Many people decide to move when they retire to save money on living expenses, be closer to family, enjoy better weather, or to finally fulfill their dream of living in an exotic locale. But choosing where to live means more than deciding whether you prefer sand or trees.
In fact, many people make their biggest retirement mistakes when deciding where to live. Moving can be very expensive…especially if you decide one year in that this isn’t where you want to spend the rest of your life! One very helpful strategy, if you can manage it, is to make extended visits to your chosen location at various times of the year. This will give you a sense of what it would feel like to live there.
Here are five questions to ask yourself if you are thinking of moving after you retire:
Is this a good place to live year-round?
When you are on a two-week vacation to a certain place, you may not notice the downsides of the area. Are sufficient conveniences, services, and activities available year-round? Make sure you visit during the off-season and follow events in the community for at least six months by subscribing to the local newspaper.
What weather problems might we encounter?
People retire to Florida for the warm winters, yet the weather is one reason why one of every three people who move to Florida to retire later move away. Ask yourself: Do I want this weather all year? If the weather is temperate, will I miss the change of seasons? Can I handle high humidity or severe cold?
Am I moving here because my friends like it?
Many retirees move to communities where their friends have already relocated. Having a network of friends can be important, but be sure the new place meets your own needs and priorities in areas such as lifestyle amenities and cost of living.
Is this a tax-friendly state/country?
You can save a bundle by relocating to a state with low taxes. For example, Florida, Washington and Texas are no-income-tax retirement meccas, while Oregon doesn’t charge sales tax, and Delaware has a low property tax rate. Lower taxes can help your retirement savings go stretch farther, which is especially useful for women (since they have a longer life expectancy than men.)
Should I retire abroad?
Retiring abroad can save you big bucks and introduce you to a fascinating new culture. Before you decide to retire abroad, consider the same factors you would in evaluating locations in the U.S., including affordable cost of living, comfortable climate, good health care, and access to goods and services. You’ll also want to make sure you can handle the culture shock, including the possibility of not speaking the same language as the locals.
Whether you imagine a sunny beach, a mountain cabin, a resort community, or a motorhome on the highway for your retirement, do your homework first and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Read more about how to prepare and make the most of out your retirement with our retirement articles for women.