Knowledge and Insights

Big Choices When Deciding Where To Retire

Big Choices When Deciding Where To Retire

About 15% of people in households with incomes of more than $100,000 move to a new destination when they retire – While the majority of baby boomers choose to stay put when they retire, a growing number are deciding on a new location to spend their golden years. There are thousands of destinations to choose from if you’re planning to retire in a new location, but how should you make the important choice? We go through a few important items to consider when looking at retirement:

Retirement in multiple stages – More and more, retirement isn’t a single stage event. It might make sense to retire to Alaska right now, but in 20 years, shoveling many feet of snow is likely out of the question. You may be fully independent now, but down the line, there may be the need to move closer to family to receive necessary assistance.

Family or freedom? – Moving close to family isn’t always at the top of many retiree’s priority lists. Many retiree’s adult children live in distant cities where retirees have no social network beyond family. Depending on the family dynamic, some might only get together on big holidays, while others living nearby ask retirees to be full-time babysitters. Some families are their own closest social network. For those families, being close by is a must. Location is likely a compromise for everyone and will take some finesse so everyone ends up in the place they need.

What does home look like? – To many, a condo within a half hour of the beach sounds like a slice of heaven. No stairs and someone else is cutting the lawn. Many locations have been building for retirees for decades, while others are just beginning. Home values vary dramatically depending on your location and some research is necessary if home price is a priority. There’s also the question of buying versus renting, and your situation and your future plans should factor in to this big decision.

Taxes – There’s no outrunning Uncle Sam, but taxes also vary widely from state to state – in some states income taxes eat away investment dividends – in others, high property taxes pay for school systems you’ll never use – some locations have low income taxes offset by high sales tax. No matter where you live, you need to do your research and talk to your accountant.

Healthcare matters – The average woman who retires at age 65 will live to 89. Healthcare varies significantly from state to state, but state data is available, so do some research. Medicare varies widely from location to location and a surprise medical bill can be the difference between easy living and penny pinching. Access to quality healthcare; doctors and specialists nearby at quality hospitals is an important consideration for those getting ready to retire. You don’t want to live hours away from a high-quality medical facility as aging retirees generally need more regular medical visits.

Despite all the decisions to be made, retirement is something to look forward to! While there are many considerations to take into account as you’re thinking about where you’d like to retire, keep in mind that it’s a negotiation. As things change in your life and the life of your family, it may also mean your plans change and alternate plans are made to take over. Most importantly; enjoy the time – get out on the green, go for a hike, start the hobby you’ve always had an interest in, or read all the books you’ve been meaning to get around to!