Retirement Planning in Scottsdale Arizona

Retiring in Scottsdale is easier when you have a plan in place.

If you are thinking about retiring to Scottsdale or another city in Arizona you’re not alone. The Grand Canyon State is becoming ever more popular with not only retirees but also with individuals still in their working years. 

There are many factors to consider when moving to a new location. As the cost of living rises dramatically in cities across the country, many people are deciding to move to beautiful, sunny and inexpensive Arizona, in particular, the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. The desert lifestyle is appealing not only for its beauty but also because it might make financial sense for you. Arizona offers strong employment opportunities, a reasonable cost of living, and a high quality of life for people of any age. 

So whether you are still building your nest egg or are looking to protect the one you have already built, finding a financial advisor in Arizona should be on your to-do list. At ARQ Wealth Advisors we pride ourselves on preparing customized financial plans designed to help our clients reach their financial goals. No matter what stage of life you are in, if you are looking for wealth management in Arizona, we can help. 

Read on to learn more about why people are moving to our great state of Arizona:

The Economy

Arizona boasts a strong and growing economy that has bounced back from the nationwide recession of the late 2000s to reach new highs. Various sources have attributed the state’s economic growth to changing priorities in terms of living expenses and climate, Arizona’s business-friendly environment, and significant corporate investments within the state.

Population Growth

Arizona has enjoyed high population growth over the past decade. In 2018, it was the fourth-largest state in terms of population growth, outpaced only by California, Texas, and Florida. 

It also has the highest inbound state growth rate in the country, which refers to people moving from one US state to another. Many new Arizonans move from California (accounting for about one-quarter of inbound growth), and most settle in the Scottsdale or Phoenix area.

Phoenix, the state capital, was the second-fastest-growing American city in 2017 and has been recognized as a top 20 city in the US for both employees and retirees.

Business Environment

Many businesses have established offices in or even moved their headquarters to Arizona. Those that were originally based in California and have moved to Arizona benefit from less stringent regulation and lower tax rates. Arizona’s typically low lease rates, especially compared to California’s, as well as the state’s low barriers to new real estate development, are also attractive to prospective investors.

Major Corporate Investments

One of the best indicators of Arizona’s positive long-term economic prospects is in the number of companies that have made significant investments in the state. To date, Google, Uber, and Apple all have significant operations in Arizona, particularly in developing self-driving and electric car technology, and they continue to make investments that generate jobs as well as technological advancements for the state.

Cost of Living

As a desert state surrounded by wilderness, life in Arizona is much different than in many other states. In addition to its low cost of living, Arizona offers some of the world’s best outdoor experiences inexpensively, as well as a sunny, dry climate.

Inexpensive Housing

Houses are inexpensive throughout the state, although prices have risen some as more people appreciate the many perks of living in Arizona. However, new residents moving from more expensive cities, particularly those in California, can still make dramatic housing upgrades moving into Arizona homes of equivalent pricing.

Natural Beauty

Arizona’s greatest national feature is, of course, the Grand Canyon. However, the state offers an almost unlimited array of other outdoor activities, many of which can be done inexpensively and almost year-round. Residents can enjoy the state’s wide-open spaces, beautiful sunsets, hiking, swimming, rafting, and other outdoor activities. Much of the state is pure wilderness, meaning that nature lovers can spot wild animals, such as snakes, roadrunners, mountain lions, and coyotes.


With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Arizona is nicknamed the “Valley of the Sun” for a good reason. Since even winter days in Arizona are usually sunny, the state is perfect for those who struggle with seasonal affective disorder during the dark winter months in other parts of the US.

Arizona’s winters are short and chilly, with spring coming early in the new year. Summers are long and hot, with daytime highs often above 100 and record highs in the 120s. As a desert state, snow in the winter is rare, and most months average only a couple inches of rain. The state is almost entirely absent from the threat of any natural disasters beyond the occasional drought.

Working Years

Arizona has shown strong job growth over the past several years, and residents benefit from working conditions and job sectors that have diversified far beyond the state’s early agriculture days.

City Living

Phoenix and Tucson, as the largest and second-largest cities in Arizona, are the state’s major economic centers. The Phoenix metropolitan area is the largest by far for employees seeking extensive career and professional development opportunities. 

Compared to many other, similar-sized cities in the US, the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas are safer, cleaner, and less polluted, making both commuting and working in Arizona much more pleasant than in many other states.

The vast majority (over 80%) of interstate immigration to Arizona is to the Phoenix metropolitan area, which includes the state capital of Phoenix, as well as Scottsdale, and surrounding suburbs. With almost 5 million people in the region, there is a reason that central Arizona is the most popular destination for new Arizona residents, whether their goal is to work or retire in the area.


Major Industries

In the Phoenix area, the business and financial services sectors have experienced the most dramatic growth rates, followed by the biosciences and health care sectors.  It offers the greatest range of employers and industries and is headquarters to four Fortune 500 headquarters (Avnet, PetSmart, Republic Services, and Freeport-McMoRan), as well as significant corporate sites for Honeywell International, Intel, and American Express. 

