Seniors have plenty of options, but why not stay in Houston?
Choosing where to retire is a major decision, with a number of factors to consider. These include cost of living, climate, proximity to family and friends, and things to do in the area. For LGBTQ retirees, there are added variables such as whether the area is welcoming, or if it has inclusive nondiscrimination protections.
LGBTQ retirees have more options than in the past, as a growing number of cities have become welcoming. In addition, LGBTQ-specific retirement facilities have sprung up around the country in recent years, including one that’s being planned for Houston. Here are some of the top options for LGBTQ retirees:
Atlanta: The Deep South has not always been known for LGBTQ inclusion, but things have changed in places like Atlanta. The city also boasts expansive art and music scenes, as well as an airport that offers a slew of direct domestic and international flights daily. However, Atlanta may or may not be budget-friendly, depending on where you want to live. According to Expatistan’s cost-of-living estimates, monthly rent for a 900-square-foot apartment in Atlanta is just under $1,200, with utilities running $175 per month.
Austin: Based on a recent Gallup poll, Austin, Texas, has the third-highest percentage of LGBTQ residents in the United States. The Texas capital also boasts a mild winter climate, and is well-known for its arts and culture. Austin can also be somewhat pricey, depending on the neighborhood you choose. Here, Expatistan found the average price of a 900-square-foot apartment to be in the $1,330 per month range.
Phoenix: Also a former conservative city, Phoenix has been inching up the ladder as a destination for LGBTQ retirees. This includes the neighboring areas of Scottsdale, Tempe, and Chandler. Here you will find a warm (and dry) climate year-round, as well as numerous cultural activities and eateries. Based on these factors, as well as the availability of healthcare, affordability of housing, and quality of life, Arizona was recently named by WalletHub as one of the best states for retirees in 2018. In Phoenix, you should find the cost of living to be fairly reasonable, with an average monthly rent of $1,040 for a 900-square-foot apartment.
Tampa: If the Gulf Coast is appealing to you, then Tampa may be a good option. Florida’s climate alone has long made it a top option for retirees, and over the last few years Tampa’s LGBTQ community has grown substantially. The cost of living in also fairly reasonable, with monthly average rent on a 900-square-foot apartment in the $1,375 range (based on Expatistan figures).
Dallas: Big D has long had a thriving LGBTQ community, which is primarily centered in the Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff neighborhoods. In addition, Dallas is home to the world’s largest LGBTQ church, the Cathedral of Hope. While Dallas still has a reasonable cost of living, housing prices have been steadily inching upward in recent years.
Although putting down roots in a new city has its advantages, there is definitely something to be said about staying close to home. If you’re leaning toward remaining in the Houston area, there are a number of benefits to consider.
For instance, Space City has a more affordable cost of living than most other large metropolitan areas. Plus, if you intend to start a second career, Houston has a rapidly expanding job market—particularly in the energy, aerospace and aviation, life sciences, manufacturing, and distribution industries.
Houston will also have its first LGBTQ-specific senior living facility, a 112-unit project being planned by the Montrose Center at 2222 Cleburne.
Regardless of whether you opt to stay close to home or make new memories elsewhere, it is important that you are well-prepared financially. This includes ensuring that your income sources can cover your basic living expenses as well as travel and entertainment costs.
The best way to map out a plan is to meet with a financial advisor who not only has experience in retirement planning, but also LGBTQ issues. This way, you will feel comfortable discussing all of your current and future financial needs and goals.
This article appears in the April 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.