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What criteria should you use when picking a retirement location?

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Ginger Williams
Ginger Williams
5 months ago

Ability to visit family/friends easily, healthcare, local transportation options for when I’m no longer able/willing to drive, affordable housing, and inexpensive entertainment.

For me, that means a small city in the Carolinas or northern Georgia, one with a good public library and maybe a college with a theatre program. I have friends looking for places with good public golf courses, small towns with large lots for gardening, or near major airports for easy travel.

Marilyn Lavin
Marilyn Lavin
6 months ago

I’m amazed no one has mentioned easy access to quality healthcare. The mountains, beach, golf, even low taxes are “nice to haves.” Being close to excellent medical is ultimately essential for all retirees.

mjflack
mjflack
7 months ago

I have no idea. The soon-to-be retiree needs to know that picking a retirement location is like investing in a stock: The efficient market has made finding that undiscovered jewel almost impossible. As every investor is looking for that low-risk, low-priced stock with increasing dividends and outsized returns so is every retiree looking for that low cost of living, low priced, beachfront property with great weather and low taxes.

Matt Christopher White
Matt Christopher White
7 months ago

Retirement is quite a few years away for me, so I don’t have experience making the decision, but I can say I am thankful my parents and inlaws retired close by. I think my kids’ bond with their grandparents would not be as strong if it was a long-distance relationship. All of our lives are richer because we live them together.

Last edited 7 months ago by Matt Christopher White
John Yeigh
John Yeigh
7 months ago

Proximity to family, reasonable cost including tax situation, and near activities of interest which may be urban for some and rural for others.

R Quinn
R Quinn
7 months ago
Michael1
Michael1
7 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

One thing I think many don’t think of as being “personal” is taxes. Much is made by some of the desirability of a no income tax state. However, this needs to be evaluated in personal context.

Where will your money come from? Some states may exclude a portion of earned income for seniors. Some give a break on military or public service pensions or social security, to varying degrees. Some tax investment income differently than other income.

How expensive a property will you own, and thus how much does state and local property tax matter to you? (In our current no income tax state, it would matter quite a bit.)

You can get more granular, but the above are big ones.

We currently live in a no tax state, and put a fair amount of importance on this until we did a more personal analysis. The result – we anticipate two other states high on our list would only cost us a little more in taxes to live in, and one of them we’ll likely move to.

This is true for us based on our own answers to questions like the above, not necessarily for someone else, which is part of why I’m not recommending these states, just recommending doing some personal analysis to see how taxation differences really matter for your own situation.

And of course, taxes are only a part of the equation. Lots of other important considerations in Dick’s article and elsewhere in comments.

Michael1
Michael1
7 months ago
Reply to  R Quinn

Lots of good thoughts in this article.

Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe
7 months ago

1) Family close by

2) Enjoyable (warm) climate

3) Reasonable cost of living

4) Good Mexican food!

John Goodell
John Goodell
7 months ago

I often think geographically relocating is a mistake, but people like to dream about what could be instead of what is. Why not pick just exactly where you are? The further away from friends and family – the relationships you’ve cultivated for decades – the further away you are from the things that matter most. Friendships are absolutely like fine wine.

We thought about this, and that’s why we chose Texas after years of moving all over with the military (neither my wife or I are native Texans). No income taxes, warm winters and the friendliest people.

Maybe it’ll be a case of the “best laid plans of mice and men,” but that’s our strategy for now.

Mike Zaccardi
Mike Zaccardi
7 months ago

Family, friends, outdoor activities, cost of living are all key factors. Assuming you like your family 🙂
But in all seriousness, a spot that lets you cultivate relationships should be a big factor.

Getting outside and exercising is important to staying healthy in retirement, too. I like sunshine and warm weather, so the northern tier is not on my bucket list on retirement living regions!

Of course, taxes and cost of living are big issues for some, but if you have enough, then I say just pick where you think you’ll be happy and stimulated.

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