Other major industries include real estate and manufacturing. In Tucson, the largest industries are education, high-tech companies, and the military.

More broadly, Arizona has cultivated a reputation as a forward-thinking state in research and development, particularly technology R&D. It is especially well-known for groundbreaking developments in-car technology, as well as for a government that cultivates relationships with both universities and high-tech companies.

Retirement Planning

Retirees, especially Californians, are flocking to Arizona for many reasons. The opportunity to downsize into an affordable house or condo is a major advantage of retiring in Arizona. On the other hand, there are many wealthy retirees upsizing into many of the prestigious communities that surround Scottsdale. What everyone has in common is enjoying a winter without snow! 


Because housing prices are much lower in Arizona than in many other areas of the US, downsizing when a retiring couple moves allows the new retirees to pocket any gain from the sale of their previous home over the cost of their new, downsized home in Arizona. For many new residents, the amount they will be able to keep will be substantial. 

For retirees who are moving from cities where urban housing is not affordable, Phoenix has multiple reasonably priced options for living downtown, including houses, condos, and assisted living centers. For retirees who prefer suburban settings, many neighborhoods are available in the surrounding cities, such as Scottsdale.

Housing upkeep costs, in both time and money, are also lower in Arizona than in many other areas of the country. Air conditioning is required for most of the year, but this is more than offset by the advantage that many other common homeownership tasks are unnecessary in Arizona. For retirees who are not interested in or who are unable to complete all the traditional requirements of homeownership, living in Arizona can be refreshingly simple. The front and back yards of most Arizona houses are low maintenance natural landscapes. Without grass to cut or trees that drop leaves, homeowners will need to do very little yard work, and will never need to shovel snow. 

Property Ownership

Arizona is one of nine “community property” states, which refers to how the state legally addresses jointly owned assets. In community property states, married couples are generally treated as one entity for asset ownership purposes, with spouses having an equal share in their jointly owned property (with very few exceptions).

Although all new Arizona residents should review their financial plan, talking to a financial planner is especially important for people who are moving from one of the other forty-one “common law” states. Your estate planning, property ownership, and tax strategies may need to be completely re-designed. 



Phoenix and its surrounding cities have become a national hub of the healthcare industry, meaning that retirees who need ongoing healthcare services will be able to find exceptional care in Phoenix. The city benefits from substantial investments by all players in the healthcare system, including pharmaceutical companies, biomedical research companies, research and educational laboratories, and traditional practice-oriented clinics and hospitals. 


For Phoenix-area retirees who enjoy traveling but who are not interested in making long drives, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is Arizona’s largest and busiest airport, as well as one of the busiest and largest airports in the world, making national and international travel easy for Arizonans.

Financial Advisors in Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale, northeast of Phoenix, is Arizona’s sixth-largest city, at approximately a quarter-million residents. The city is known for being a perfect retirement location, with frequent cultural events, active restaurant and nightlife scenes, and world-class golf courses. However, Scottsdale is still an excellent home for working-age residents, with the city’s major employers being in the healthcare and tourism industries. Scottsdale offers the best of all worlds to retirees and working residents.

Any move to a new state should be followed up with a visit to a financial planner with experience working in your new state of residence. Differing state laws may have major implications for your financial plan, especially if you are changing your state of legal primary residence. A Scottsdale financial planner can review your current financial plan to determine whether it is still optimally designed for your new life in Arizona.

As part of your financial plan review, your Scottsdale financial advisor should be able to share other economic factors specific to Arizona.

For example, Arizona has a statewide sales tax rate of 5.6%, with different counties and cities within the state adding their own taxes (the combined tax rate in Scottsdale is 8.05%, for instance). Depending on the city in Arizona, the combined sales tax rates can enter the low double digits, which is relatively high compared to other states and may require a budget readjustment for clients who are moving from states with lower or no sales tax. Conversely, Arizona also has relatively low property taxes, so the changes to your budget may balance itself out.

Arizona also has state income tax, which uses a tiered system just like the federal tax bracket system, with the lowest tier starting at 2.59% of taxable income and the tax rate capping out at 4.54% on earnings over about $155,000. 

Compared to neighboring California, Arizona’s upper-income tax rate is less than half California’s approximately 9% income tax rate, meaning that an Arizona resident will be able to keep more of his or her earned income.


Wealth Management Scottsdale

Scottsdale residents require unique financial planning and wealth management. If you are moving or retiring to the Scottsdale AZ area finding the right financial advisor for your needs will be important. There are many types of advisors in Scottsdale, including brokers and fee-only fiduciary advisors. Spend time interviewing established firms to ensure you will be working with a firm that understands your individual needs.

Whether you are a Scottsdale Millionaire or a Scottsdale Millionaire-in-the-making ARQ Wealth Advisors are here to help! Our fee-only wealth management firm has a 99% client retention rate. Contact us today for a free no-obligation financial review to see if your investments are on the right track.

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