When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

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JeanneForever
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When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by JeanneForever »

When and how do you decide on a retirement location and lifestyle if it's at least 12-15+ years away? We have no idea where the kids will end up, don't know how our health will be, don't even know what kind of place we'd like to live. It's hard to budget for something without a clear plan. Does whether or not you have a lifestyle plan really make a difference?

Has anyone planned for something and ended up somewhere completely different? We know a number of couples who moved away and then one of them died within a year or 2. At least one moved away and didn't like it and moved back.

Do you simply assume you will live somewhere no more expensive than our current house to make a rough budget and figure out details in a decade+?
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

I assume I’ll live where I am. It’s a hcol, so that hopefully sets a high bar on the Xpenses.
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Garco
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Garco »

I retired in 2014, after a long career as a college professor. I had accumulated a good retirement account. I had no debt. My kids had left our household and were doing well in their careers (also they were financially independent).

To answer your double headed question. 1) We chose a location that was near to where we had lived and worked for more than 30 years; we had friends here; we knew the territory. We could still visit our kids for holidays and vacation periods. 2) Our lifestyle at this age wasn't about to change much whether we moved or stayed close to home. We had plenty of money accumulated in 401K and IRA accounts (>>$2 MM). We owned our property outright and had no other debt. Add Social Security and we have more financial resources than we need, even after relocating to a new residence that is about 1 hr by car from where we had lived the previous 35 years.

As for lifestyle, we still take long-distance vacations, though our travel has been reduced a lot during the COVID era.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Johm221122 »

For years I planned on retiring to Mexico and it would have been about the same as I spent at the time . Read all kinds of books about it and it really seemed like something I would have enjoyed. I don't exactly know why that has lost appeal, maybe because of TV news but I got in a relationship and that dream went away because I thought I was with the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

After that relationship ended I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do in retirement. It seems like moving to Las Vegas Nevada is perfect for me. I always enjoyed walking the strip in the morning. I also currently work in a hotel and those gigantic Vegas hotels interest me. Ialso have other interests to do in retirement like exercise, reading, watching old movies and listening to whole Rock albums.
This plan was formed in the last year, hopefully 10 years or less until I have the money I need. But this dream will cost about twice my current budget
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by AerialWombat »

I purposefully chose the area I retired to. I had not lived here before, but had briefly lived an hour away — twice, in different directions. My primary consideration was the weather, second was the overall tax burden, third was access to both mountains and waterways.

I came here and rented an Airbnb for a month while looking for a house. I ended up further into the hinterland than I anticipated, in a gorgeous MCOL area with far more days of sun each year than I wanted, but it turned out perfect. Written from my hot tub overlooking the water. :beer
This post is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real financial advice is purely coincidental.
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cchrissyy
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by cchrissyy »

i might be a similar stage to you, as far as years ot retirement and having kids leaving the nest but not themselves being close to settled to where it would make any sense planning around their locations.

my retirement town and housing are obvious because i am already in them. my plans, expenses, travel, etc will be based from here and fluctuate depending on my future wishes and health, which nobody can really know in advance.

i am happily single for the long term. i am related to a couple like you described, who moved "away" and one of them died very soon after. the only good news for the survivor is that "away" was to be near her child/grandchildren. i suppose those are the basic options. stay where you are. move near family. if neither option sounds good, i suppose i'd put the effort in to travel around the retirement hotspots where you can find friends, hobbies, and supportive care.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by doobiedoo »

Before I retired, every time we went on vacation, I would ask myself: "Would I like to retire here?" (instead of southern CA).
The only place I could say yes to was San Diego. And then only for about 15 years. [By 2000 San Diego was just as expensive as southern CA.]

Vancouver: August was gorgeous! But spent a week there in March and never saw the sun. It was depressing.
Hawaii: Gorgeous in the winter. Hot and humid in the summer. Expensive.
Seattle: Rain, rain, rain during the spring.
Charleston: Muggy. Ugh!
North Carolina: My allergies were terrible in the spring. (Thought I was sick.)
Boston: Snow and cold.
Chicago: Colder and windy-er!
Central Florida: Too hot.
Las Vegas: Hotter!
Arizona: Ditto!

