Close your eyes. Picture yourself without the confines of daily work schedules and let your mind wander. As you think about life after retirement, what do you see for yourself?
Many people choose to move somewhere different to spend their golden years in a beloved place that provides comfort and resources. Maybe you want mountains or beach backdrops for your morning coffee. Perhaps you crave access to golf courses or bike trails, or lakes for fishing.
Have you considered retiring in Colorado? It’s currently one of the best options in the United States for retirees. Even if you haven’t considered the Centennial State before, you may want to give it a look now. To help you decide if Colorado is the right place to spend your retirement, we compiled a list of the top 17 pros and cons of retiring in Colorado.
#1 Pro – Enjoy the Scenery
Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in America with its massive mountains, towering trees, rolling plains, crystal clear lakes, and sand dunes. With trails for every fitness and experience level, you’re never too far from nature.
There’s something about waking up to have your morning coffee with the mountains out your window. Of course, you can always take your fill of sand at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. Are you craving a dip in the water? Visit one of the many sparkling lakes or rivers winding through the state!
#2 Pro – Colorado’s Climate Can’t be Beat
Though Colorado technically has three climatic regions, most parts of the state have low humidity and long stretches of sunny days.
Some people argue that Colorado sees 300 days of sun per year, and while it’s open to interpretation, it’s pretty safe to say that you get plenty of Vitamin D year-round.
Do you suffer from chronic health conditions? Colorado’s climate could work wonders for your ailments. The drier conditions, consistent temperatures, and barometric pressure regularities could ease symptoms of multiple chronic health conditions, including arthritis.
#3 Pro – Play Outside
Between the scenery and climate, there’s a good chance that you feel better outside. With more time on your hands, you can walk, bike, hike, fish, and ski as much as you want!
Explore thousands of acres of National Parks and protected lands, several ski trails, and fishing holes around every bend. You have plenty of room to play outside in the fresh air and sunshine!
Tip: if you’re feeling adventurous, commit some of your newfound free time to one of the 14ers. Not everyone can say they climbed a 14,000-foot mountain, and there are several to try in Colorado!
#4 Pro – Pay Lower Taxes in Retirement
Colorado routinely ranks among the top tax-friendly states for retirees. The state income tax range is a low, flat rate of 4.63%, and you get a fair deduction on retirement income. Sales tax may run higher in the state, but it doesn’t apply to groceries or medication.
Bonus tip: there’s no estate tax in Colorado, so you can leave money to your family without paying hefty fees.
#5 Pro – Access High-Quality Medical Care
Colorado rounds out the top ten for overall health care in America. The state has some of the highest-quality medical care available with access to top-level hospitals. Though some remote areas may lack the ease of access, most of the population is never far from premium medical care.
Additionally, health care costs less in Colorado than in many other states. Thanks to significant policy moves, Colorado made strides to improve affordability and serve as a model for other states.
#6 Pro – Take in a Concert
Do you love music? Maybe you imagine yourself taking in concert after concert in your retirement years. Colorado could be just the place to live your dream.
Boasting some of the best concert venues in America, Colorado greets some of the top acts in the music industry every year. Catching a show at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a bucket list entry for any music lover. Plus, you have Fillmore Auditorium, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, and the massive Budweiser Events Center, to name a few!
Don’t forget to check out the Colorado Symphony. You can catch more than 150 concerts per year at the gorgeous Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver.
#7 Pro – Get Season Tickets
Sports fans can take in a game for every season with Colorado’s must-see sports teams competing at all levels of play. Colorado is home to five professional sports teams, the NFL’s Broncos, NBA’s Nuggets, MLB’s Rockies, MLS’s Rapids, and NHL’s Avalanche.
If those games don’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty of competition to see elsewhere. Catch a NASCAR race or PGA tournament. Swing by the minor league and amateur sporting events, including rodeos, rugby matches, and hundreds of college events.
Bonus tip: Colorado Springs, Colorado, is home to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. You can tour the facility, attend sports camps, hold meetings or events, and pick up gear to support Team USA.
#8 Pro – Take Day Trip Whenever You Want
Retirement means plenty of time to do the things you didn’t get to do because of work commitments. Now you can pick up in the middle of the week and take a day trip. Thankfully, Colorado has hundreds, if not thousands, of options for seniors. Here are some of our top suggestions for fun day trips:
- Explore the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
- Take a mining tour at Cripple Creek or Mollie Kathleen gold mine.
- Visit wine country in Grand Junction.
- Take a gondola ride in Telluride.
Day trips aren’t your only option. You can easily book overnight and weekend trips to get away from home and explore some impressive scenery, history, and culture. We recommend some of these trips:
- Stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park (especially if you’re a Stephen King fan).
- History buffs may appreciate a visit to Glenwood Springs, where you can walk in the steps of the famous Doc Holliday.
- Relax in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs.
#9 Pro – Forget About the Yard
Has caring for your yard always prevented you from traveling? Don’t worry about hiring somebody to mow when you can’t; there’s no need to fret if you choose a low-maintenance lawn option. Thanks to Colorado’s xeriscaping trend, you can leave for days at a time without worrying about who’s caring for your lawn!
There’s no need to concern yourself about grass browning or looking overgrown. You can have a beautiful, low-maintenance yard that handles drought conditions and survives the mile-hile weather. With the right plant combinations, you can have a colorful landscape year-round.
