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Golden Years in Central Texas

When aging cowboys decide to hang up their spurs and find a place to relax during their twilight years, they often come to Central Texas. Austin and San Antonio have long been on the “favorite places to retire” map, and whether you like small-town seclusion or the company of a large group of friends and the hustle of the city, this area has something for you.

All kinds of retirees can find whatever they’re looking for in Central Texas. Those folks who carefully mind their pennies will find a lot to love here, with a low cost of living and a robust business environment. There are plenty of opportunities for second- and third-career enthusiasts, and a welcoming entrepreneurial environment for those who want to open a new business. And for those who just want to relax, there's a wealth of art, outdoor recreation, history and culture that can help you make the best of the time you take for yourself.


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The Right Place for Every Kind of Retiree

U.S. News & World Report listed Austin as one of the “Fastest-Growing Retirement Spots,” and Georgetown as one of the “10 Best Places to Reinvent Your Life in Retirement.” The area’s large military population is part of the reason that Austin and San Antonio are the 4th and 5th best places for military retirement according to USAA. Money magazine ranked Austin one of the “25 Best Places to Retire,” noting our cultural and educational opportunities as well as our affordable lifestyle. ABC News named Austin the “#1 New Retirement Hot Spot,” noting that the number of “pre-seniors” (those age 55-64) increased 110% over the last 10 years.

No matter what kind of lifestyle you prefer, Central Texas may just be the right place for you to spend the most relaxing years of your life. So what kind of retiree are you?

The Penny Pincher

With one of the most solid economies in the nation, Texas is a good place to live for all ages. But for retirees, it’s especially attractive. Median home prices tend to be lower than many other places in the U.S., and prices have been much more stable. No state income tax and comparatively low property and sales taxes keep Texas’ total tax burden in the bottom 10% of all states. Couple that with a cost of living that is 16% less than the national average in San Antonio (Austin’s is just slightly higher than the U.S. average) and unemployment rates that are more than 2% lower than the national average, and the economic picture is as sunny as summer in Central Texas.

The Second (or Third) Career Creator

If retirement sounds like more work than your old job, you may be thinking about using the golden years to redefine your career, build a new business or get a little more gold for yourself. Robust educational opportunities abound. The University of Texas offers programs in both San Antonio and Austin that range from casual to intensive, with certificate programs designed for those currently working as well as those who have more free time. Forbes included Austin and San Antonio on the list of the best cities for minority entrepreneurs, and also rated Austin as the top “boom town” in the nation in 2011. So if you find that the entrepreneurial spirit is calling, you may just want to heed it in the Hill Country.

The Culture Lover

Music is a special part of the Austin scene. The “Live Music Capital of the World” offers something for everyone, from the symphony to the acoustic guitar. Ballet Austin has been serving up slippers and swans for more than 50 years, and Austin Lyric Opera has been a strong voice for new and innovative productions for more than 25. San Antonio is home to more than 40 stages, including the magical Majestic Theatre, one of the last remaining vaudeville movie palaces, with a painstakingly restored and dramatically ornate interior, including twinkling stars and moving clouds that adorn the ceiling.

Texas history is alive and well at Austin’s Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, featuring one of the finest permanent collections and a wealth of special exhibits. Almost 300 years old, the Alamo in San Antonio is, of course, a Texas landmark, and one of the nation’s most iconic historical destinations. If art is more your thing, there are magnificent works just waiting for you at the Blanton Museum, the Austin Museum of Art and the San Antonio Museum of Art, all of which have programs to keep art lovers engaged year-round.

The Outdoorsman (and Outdoorswoman!)

Our mild climate ensures that outdoor recreation is a year-round part of the social scene. Even during the hot summer there are loads of swimming holes to cool off in (Hamilton Pool, Barton Springs Pool) and rivers to tube in (the San Marcos, Brazos and Comal rivers, just to name a few). The Highland Lakes provide plenty of boating, swimming, fishing and kayaking opportunities.

Some of the best golf courses in Texas are right around the bend. The Quarry Golf Club and Canyon Springs Golf Club in San Antonio are favorite public courses, with unusual features and challenging holes. Barton Creek Resort and Country Club and the Austin Country Club are rated as some of the most beautiful courses in all of Texas.

This is also one of the best places to hunt, with all kinds of game — from bighorn sheep and antelope to quail and pheasant — living on large ranches that dot the Hill Country landscape. They serve up accommodations from tents and campfires to leather couches in front of large stone fireplaces, so both the gentleman hunter and the rugged outdoorsman can find the right environment to suit his (or her) particular tastes.


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A Community of Friends

When the house becomes a hassle, many seniors opt to live among warm friends in the bustle of a close-knit community. There are many different options for senior living in Austin and San Antonio; these are a few of the best.

  • Querencia At Barton Creek — A resort-style community with a true Texas flavor, this Austin retirement village includes events of every description, including spa days and fitness classes.
  • Westminster Manor — Founded by a small Austin church many years ago, Westminster has become a central hub of retirement living, offering everything from one- and two-bedroom units to full-care accommodations.  
  • Summit at Westlake Hills — Situated among acres of trees and featuring expansive Hill Country views, the Summit in Austin is a luxury residence, with amenities that include housekeeping and linen service, daily cultural and fitness programs, and on-site health care.
  • Heritage at Gaines Ranch — Living at Heritage in Austin may be a little closer to living on a cruise ship than living in a retirement community: restaurant-style dining with a private dining room for special occasions, concierge services, a cafe and general store, game and billiards rooms, a craft studio, a fully-equipped exercise room, a full-service salon and a library are just part of the offering.
  • Timberhill Villa Retirement Community — Ninety-four units in four floor plans make up this San Antonio community that offers everything from a business and banking center to a travel agency and beauty salon.
  • Morningside Manor Health Care — Offering four locations (three in San Antonio and one in Boerne), this nonprofit, faith-based organization serves residents with everything from independent living to full-service care in beautiful surroundings.
  • The Towers — Perfect for military retirees, the 353 luxury high-rise condominiums of the Towers are right next to Fort Sam Houston and Brooke Army Medical Center, and just minutes away from the Riverwalk and downtown San Antonio. Even though it boasts a central location in one of the largest cities in the nation, it offers personal garden plots for horticulturalists.