I've been retired 12 years and I'm still in southern CA.
I basically live the same lifestyle as before [retirement].
vested1
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by vested1 »

We started looking about 10 years before retirement. We would take extended vacations to areas we thought we'd like to move to and prepared by printing out real estate flyers from Zillow and other real estate sites, taking them with us and attending open houses or making appointments with the assigned agent. At various times we were convinced we would be moving to Oregon, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, or Nevada. We always took our kayaks and fishing gear because we both enjoyed that active outdoor lifestyle.

Then one of our granddaughters moved to South Carolina, taking her husband and our great granddaughter with her. Her mother (our daughter) and another granddaughter soon followed. Two of our other daughters and granddaughters remained in California in close proximity to us. Half of our family's move to SC prompted me to start looking there for real estate, and I was shocked at what you could get for what seemed to be a misprint. If we sold our 50 year old house in California during retirement we wouldn't be able to upgrade if we stayed in the state unless we got another mortgage, so we moved to SC after visiting several times and looking at dozens of houses.

It's tough having kids and grandkids on opposite coasts, but the improvement in lifestyle here has been significant. We moved 4 years ago. The house we bought here in SC would be a multi-million dollar home in the same setting in California. We miss California for it's diversity, culture, and beauty, but we refused to be consigned to what we considered to be a substandard home for the rest of our lives. We made enough on the sale of our home there to enable us to buy for cash here with six figures left over, now living in a fabulous four year old lakefront home.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect was moving to a completely different location, which proved to us that we still have a bit of adventure left in us, despite being in our early 70's. People are basically the same everywhere, regardless of the assumptions we all tend to make. It's nice to have some of those old myths proven to be inaccurate.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by MikeG62 »

JeanneForever wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 9:06 pm When and how do you decide on a retirement location and lifestyle if it's at least 12-15+ years away? We have no idea where the kids will end up, don't know how our health will be, don't even know what kind of place we'd like to live. It's hard to budget for something without a clear plan. Does whether or not you have a lifestyle plan really make a difference?

Has anyone planned for something and ended up somewhere completely different? We know a number of couples who moved away and then one of them died within a year or 2. At least one moved away and didn't like it and moved back.

Do you simply assume you will live somewhere no more expensive than our current house to make a rough budget and figure out details in a decade+?
Retired 7 years ago. Our plan was to remain living in the area where we then lived (whether in the same home or a different home). Our two daughters were living with us at the time and their plans were to remain in this area once they moved out and were established in their careers.

Fast forward 7 years and we remain in the same area (NJ). Both daughters are established in their careers (one married) with SO's also established in careers in this area. We are in contract to sell our home and will be moving to a 55+ community. It is but only a few miles from where we have lived for the last 21 years.

We were never in the camp of retiring to a lower cost of living area.. I worked long enough (built a large enough nest egg) to reasonably ensure that would never be necessary. FWIW, my parents retired to a low cost of living area 2,500 miles away and it affected their relationship with our daughters (their grandchildren). If we have any control over that, we will not allow that to happen to us. Visits for one week at a time are no substitute for living within a reasonable drive of your children and grandchildren IMHO.

By the way, we know a number of couples who retired and moved away from this area. Some have concluded the new location was not what they thought it would be. Some have subsequently moved again - a few even back to where they lived previously.

Not sure it that helps, but that is our story and I am sticking with it :-)

Good luck.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed an off-topic discussion regarding political aspects of where to live. See: Politics and Religion
In order to avoid the inevitable frictions that arise from these topics, political or religious posts and comments are prohibited. The only exceptions to this rule are:
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  • Usage of factual and non-derogatory political labels when necessary to the discussion at hand.
  • Discussions about enacted laws or regulations that affect the individual investor. Note that discussions of proposed legislation are prohibited.
  • Proposed regulations that are directly related to investing may be discussed if and when they are published for public comments.
This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (where to live).
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by tennisplyr »

When we retired, we snowbirded a few winters to get away from the NY cold. All of a sudden we felt it was time to move to a warmer/less expensive area...we sold our NY place and moved to FL..that was 6 years ago. While its not perfect, I think we're enjoying it more than staying in NY. The future...who knows, we're trying to remain flexible and enjoy what we have.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

As long as you live below your means a invest wisely, you should be fine with determining a retirement location and lifestyle much closer to the time where you’re able to actually retire.

