When you no longer need to live near your job, a world of possibilities opens up. Relocating can sometimes save you money if you can find more affordable housing and lower your tax bill. Residing near friends and your children and grandchildren can also play a role in your retirement happiness. And you are finally free to move to a place with better weather and the amenities that suit you best. Here are some characteristics of a great place to retire.
Housing built for aging. You will be able to maintain your independence longer if you select a home with age-friendly features. A few simple upgrades to your home, such as handles or a seat in the shower, can help to prevent injuries, but in some cases a larger move is necessary. “If you have a bedroom, bathing and toilet facilities, a kitchen and laundry on one level, that would be ideal,” says Becky Yust, a professor of housing studies at the University of Minnesota. “That one level also needs a no-step entry.”
Good public transportation. There may be a time when you need to give up driving. At that point public transportation becomes essential to maintaining your independence. A few cities have reliable train and bus services for people of all ages. Some communities also provide low-cost taxi or van services just for older people. “You should also look for places where there is access to alternative forms of transportation like Uber or Lyft, in the event that driving is difficult,” says Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, a senior research scholar and managing director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.
Nearby health care. You’re likely to use more health care services as you age. Living in close proximity to a doctor, pharmacy and major hospital can make it easier to receive medical care and comply with a treatment plan. “You’re going to want to be in a community that has decent health services, doctors for starters, and access to a hospital,” says Mildred Warner, a professor of city and regional planning at Cornell University. “You need to think about the distance you are going to have to travel to get to primary care, and then the distance you are going to have to travel to get to more advanced care.”
A good economy. A part-time job is increasingly becoming standard in the retirement years. If continuing to work is part of your retirement plan, make sure any place you are considering has a strong economy and job opportunities in your field.