Q: My husband and I will be able to retire within the next two years. Our children are grown and living in other areas of the country. We have talked at great length and have decided we want to move but have no idea where we should go. What should we consider when choosing a new location?
A: Some people are content to stay right where they are once they retire. Others like yourselves are ready for a change. They realize they are no longer bound to their present location because of responsibilities to a job or schools for their children. You are wise to start this process now rather than waiting until you have actually left your employment.
There are numerous factors to consider before making a final decision. Costs, lifestyle and quality of life are all going to be important so keep these in mind. You should find a place that reflects the way you want to live and allows you the opportunity to continue with activities, sports and hobbies you enjoy. Also think about new activities you have wanted to pursue. If you have been active and involved in community events you might not be content in an isolated area which is limited in what can be offered to residents.
A town with quality health care facilities (or in close proximity) is extremely important. This may not seem like an immediate priority but odds are as you age new medical conditions may develop. Hospitals and doctors are what may first come to mind, don’t overlook the availability of in-home services for personal care, meal prep and housekeeping. Investigate transportation options in the event you are no longer capable of driving.
Even if you have been successful in financial planning you may want to find ways to live on less money. Finding a community which has a cost of living that will fit in your budget is important. Downsizing to a smaller dwelling may be in your best interest. Evaluate the tax environment. Some states don’t have personal state income taxes and other states offer favorable tax breaks on retirement income.
Climate may certainly be a consideration, not everyone is automatically headed to warmer parts of the country. For someone who looks forward to measurable snow and getting out to ski or jumping on a snowmobile the deep South might leave you suddenly feeling very homesick for your former location.
Make a list of criteria you would want to find in a new hometown. You may need to compromise slightly if one place doesn’t meet all your needs but be careful about giving up too much. It is highly advisable to spend some time in places once you have narrowed down your list. Walk around the town, observe how people interact with each other, visit the local Chamber of Commerce and talk with residents.
Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.
Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org or Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.