Have you been wondering, “Where should I retire?”
What are your ideal retirement locations? Have you investigated the best retirement places to live for you? Are you going to stay in the home you have lived in your whole life, or do you plan to move to a new community, a retirement community perhaps? Have you made a diligent retirement home search?
The place you retire is just as important as what you do during retirement, and finding the right retirement living community is crucial. When you think of it, the location we choose to retire affects most of the other aspects of retirement in some way. Let’s take a look.
Are You Attached to a Place?
If you are sentimental, you may wish to stay put, keep the memories close and stay in the home or at least the community where you raised your children. You can imagine leaving that all behind, especially the “growth chart wall” where you made a mark for each child’s yearly growth. After all, this home was long ago paid for and you won’t have the financial drain of a mortgage. You’ll not want to forget to escrow money for taxes and insurance.
What Is Your Ideal Climate?
Maybe you would like to leave a colder climate for a warmer climate or visa versa. As we age, many medical conditions begin to set in that might fare better in a different climate. These are concerns to discuss with your physician, ultimately, but moving away from the familiar can be crippling for some, so take care to be sure this is the right decision for you. Be sure you research the area you are moving to make sure the climate change is not too drastic for you. While getting away from a cold winter may sound nice, the flip side will be a much hotter summer, in most cases.
Where Is Family Located?
Maybe you’ve decided you want to move to be more centrally located to family. Or you might pick a “go to” location the children will want to visit, or a place with a major airport so you can easily travel to see them. Our society is highly mobile. Several generations ago, it was expected that when children left home they would not gravitate too far from their parents. Family units were in close proximity, including extended families, including cousins, and grandparents. Now, it is more common that children will leave home and go where the jobs are. The space created between family members can get wider and wider, especially when there are multiple children leaving home and relocating in different areas. You might find that you are on one coast, and your children are all on the other coast, or at least spread about. Many retirees decide to pick a midpoint and make their new home there to be close to as many children as possible. Again, research your location.
City vs. Country?
Maybe you’ve lived in the big city your whole life and the hustle and bustle has taken its toll. Now you are dreaming of a small, quaint community where you can relax and have everything you would ever need conveniently located within a small area rather than spread out with interstates and highways being your main thoroughfares. On the other hand, maybe you’ve been a country bumpkin, and just like the country mouse, you dream of a future in the big city. You have visited the city for different things over the years and always said that this would be an exciting place to retire. There are so many things to do to keep you active, and for many, keeping active is exactly the ticket for staying young and enjoying a long retirement.
Have you seen yourself in any one of these scenarios? Maybe you would like to be able to combine a few. No matter what your best retirement location is now or will be when you are ready to transition, here are some factors to keep in mind. Do your due diligence to be prepared and know the consequences of your choice. You may have your own criterion to add to this list for consideration.
Access to Medical Care
If you have some medical issues that you have been treating with a doctor for years, or even just months, then being in the vicinity of good medical care will be a concern and motivating factor when looking for your retirement location. You don’t want to have to drive very far to see the doctor or have access to specialists and state of the art care in a major hospital.
Access to Transportation
While it is likely that you will have a car after retiring, there may be a time that you don’t feel comfortable driving any more. Having a location accessible to public transportation may be something to consider. Beyond that, perhaps you’d like to consider being close to an international airport to give you the flexibility to jump on a plane to Europe, or some other travel spot, even within the continental United States. Being close to an airport can be a great benefit in getting to your destination quicker.
Cost of Retirement Living
This is always a concern. It is amazing to me how even within the United States a modest 1500 square foot home can range from $75,000.00 to $500,000.00 all depending on the city and/or neighborhood you choose to live. That’s just housing. Then there are taxes, insurance, licensing, food, utilities and other living expenses to consider. To keep within your means is important, and with the limited funds that you may have at your disposal after retirement, the cost of living of the area you choose to retire to may be of great importance.
Options for Retirement Jobs
Maybe you don’t want to retire completely, only from the full time job that has keep you tied down. If you are thinking that a fun, part-time job may be something you’d be interested in after retirement, you will want to make sure you have these types of opportunities near by. Perhaps you’d like to be a clerk at the mall, or work as an aide at an elementary school. Look around your neighborhood and see what opportunities may appeal to you if this is your desire.
As you can see, there are many options to consider when choosing where you are going to retire. The cost of retirement living may be the biggest factor in your decision. Some of these may resonate with you more than others, and some may not be at all important. The key is to be thinking of what are the best retirement places for you. Ask yourself: are you looking for luxury retirement living, or affordable retirement living, or retirement living in community with others? Many of the options interact and intermingle, like a maze, and it will be a good idea to focus your retirement transition by putting together the pieces of your retirement location puzzle.
Happy retirement planning! And please share your own thoughts, suggested retirement locations, factors to consider, and questions. I look forward to hearing from you and always write back.