#10 Pro – Brewmasters Everywhere
With more than 400 breweries across the state, Colorado is a haven for craft beer lovers. Admittedly, you can find most breweries concentrated near major cities, but you have options almost everywhere. You can pick up a growler to enjoy on your porch or have a pint on the brewery’s patio while listening to live local tunes.
Ever sipped an ice-cold beer and thought you could do it better? You’re never far from a brewery in Colorado, but there are also plenty of ways to brew on your own. Thanks to the awesome climate, you can even grow your own hops!
Bonus tip: Thinking of pursuing a degree in your retirement? Several Colorado colleges even offer beer-brewing classes, certificates, and degrees!
- Colorado State’s Fermentation Science classes provide an in-depth education including biology, biochemistry, and microbiology involved in beer brewing.
- Metropolitan State of Denver built a Beer Industry Program with multiple options.
- The University of Northern Colorado has a Brewing Laboratory Science Program that offers the chance to earn a certificate or minor.
- Front Range Community College offers an Associate’s Degree in Fermentation Sciences that can transfer to one of the other schools.
- Earn an Applied Craft Brewing Certificate from Regis University.
- Several breweries and local community centers offer classes and beer-brewing supplies.
#11 Pro – Lots of Retirees and Retirement Communities to Join
Traditionally, many people retire to Florida, but you might be surprised to see that trend change as more retirees venture to Colorado. The state saw a significant jump in the number of people retiring there since 2010.
Aside from having more people your age to connect with, Colorado has some impressive retirement communities to make it even easier. Get the best of everything with neighbors your age and loads of activities to keep you as social and busy as you want to be!
#12 Con – Miles Above Sea Level
There are a few things to be aware of before committing to a move. Though it’s subjective, the altitude could be an issue for some people.
All of Colorado is at least 2,000 feet above sea level, and most of it is far higher than that. Altitude sickness is not fun, but there are ways to prevent it, and over time your body adjusts to the changes.
#13 Con – Tourists, Tourists, and More Tourists
All of the fantastic things that drew you to retire in Colorado happen to attract visitors. Almost 87 million people visited Colorado in 2019, and that number could swell in a post-COVID world.
Like the altitude, an influx of tourists isn’t all bad for Colorado retirees. Those tourists spend money, including overnight stays, which boosts the state’s economy.
#14 Con – Mind the Severe Weather
Coloradans see many sunny days every year, but that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from severe weather. Depending on where you settle in the state, you could face high winds, hail, and even wildfires. Additionally, some parts of the state receive high levels of snow that make it challenging to get around.
Be prepared for the occasional damaging storm. In 2017, parts of Colorado saw enormous balls of hail that caused billions of dollars of damage. The large hail balls damaged homes and vehicles around Denver, but it wasn’t the first incident in the state.
#15 Con – Beware the Wildlife
Some people love to see moose, deer, and other beautiful animals roaming through their yards, but not all Colorado wildlife is welcome. Colorado has some dangerous creatures that can do damage if you’re not prepared.
Though animal attacks remain rare in Colorado, it’s still something to consider before retiring there. Education goes a long way, and you can easily prepare to handle the wildlife. Here’s a rundown of the most common animals that could pose a risk.
It’s a joy to watch moose mosey around chomping on food, but they can be dangerous if threatened. Moose don’t run away when threatened; they charge and can easily run you down.
Though some people have shared funny footage of bears in their yards, films of home invasions have shocked and awed in recent years. Bears are wild animals seeking food and water.
Mountain Lions, Coyotes, and Wolves
Depending on where you are in Colorado, you could run into mountain lions, coyotes, or wolves. They may prey on pets or seek out prey that humans tend to feed, like deer.
Most states have some snake breeds, but Colorado has two deadly species. The western rattlesnake and massasauga are venomous and quite deadly. However, snakes tend to avoid people and only get aggressive if stepped on, cornered, or startled.
#16 Con – Water Conservation is Necessary
Water conservation may not be a con for everyone, but it’s something to consider. Colorado’s mountains see heavy snowfall every year, which then melts to provide water. However, some parts of the state see minimal precipitation, less than seven inches in some regions. The struggle to meet Colorado’s water needs remains an ongoing concern for state officials.
Water shortages can create problems for some communities throughout Colorado, having a wide-reaching impact on other areas. Thankfully, more Colorado citizens embrace water conservation methods every day to help maintain sufficient levels and meet the state’s needs.
- Xeriscaping your yard to use less water.
- Reusing gray water for irrigation.
- Installing water-efficient faucets and showerheads.
- Choosing Energy Star appliances to save water.
The EPA joined forces with Colorado officials to educate residents about water conservation and even provide some free audits to improve existing homes.
#17 Con – Prepare for the Cost of Living
Taxes are better in Colorado, but you may notice a bump in the cost of living. Depending on where you currently reside, you may need to pay a little more for some things.
While you may pay substantially more for housing, you should only see a slight uptick in groceries and transportation. On the other hand, most people should see a drop in health care costs and even spend less on utilities.
It’s a good idea to do your research so that you don’t get sticker shock! Try using a comparison calculator for a ballpark idea.
Are You Ready to Retire to the Centennial State?
Colorado has a lot to offer retirees seeking to make the most of their golden years. If you love being outside and appreciate postcard-worthy scenery, it may be an excellent option for you. Plus, it’s possible to find huge savings on taxes and health care options.
Whether you prefer to relax and enjoy your newfound time or choose to keep busy exploring the world around you, Colorado has something for every taste. If you don’t mind the minor drawbacks, Colorado could be a wonderful place to spend your golden years.
Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment to let us know!