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Where To Retire: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

November 20, 2017
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Retirement is upon you – you’ve been stashing your cash since young adulthood, making wise investments to grow your retirement income, and creating a budget for the Grand 20+ Year Vacation so you can enjoy your Golden Years free from financial worries.  


But have you decided where you’re going to live once you retire? There are many retirees who decided to stay put, but quickly found their now-finite resources could not accommodate the cost of living. Moving elsewhere might secure your financial future as there are certain states (and countries, if you’re willing) that are far friendlier to the senior citizen’s wallet.


Need help deciding if you should stay put or retire elsewhere? Here are 10 factors to consider when looking for your retirement paradise:


  1. Cost of living. Cost of living expenses include the cost of necessities, such as housing, food, gas, and healthcare. To see how far your current income would take you in another city, you can use a cost of living calculator.


  1. Taxes. Tax codes vary widely from state to state – and city. Types of taxes to consider include property, income, sales, and investment and dividend taxes. Most states will generally compensate for the lack of one tax by levying higher taxes in other areas. However, a retiree who wants to rent, for example, need not worry about high property taxes.


  1. Employment opportunities. Some retirees choose to take on part-time employment to stay active or offset living expenses. Even if you think you want to stay out of the workforce, your circumstances may require you to take on a job. Before choosing your final location, research states’ unemployment rates and popular industries.


  1. Financial stability. Uprooting yourself from a familiar place can leave you in a precarious situation. You should make sure all your finances are in order and your savings are sufficient so you can comfortably confront the unexpected.


  1. Access to family and friends. As we age, we tend to lose friends, whether from lack of interest or a degree of social anxiety. Do you make friends easily? Will family be close by? Loneliness can kill, literally, so make sure wherever you live you’ll have a strong social network.  


  1. Community support. As we age our needs change – we may become more reliant on our community for help. Luckily, communities that cater to the 55 and older crowd are becoming more popular.  


  1. Access to healthcare. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid the deterioration of age. Arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and dementia are all among the top ten most common conditions for senior citizens. Access to the best medical care possible can be the difference between an active, fulfilling retirement and one that is spent in a hospital bed.


  1. Safety. Crime rates are on the decline across the board; however, senior citizens remain one of the more vulnerable populations. Here’s something to consider: crimes against the elderly are lower in the suburbs than they are in urban areas.


  1. Weather. Are you up to living in snowy areas? Or would you prefer more temperate regions? Warm, dry climates, for instance, may be better for those suffering from arthritis, helping to reduce pain levels and inflammation.


  1. Convenience of shopping and recreation. You probably didn’t retire just so you could wither away on some faraway vine tending only to life’s practicalities. In retirement, it is just as important to determine whether there will be enough entertainment to keep your mind fresh and boredom at bay.


These ten factors are a good place to start when you’re trying to figure out the best place to live in retirement. However, if you need some extra help planning for your Golden Years, contact the Retirement Income Specialists. We offer the full package of retirement planning, from Social Security maximization to estate and legacy planning.