There isn’t one perfect retirement destination for everyone since everyone has different priorities and ideas of what retirement really is and what it should provide. Many retirees, though, are seeking a location that offers varied and plentiful recreation, an affordable cost-of-living (although “affordable” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone), access to good medical care, cultural opportunities and a great climate.

The majority of retirees still opt for Florida, Arizona, and Texas, but others prefer non-traditional spots. In fact, these days, retirees, and those even 10 or 15 years away from retirement are considering retirement in all sorts of destinations since this new phase of life may last 30 or 40 years, much longer than for previous generations. Retirement today is the time to engage in all the activities that could never fit in your schedule before, and finding the best place to indulge in all these activities, from skiing to fishing to the theater (or even part-time work), takes careful thought and planning. The days of retirement spent in a rocking chair are long gone!

Finding the best place for your retirement is not a simple process and takes time. First, consider the kind of retirement you really want and can really afford. Do you truly desire sand and surf for the next 30 years or might that get boring? Do you want to downsize into a maintenance-free home? Would you rather rent than buy new real estate? Do you want to remain close to your family? Have you considered a foreign country where living expenses are less?

Next, make a list of everything you think you want/need (and do not want/need) in a retirement destination. Do you want to live with a mix of ages? Would you like to live in a small town or a city? Are you seeking four seasons? Do you want to live in a master-planned community or one that has a more organic feel?

Retirement Spots

United States:

Alabama | Arizona | Arkansas |  California | Colorado | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho  Indiana |Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Mississippi  Missouri Nevada | New Mexico | Michigan | New Jersey | New York 
 North Carolina | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island |South Carolina | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | Wyoming


  Canada | Ecuador | Honduras New Zealand | Portugal | Thailand

Next to do is compile a list of about ten places that meet your criteria and make them your vacation destinations for the next several years. Whenever you visit one of your choices, spend some time visiting neighborhoods, shopping in grocery stores, visiting the libraries, using the recreational facilities, checking out hospitals and any local senior centers.

This is really the only way to get an honest feeling about what may be your home for many years to come. Check into real estate at this time to ensure that when you do move, you will be able to purchase (or rent) the kind of home you desire. Or you may want to consider buying real estate before making the future move so you can lock in a price. A retirement home purchased now may become a second home before retirement and is a good way to start making social connections before making a permanent move.

RVing is also a popular way to test possible retirement spots before selecting a permanent one.

Great Spots For:

Climate | Employment | Health Care | Low Cost-of-Living | Recreation | Safety