How much will you actually spend in retirement? That depends on a lot of factors,…
After retirement, many people think longingly about pulling up stakes and moving out of state, or even out of country. Saving costs by moving to a less expensive location is certainly a factor, but a new experience, new challenges, and just a change of lifestyle and environment are also motivations. But how do you pick a retirement location? And once you’re there, how do you know you’ve made the right choice? Choosing a retirement home is a personal decision, but here are some signs a place may not be the best for you.
1. You don’t fit in with the local culture. Like countries, every state and region of the country has its own unique culture. People have different viewpoints and backgrounds in the Northeast than in the South, for example. Local customs, political outlooks, and even ways of speaking can be different as you move across the land. In foreign countries, the differences are even greater. You can get a feel for the culture by reading the local newspaper, listening to local radio shows, and talking with people in the area and listening to conversations. How easy will it be to make friends and get involved in organizations?
2. There’s inadequate healthcare available. Eventually most retirees need quality healthcare. This becomes a higher priority as we age. You will want to be able to find a physician to monitor your overall health. You will also want to be near a major medical center in case more extensive treatment is needed. Ideally, you will want to be near doctors and facilities that specialize in senior health.
3. The weather is extreme. Many places in the U.S. are regularly subject to extremes of hot and cold. Florida and Texas may be nice in February, but how about July? Likewise, you may like Wyoming in June, but will you be able to stand it in December? In this video, the editors of International Living magazine, Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher, suggest visiting a place at its worst time of year. If you like it at that time, chances are you’ll like it the rest of the year.
4. The crime rate is high. Safety and security become more important as we age. Even property crimes are a concern: you don’t want to have your home or car broken into. This comes with checking out the area. You can visit local parks, walk the streets, and watch the news. You can look at sites like crimereports.com to find crime reports in neighborhoods you’re considering. You can also view the city’s website, particularly the police department website.
5. There’s no transportation nearby. Local transportation is important as we age. If you no longer want to drive or own a car, but you still need to get to the doctor or the grocery store, is the area walkable, or are there public transportation or taxis available? Many cities provide transportation services to seniors, such as Friends in Service Helping (FISH). A senior apartment complex in the suburbs may look appealing, but without a way to get around, you’ll be stranded. Also, if you want to travel in retirement, you’ll want to be near a major airport or train station, with a convenient way to get there.
6. There are no opportunities nearby to do what you want. If you want to work part-time in retirement, are there job opportunities? If you want to volunteer, are there charitable organizations? Before choosing a new home you will want to have a plan for your retired life, so you can make sure the location suits your plans.
7. It’s hard to go back and see family or friends. If you want to regularly visit your kids, other relatives, or old friends, how easy is it to get there? This particularly applies if you’re moving abroad. If you want or need to return to the U.S., particularly on short notice, how easy is it to do?