Our home we’ve lived in for 15 years has an approximate value that at would allow us to make a lateral move into a similar home in any area we’ve visited that we liked enough to perhaps relocate in retirement. We’re lucky to work and live in a highly desirable resort town, which is where most retirees want to relocate too so perhaps that puts us in a unique situation.

The lifestyle part of the retirement equation is trickier. I don’t think most people are precisely sure what they’re retirement lifestyle will be until they’ve been at it a few years. That’s understandable since many people have had significant lifestyle changes pre-retirement.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by iim7V7IM7 »

After we turned age 60 (we are now age 62) we began to more seriously ponder where we might want to retire. We have used a variety of online resources to try to understand aspects of different regions. We tried to understand the weather, infrastructure, healthcare, ease of travel, cost of living etc. Trying to align on what was important to each of us was important here. Also considering line of site beyond our active years.

We identified some potential areas and since then we have taken three one week vacations to explore some of these areas first hand which was invaluable. As a result, we have eliminated some that we thought we might like and focused in on more specific areas within some that we had identified. I think that we will continue to explore a few more areas still. As we near retirement, I think we will stay in some of these areas for a more extended period of time in an Air BnB or something to get an even richer perspective before making the jump.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by rich126 »

I thought I had everything planned well where I would have a paid off home out west by mid 50s, retire around 60 with health insurance from the government but then things change. I ended up coming back east due to my father's health declining and unfortunately he passed away sooner than I expected so I'm very glad I returned when I did but I ended up selling my house out west and am currently homeless, living in an apartment while figuring out where to buy a house.

I've seen some people who have to be close to their kids/grandkids and others go the opposite way where they want some separation and want to enjoy their retirement and not be baby sitters. I've seen people retire to a lower COL, only to return because they missed family.

Right now I think we are likely to retire in AZ due to a lot of family and friends out there. My views living there have changed over the last 5 years due to a variety of reasons including higher housing costs, water issues, increased population, etc. but I have not found a great alternative. In some ways I'd rather retire somewhere more quiet and away from people but as you get older most of us need access to quality medical facilities and I'd rather stay within 1 hr of a major airport.

I think it is just what makes you happy and what you can afford. Usually it is always easier to move out of HCOL than into HCOL since housing is often the killer cost. Also starting over in a new city/state can be tough since you know no one and have to start all over again. For outgoing people that may be ok but for many quieter types that can be difficult and as you get older you will need help at times.

If I could, I would strongly consider living somewhere in Europe for a year or two but as I get older, my interests in flying diminishes.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by investingdad »

I’m turning 50 this summer. I’m pegging retirement at 54 or 55.

If you’d asked me this ten years ago I would have said gulf coast side of Florida in a nice golf community.

Now that our oldest is off to college this August I’m wondering if we’ll relocate to where our kids eventually settle. I enjoy cool Autumns and some snow in the northeast, but after the Holidays I want to hit the warmth.

I think when we retire we’ll snowbird with cruises mixed in, better to rent the luxury vacation home than buy it. My in-laws would do a similar thing from Jan to Mar and I think it works.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Scubadude »

investingdad wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 7:32 am I’m turning 50 this summer. I’m pegging retirement at 54 or 55.

If you’d asked me this ten years ago I would have said gulf coast side of Florida in a nice golf community.

Now that our oldest is off to college this August I’m wondering if we’ll relocate to where our kids eventually settle. I enjoy cool Autumns and some snow in the northeast, but after the Holidays I want to hit the warmth.

