You’ve spent your life working hard to get to the point where you can retire. There are many factors to consider in relation to how your next chapter should unfold. In order to get a better understanding of how to get where you’re meant to be it’s important to be organized, do your research and ask the right questions. While the details may feel daunting, it’s important to stay rooted in not only who you are but what you still plan to accomplish. It’s your time to enjoy this chapter in life.
Maybe retirement to you means relaxation, finding stillness or coming to terms with who you are and where you’ve been. It could also be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to take chances, try new things and explore unknown territories. Either way, retirement should mean the start of a new and thrilling time in your life full of possibilities that you have worked hard to experience.
4 Top Considerations When Deciding Where to Live In Retirement
Consideration #1: Finances
Being aware of what you can afford and how your finances will impact the details of your retirement is key when it comes to the location of your new home.
For some people, living in an area that offers more tax freedom is a non-negotiable detail. There are currently seven states that do not have personal state income taxes, while another twenty offer considerable tax breaks on retirement income.1
But it is important to not let "the tax tail wag the retirement dog". Taxes are a very important consideration, but many states with income taxes have very low housing costs, with minimal property taxes. Likewise, a state with no state income tax might raise their money with excessively high property or sales taxes. So you should look at all aspects of the financials of living in a particular state.
Consideration #2: Family
Over the years, we tend to develop a better understanding of how important family is and ultimately, what it means to us as individuals. If you’re someone who has a close bond with your family, that might be something that keeps you from moving farther from them during your retirement. In these years, being closer to them might just be what you’ve been waiting for. On the other hand, many families don’t have that connection to share. For them, being solo is something to embrace during this time as they truly get to know themselves and meet new people experiencing similar situations.
One thing to consider is your health status. Are you a person with health issues or think you will need long term care in the future? If so, you may want to consider living near family who can help out or advocate for you when you are ill.
Consideration #3: Location & Weather
Location, location, location! We hear it all the time as we buy or sell property and that only continues through retirement. Doing research on your potential next home should involve delving deep into the details of weather and specific location.
Does your next chapter involve blue skies year-round or is there potential for hurricanes or tropical storms? Having visited your dream location at a particular time of year doesn’t always mean it’s the same throughout all 12 months. Perhaps you rent a home for a full year in your chosen location before deciding to set down roots. A "trial period" with no large financial commitment.
Maybe this is your time to consider a life of travel in which you live in a different place from season to season - waves in the winter and mountains in the summer? Or ski slopes for the snowy season and then a lake during the hot season? It all depends on your personal desires and preferred activities and whether you have the means to support them, of course.
Consideration #4: Familiarity
One mistake that many retirees make involves planning for your life ahead based on the stage of life you’re currently in.2 You may be comfortable in your skin now at the age of 60, but who’s to say you won’t want to broaden your horizons and experiences through your 70’s and 80’s. We tend to make safe choices based on what we know and what is familiar to us.
On the other hand, you may very well be someone who isn’t interested in change and that’s perfectly fine too! Surrounding ourselves with familiar territory is a common human trait and one that many aspire to include in their lives. Whether you are ready to skydive and take new chances, perfect your golf game and spend time with your family, or a combination of these, your upcoming years should be yours to do with what you want.
Companionship is Key!
As we get older, we begin to understand just how difficult it can be to meet new people and build impactful relationships. We’ve experienced so much at this point that it can be tough connecting with just anyone. On the other hand, there is still a tremendous amount of life to experience and doing that alone can be just as difficult.
If you’ve built and kept friendships or remain close with your family members and loved ones then you are truly lucky. Alternatively, if you are less surrounded by close companions, this is your time to try something new, join a local meet-up group or consider moving to a community that provides endless opportunities to meet others.
Retirement should be an exciting chapter in your life and by preparing for the details of where you will spend this time, you will flourish for years to come.