Relocation tips for retirement is an important topic for those looking to move to a new area upon retiring. Selecting the right location can help maximize your retirement nest egg and quality of life. Here are some useful tips to consider when relocating for retirement:
Research potential destinations thoroughly
- Make a list of possible locations based on your needs and preferences like climate, cost of living, proximity to family etc.
- Narrow down the list by researching each area extensively online and via visits.
- Key factors to research per location:
- Cost of living – compare housing, food, utilities, healthcare. Use cost of living calculators online.
- Tax structure – compare state, city, property taxes. These vary greatly.
- Healthcare – research hospitals, insurance costs, Medicare coverage.
- Housing – research types, availability and costs. Rental vs buying.
- Transport – assess public transport options if you don’t drive.
- Climate – understand weather patterns and risks e.g. natural disasters.
- Amenities – check availability of amenities important to you e.g. airports, cultural attractions etc.
Compare finances needed in each location
- Make a retirement budget based on expected living costs in each destination.
- Factor in costs like housing, transport, healthcare, entertainment, travel.
- Be realistic about the lifestyle you can afford in each place. Seek professional advice if needed.
- Ensure you have the finances to support the move and retirement in your chosen location.
Spend time in the new location
- Visit the shortlisted destinations multiple times and at different times of the year.
- Rent temporarily in your chosen area to experience living there before committing.
- Build connections in the new community before moving permanently.
- Get a feel for the lifestyle, culture and pace of the area.
- Determine if the area suits your personality and interests.
Downsize and organize finances/documents
- Downsize belongings before moving to reduce relocation costs and storage needs.
- Discuss pension/retirement accounts – transfer or set up direct deposits in new location.
- Consolidate and organize financial statements, insurance policies, medical records, estate planning documents, etc to bring.
- Set up new local bank account, arrange mail forwarding, update IDs/records with new address.
Evaluate pros and cons of renting vs buying
- More flexibility to change locations if needed.
- Lower upfront costs and commitment.
- Potentially less maintenance responsibilities.
- Ability to customize and renovate home.
- Potential for property value appreciation over time.
- Stability of living in owned home.
- Building home equity.
- Tax deductions on mortgage interest/property tax (if applicable)
Choose the right neighborhood/housing
- Research different neighborhoods and housing options in your chosen area.
- Look for an accessible home if you have mobility needs.
- Opt for lower maintenance options like single-story, newer build, minimal outdoor space.
- Ensure proximity to amenities, health facilities, public transport, family etc.
- Consider a retirement community for built-in social network.
- Buy or rent initially to test the area before committing long-term.
Make efforts to integrate into the community
- Learn about community events, classes, volunteer opportunities.
- Join local clubs, organizations aligned with your hobbies or causes.
- Take classes to connect with people with similar interests.
- Introduce yourself to neighbors.
- Find a church, temple or other religious community if desired.
- Ask real estate agents for tips about welcoming community groups.
Don’t rush major home renovations
- Live in the home for a while before doing major renovations. Understand how you use the space.
- Focus initially on paint, furniture, window treatments to customize aesthetically.
- Evaluate if floorplan changes are needed for accessibility or lifestyle.
- Research contractors thoroughly and get references.
- Get professional advice on home updates that will maximize resale value.
Monitor health and wellness in new setting
- Establish care with new healthcare providers for regular checkups.
- Be vigilant about changes in physical or mental health during transition period.
- Connect with counselors, coaches, support groups about the emotional aspects.
- Maintain diet, exercise routine, sleep schedule during and after move.
- Make social connections and sample new wellness/leisure activities.
- Get proper treatment for any medical conditions to prevent complications.
Stay connected with existing community
- Notify all necessary parties – financial institutions, subscription services etc about change in address.
- Sign-up for online communities, alumni groups from your former area.
- Schedule regular phone/video calls with family and friends.
- Travel back for important events and holidays occasionally.
- Host visitors in your new home.
- Share photos and updates about your new community via social media.
Consider trial period before permanent move
- Spend a season or year in the potential destination on a trial basis.
- Rent a furnished home to experience the area thoroughly.
- Travel back to previous home periodically to ease transition.
- Delay major financial/legal changes until trial period is done.
- Make pro/con list and final decision about permanent relocation afterwards.
Relocating for retirement is a major life transition. Being strategic and thorough when choosing the destination can help optimize your satisfaction and enjoyment during your golden years. Do in-depth research, reflect on your finances and needs, evaluate all options and get objective input before deciding. This will set you up for happiness in your new home and community.
- AARP. “How to Choose the Best Place to Live in Retirement.” AARP, https://www.aarp.org/retirement/planning-for-retirement/info-2018/choose-best-place-to-retire.html. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.
- Day, Frances. “The Essential Steps to Downsize for Retirement.” U.S News & World Report, https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/baby-boomers/articles/downsizing-essentials-for-retirement. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.
- Farrell, Chris. “How to Choose Where to Retire.” Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/021616/how-choose-where-retire.asp. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.
- Freedman, Marc. “Retiring Abroad: What You Need to Know.” AARP, https://www.aarp.org/retirement/planning-for-retirement/info-2018/retiring-abroad-fd.html. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.
5.2023. Luscombe, Richard. “How to Plan Ahead for Retirement Relocation.” The Balance, https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-plan-ahead-for-retirement-relocation-2388771. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.