As you approach retirement, one of the most significant, yet exciting, decisions you need to make is where and how you want to live in retirement. Many factors go into this decision process. Unless you’re lucky enough to win the lottery or come into some unexpected money, it’s important to start developing a plan early on and for couples to have conversations with their partners.
While some might look forward to relocating and starting a new adventure in retirement, others may prefer to stay right where they are today. A recent survey from Voya Financial found that Americans are just about evenly split on whether they will relocate. Half (50 percent) of those surveyed say they plan to move to a more desirable location when they retire, while almost the same amount (49 percent) are perfectly content with their current location and lifestyle.
Whether your goal is to move across the country or stay in your current community, here are a few things to keep in mind as you weigh the options.
Staying or going? When picturing your retirement years, it’s quite common – and tempting – to envision white sands and long walks on the beach. In fact, Voya’s survey found that among those who expect to move in their retirement, more than one-third (35 percent) prefer the coast. However, before packing things up for a life near the water — or wherever your dream location may be — it’s important to think about some practical items that can impact your retirement expenses.
Whether your dream is a house at the beach or in a big city, consider renting before you buy – try renting for a year or planning multiple visits to your destination. In doing so, you can experience the weather during all seasons. Visit in the off-season so you can experience hurricanes, snow, humidity or other climate changes to be sure your dream location is something you’re comfortable staying in year-round.
Also, consider your proximity to family and friends and how often you’ll want to see your loved ones during retirement. The same survey found that this is the most important factor for 38 percent of people when determining where to live in retirement. Keeping your loved ones in mind may seem obvious. But in practice, it could end up being a more costly proposition as you begin racking up airline miles to see them.
If you do end up moving away but know that staying connected will be important to you, be sure to consider the estimated travel expenses you might incur as a component of your retirement income needs. On a practical level, you may also want to find a destination that has several transportation options, such as close proximity to an airport, access to major highways and other public transportation resources. This not only helps you get to them, but it can also encourage more visitors to your new home.
Relocation may or may not be for you, just remember to do your homework. The most successful results start with a solid plan and a heavy dose of due diligence.