anywhere else in the country.

According to an article from Tax Foundation, the spending power of $100 in California is just $87.11. This means that your money will have significantly less value in California. That same amount of money has a spending power of over $100 in every bordering state.

For retirees, this means that moving to California for retirement would be a major financial adjustment. Unless you are coming from New York or Hawaii, you will be adjusting to a higher cost of living and your money will not go as far as it did in your current state.

Since many retirees are counting on a finite amount of savings to get them through retirement, its important to calculate exactly how far your money will go in California before making the decision to move there.

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Most Affordable Places To Retire In California

Plan for your golden years in the Golden State Plan Your Retirement

Retirement does not mean the end of an adventure it could be the best opportunity to start a new one. While many choose popular retirement hubs like Florida and Maine to settle down in, you could consider moving out West for an entirely different adventure.

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Despite the high cost of living in popular cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento, there are a number of affordable cities in California, with aspects that could benefit retirees. If youre considering fulfilling your Manifest Destiny in retirement, continue reading GOBankingRates list of the top 10 affordable places to retire in California.

Enjoy The Best Places To Retire In California

Tortilleria in La Ventana, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Given the coastal beauty, climate, and general quality of life on offer, its entirely understandable why many people edging toward their golden years see The Golden State as a potential place to retire! If youre one of them, then we hope the best places to retire in California that weve highlighted above will help you decide where exactly to settle.

Thats why we prepared this article about the best places to retire in California to help you begin thinking about the cities and towns which may be right for you.

Of course, making the transition from earning a paycheck to living off your savings and resources like Social Security can be a major adjustment impacting your budget and quality of life. Hiring a financial advisor can help you navigate the journey so you can enjoy decades in retirement in Californiawith less money stress.

Youll find financial advisors featured on Wealthtender based in California and others who can meet with you online no matter where you live today or tomorrow. Be sure to ask the right questions and understand the costs of hiring a financial advisor before deciding on the right financial advisor for you.

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Sacramento Is One Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Northern California

Its relative proximity to San Francisco, wine country, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and the Sierras puts Sacramento in an enviable position for active retirees. The leafy downtown riverfront has a historic “Old Town” and the city’s dining scene is tagged as “farm-to-fork,” emphasizing access to the extensive Central Valley’s fresh, local produce. Sunny days and mild evenings year-round do become hot in summer.

Common Questions About Retiring In California

Is California good for retirement?

California is an excellent place to retire, but can also be expensive depending on where you are within the state.

How much money do you need to retire in California?

The average yearly expenses in California are around 72 thousand, so take that in account when saving to retire in California.

Is California a retirement friendly state?

California is a great place to live for anyone looking to maximize their quality of life! Californias mild and sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and exciting cultural opportunities mean youll always have something to do.

How much are closing costs in California?

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What Are The Best Retirement Communities In California

  • Esplanade at Turkey Creek: In Lincoln, California Esplanade is a community of more than 850 family homes with amenities of a pool, clubhouse, walking trails, fitness centers, game room, spa, multipurpose rooms, and more. The 1408 2985 sq. ft home, ranges between $568,990 $988,000.
  • Four Seasons at Westshore: Outside of Sacramento sits Four Seasons where the home size varies from 1769-2206 sq ft, ranging between $ 549,900- $749,900. This place featured 31 acres of park and 26 acres of Lake with promenades and fountains.
  • Sun City Roseville: Sun City Roseville community has a Timber Creek Recreation Lodge on-site where each house ranges from 900 to well over 2600 square feet. The price of the home ranges from $ 615,000-$879,000.

Best Places to Retire in California

Do you consider relocating to California with access to the ocean and good cultural life in your old age? Perhaps Californias sheer size makes it possible for you. The Golden State has dreamed of retirement for decades. So, if you have the question on your mind where to retire in California then lets dive into the blog.

Culture In Grass Valley

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Not only does Grass Valley offer access to a small, historic town with plenty of natural beauty, it is close to the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe. During the summer, the downtown district hosts farmers markets, festivals and street fairs. The local chamber of commerce and downtown business association initiate many community events, such as a Harvest Festival, Cornish Christmas and an art and wine walk.

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