When you dream of retirement, do you envision a picturesque home by the sea or waking up each day to a perfect mountain backdrop? Or maybe you’d love to retire in your favorite vacation spot. We all have our own scenarios in mind. Choosing where to move in retirement often involves soul searching as well as a serious discussion with your spouse or partner, family and friends about goals, priorities and emotional and financial concerns. If you’re thinking about moving after retirement, keep these 10 retirement location considerations in mind before you pick up and go.
Vacations Aren’t Real Life
You might love visiting Telluride or Orlando for vacation, but living there can be very different. The traffic, taxes and high cost of living might not make moving to your favorite vacation spot realistic. The flow of travelers to these areas, too, may disrupt the restfulness of daily life. If you can, give your ideal moving destination a trial run by renting a house for a few weeks and testing life as a local.
New Geography Can Bring New Challenges
A new place means new weather, climate and maybe even natural disasters. When you’re considering relocating for retirement, think about what you want and what you can handle given your personal health. Not only is it important to take into account dangers like hurricanes in Florida, earthquakes in California and dust storms in Arizona, but you should also decide if you want a warmer or cooler climate.
Relocating for Retirement May Mean Being Farther Away from Family and Friends
It can be exhilarating to move to another state or country. But this often means putting distance between you and your loved ones. Remember to factor the back-and-forth travel costs for you, your family and your friends into your decision. Visits with loved ones might become less frequent and more expensive.
Access to Healthcare Can Change
Easy access to reputable healthcare is crucial to a happy and healthy retirement. A remote location might not have reasonably close or high-quality care. Check your possible retirement destinations for respectable medical centers and professionals you may need. It’s also important to contact your insurance company and confirm that you can use your insurance in these locations.
The Cost of Living Isn’t the Same Everywhere
Compare the cost of living of your current city with where you wish to relocate for retirement. Determining the best states to retire in financially will depend on factors like housing prices, healthcare and everyday goods and services. And don’t just consider everyday essentials. For instance, if you plan to golf frequently, are green fees affordable? It’s also important to compare the tax differences between the cities.
A Different Housing Market Can Impact Your Bottom Line
Selling your current home and relocating to one that costs less can make financial sense. But if this requires a new long-term mortgage, you’ll want to weigh the financial impact. On top of this, think about the climate and how your new location might impact your utility and electric costs. And don’t forget about potential increases in your property taxes and insurance.
You Might Need to Change the Way You Get Around
What is your ideal community? Do you want access to public transportation? Do you mind having to drive to buy groceries and eat dinner at a restaurant, or would you prefer a bustling neighborhood where everything you could ever need is within a few blocks?
The Job Market Varies from Place to Place
If you plan to maintain some level of employment and work during retirement, take a good look at the job markets in the cities you’re considering. Look for towns with strong, diverse economies and steer clear of seasonal or resort towns, as job opportunities may tend to dry up in the offseason.
Retiring Abroad Can Be Cost-Effective
Retiring abroad might save you big bucks on both property and cost of living. But before you decide to go international, consider the same factors you would in evaluating U.S. locations for retirement viability. You’ll want to take into account things like cost of living, crime rates, healthcare and cultural differences.
Taxes Make a Difference
From a financial perspective, you might wonder which states have the lowest taxes for retirees. Seven states have no personal income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Tennessee and New Hampshire tax only interest and dividend income. Other states have different rules for taxing Social Security and pension income. Estate taxes, property taxes and sales taxes also vary by state and even by county, so keep them in mind when calculating and comparing the total tax bite for prospective destinations.