A Guide to Deciding Where to Live in Retirement
If you’re considering a relocation, deciding where to live in retirement can seem overwhelming. How do you know where to go? The city? Head to the country? The burbs? A small town? How much can you afford? When should you make the big move? To assist you with the decision, we’ve compiled a list of important considerations before relocating:
Location, Location, Location
The first, and potentially obvious question involves whether or not relocation is right for you in the first place. If you decide that a move is right for you, how do you determine an ideal location? Would you prefer to sell your car and live in the city? Or maybe the peace and quiet of the country is a bit more your speed. Make yourself a list of the most important factors that your desired retirement location would need to have before you start searching. The eRetirements Self Assessment is a great tool to get your started.
Affordability/Cost of Living
At the end of the day, you’ll need to be able to afford your living expenses, and hopefully have some disposable income on top of that. Although it might be wonderful to move to the Florida Keys, the US Virgin Islands, or San Francisco, you’ll need to be reasonable when deciding where you can live. We have cost of living information on each top retirement city on our site to assist with your research.
Property Taxes & Mortgage Payments
Don’t forget to calculate how much property taxes would cost if you are a buying a new or used home for retirement. Kiplinger.com warns about taking on more than you can afford. Downsizing can sometimes cost as much if not more as maintaining your current residence, depending on where you're moving. Think about if you can afford a new mortgage on a fixed income, and identify any potential financial burdens before you commit!
Population and Local Amenities
Take into account the general age and diversity of the population that lives in the location you are contemplating. Maybe you’d prefer to live in and around young people and families, but maybe you’d prefer a retirement community. What’s the atmosphere you’re looking for? Find out what resources are available to residences in your desired location. Try visiting your potential retirement site more than once in person before you relocate to get a feel for the area. How close would you be to the grocery store? The hospital? The closest city center? Spending a few "mock retirement days" in your potential new area can be a helpful tool.
Access to Health Care
Oftentimes, part of retirement is accepting the fact that eventually you'll need to be close to health care services. According to US News, health care is one of the most important factors when considering relocation in retirement. If your future home or apartment is far from the closest hospital or doctor in your insurance network, it might be time to reevaluate.
What’s next? Hopefully, we’ve helped you to get started on asking yourself important questions about how to identify where you want to be in retirement. Although it will always be your decision where you want to live, proper planning will increase the odds that you find a future home that you love. We hope the tools we provided for you will be helpful!