I think when we retire we’ll snowbird with cruises mixed in, better to rent the luxury vacation home than buy it. My in-laws would do a similar thing from Jan to Mar and I think it works.
Being able to afford to live close to adult children is one of the many reasons to be a boggle. Assisting the next generation get launched and supporting them is the ultimate win. We seen many - many people move to such a such retirement destination only to return to where family is.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Steven28 »

OP -
Deciding where to retire is difficult so far into the future, but be assured the answer will become apparent as you get closer to retirement since many of the unknowns you point out will become ' knowns'. What you can do is periodically vacation in different places to get an idea of what those areas are all about. I think the default assumption is to stay where you are - unless you really hate the weather, location, etc.

In our case we stayed in NJ and moved to a retirement community about 90 minutes from where we had lived. We still visit with our long time friends and have made new friends. My wife and I had strongly considered moving to PA, where our income tax would be much lower, although property taxes in Yardley, PA (for example) were not much different than in Northern NJ. Yardley was not overly distant for us to visit our kids in Manhattan and in Northern NJ. I also looked at Delaware as a possibility and compared the income tax burden across all 3 states using TurboTax, making some reasonable approximations for income, 401k withdrawals, taxes etc. At the end of the day, even though I could save a good chunk of money by moving to PA, we realized with traffic it would take 2 hours + to get to Manhattan, and at least the same amount of time for my son to travel by train to visit us. So we would not get to see our kids as often as we preferred if we moved to PA. Which is more important - proximity to kids (and potential future grandkids) or saving money? A difficult decision, and one that cannot be solved with a calculator. Fortunately we had the resources to stay in NJ - and within an relatively easy driving distance to our now extended family. This might not be the right decision for others, but for us it was.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by snackdog »

The most successful retirement moves I have seen we’re back to a familiar home town or college location. Moving to a random location, even with kids nearby, often doesn’t work out long term.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by stan1 »

There is no one size fits all answer. You have to decide what is important to you.
- Familiarity of place (where you live now, where you grew up)
- Proximity to decades old friends
- Proximity to children and grand children where you are involved in their lives and they are involved in your lives
- Weather (too hot, too cold, too wet, too humid)
- Proximity to similarly situated adults (e.g. 55+ community)
- Stress of natural disasters (e.g. hurricane and fires)

And maybe your preferences and needs will change over time. What works at 65 may not be what you want or need at 90. There doesn't need to be one irreversible final decision unless you force that.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by kleiner »

I retired a few years ago and my wife will likely retire in a couple of years. We are staying put here in NJ in the same house where we have lived over twenty five years. We have renovated our house over the years and have fixed it up to our liking. We are close enough to New York City that I can see the tops of skyscrapers and yet our neighborhood is quiet. We enjoy going into Manhattan frequently to try out new restaurants. Newark airport is just 20 minutes away - also an important consideration.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by investingdad »

kleiner wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:08 am I retired a few years ago and my wife will likely retire in a couple of years. We are staying put here in NJ in the same house where we have lived over twenty five years. We have renovated our house over the years and have fixed it up to our liking. We are close enough to New York City that I can see the tops of skyscrapers and yet our neighborhood is quiet. We enjoy going into Manhattan frequently to try out new restaurants. Newark airport is just 20 minutes away - also an important consideration.
I suspect we may do the same. We built our home in 2010 with two little kids in mind, so it will be strange for me as the first goes off to college.

That said, it’s a nice neighborhood and I do like it here. We have 13 years left on a 15 year refi at 1.875% so no hurry to pay that off…knocked five years off plus all the savings.

