The Best Places to Retire

The Best Places to Retire

As baby boomers increasingly retire, they will change the face of retirement, and this includes finding the best place to retire. Not too long ago, most people retired where they had always lived. Many people still do this, but the baby boomer generation is the most prosperous in U.S. history and so has choices about where to retire. And since retirement can easily last 30 to 40 years these days, it is important to find the best place to retire since you may be there awhile.

What are the most important things to consider when thinking about making a retirement relocation? For many people, the list includes:

1)  Climate. Now is the time to find a place that fits your maturing body and spirit. The majority of retirees prefer a warmer climate as they age, often leading them to destinations such as traditional favorites Florida and Arizona. But other warmer-weather states are appealing, too, including New Mexico, the Carolinas, Texas and the Gulf Coast states. For retirees who prefer cooler weather, Oregon, Colorado and Utah are growing in popularity. With so  many baby boomers retiring, it is possible to find newly relocated retirees in nearly every state.

2)  Housing costs and overall cost of living. While climate often tops the list when searching for the best place to retire, cost of living and housing costs are often also at the top. Most retirees have less income than they once did, and finding an affordable place to live becomes even more important. If you planned ahead, you may not have a mortgage during retirement. In that case, you may want to sell your house, bank the proceeds and then rent in the town in which you currently reside. Or maybe you want to sell your home and then downsize in your current location. If, though, you still have a mortgage, it may be prudent to sell and then buy a home in a less expensive area of the country. Overall, these are in the South and the Mid-West.

3)  Access to good medical facilities. This becomes more important as we age and is usually at the top of the list when considering the best place to retire. Large cities usually have good medical facilities, but most retirees prefer smaller towns. College towns often have good medical facilities as do large city suburbs.

4)  Recreation. This is always important when looking for the best places to retire.  Recreation may mean, however, different things to different people. Do you want to have easy access to lake or ocean recreation? Or maybe live within dozens of golf courses? Or perhaps your idea of recreation is the opportunity to attend the theater or visit museums often? Or perhaps you plan to travel a lot and need to be close to an international airport? Whatever your idea of recreation, ensure that your new retirement spot has what you need.

A few other things to look into when looking for the best place to retire. These are all contributors to a place’s quality of life.

  • The crime rate
  • The air quality
  • The senior services and programs
  • The elevation
  • The public transportation
  • The public library
  • The local college (is there one?)
  • The political climate (conservative vs liberal)
  • Broadband and high speed internet availability
  • Percentage of population age 55+

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