Some people I work with retire and immediately relocate. I think we’ll see what happens for a few years first.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by 8301 »

snackdog wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:00 am The most successful retirement moves I have seen we’re back to a familiar home town or college location. Moving to a random location, even with kids nearby, often doesn’t work out long term.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by FrugalInvestor »

We retired. Then we looked around at different locations and tried a couple of our favorites out (rentals). Then we moved to our favorite place and have now been there for a number of years. We like it here and have made many close friends.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Johm221122 »

snackdog wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:00 am The most successful retirement moves I have seen we’re back to a familiar home town or college location. Moving to a random location, even with kids nearby, often doesn’t work out long term.
I'm not sure how accurate this is. Don't a lot of people retire to Florida,the south in general and overseas? Of course I don't think most people randomly pick a place.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

We have never entertained the idea of living anywhere else for retirement. Travel was hoped for, but not very feasible for me. DW is much a homebody, so I'm glad I'm not holding her up from travel. In fact daughters have been good about dragging her out of the house, next month she will be with a DD'S family on a short cruise to the Bahamas. Another daughter took her to Europe a few years ago.

Once the grandchildren started making their appearances, all bets for relocation would have been off, anyway. DW and I had the grandchildren during the day from the time their mothers returned to work until they were ready for preschool. We are very close to them, and they spend weeks with us during the summers, not to mention weekend sleepovers.

Selfishly I am hoping the grandchildren stick around these parts as well. One nice thing about the Tampa Bay area is that opportunities are available for each generation. DW and I moved to the Tampa Bay area because our little city on Florida's east coast (Vero Beach) offered little access to college other than a community college, and little in the way of good jobs. Tampa offered us both.

IF I were a single man, I would be happy to be retired living in a small cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Starbase »

I can’t imagine moving at 65 and trying to make new friends from scratch and not being close to friends I made throughout my working years. It actually makes me a little bit terrified.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by desiderium »

JeanneForever wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 9:06 pm When and how do you decide on a retirement location and lifestyle if it's at least 12-15+ years away? We have no idea where the kids will end up, don't know how our health will be, don't even know what kind of place we'd like to live. It's hard to budget for something without a clear plan. Does whether or not you have a lifestyle plan really make a difference?

Has anyone planned for something and ended up somewhere completely different? We know a number of couples who moved away and then one of them died within a year or 2. At least one moved away and didn't like it and moved back.

Do you simply assume you will live somewhere no more expensive than our current house to make a rough budget and figure out details in a decade+?
Some people have a retirement dream they hold dear, but IMO it is unrealistic to know the people you will be in 10-15 years or what your priorities will be. No harm in exploring and thinking about this, but adults continue to grow and change, so retirement goals may look different than you imagine now. One implication for budgeting is what you see doing with your current home when you retire: do you wish to stay put? move away from an expensive urban area? downsize, cutting costs? Harvest some of the equity?
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

Johm221122 wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:28 am
snackdog wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:00 am The most successful retirement moves I have seen we’re back to a familiar home town or college location. Moving to a random location, even with kids nearby, often doesn’t work out long term.
I'm not sure how accurate this is. Don't a lot of people retire to Florida,the south in general and overseas? Of course I don't think most people randomly pick a place.
Im sure there are a lot of people who move from the Midwest to Florida or Arizona for their slo-go years and then move back to enjoy the winters in their no-go years. Who could blame them?
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Watty »

When and how do you decide on a retirement location and lifestyle if it's at least 12-15+ years away?
One caution I would suggest to take seriously is to plan on retiring some place where you have get good healthcare.

I know someone who built a retirement home on the Oregon Coast near a small town which had primary care doctors and even a tiny hospital for emergencies. One of them had something like a routine knee problem with meant that they needed to drive a couple of hours inland to see a specialist then return multiple times for things like MRIs, outpatient surgery, and follow up visits. This involved several overnight stays in hotels and driving across a small mountain range when the weather was not ideal.

They realized that this would not work as they aged so they sold the house they had built and moved somewhere that had better medical care available.

One of the keys is to try to budget so that you will have some extra money so that you have more options and will be able to retire earlier than expected if you want or need to.

Your investment returns are also an unpredictable factor. I got lucky and retired a bit earlier than planned in 2015 because my investments were doing well in the recovery after the 2008 financial crisis. Even with the recent dip my investments are doing better since 2015 than we could have hoped for. I just as easily could have retired at the beginning of a long bear market. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than smart.

While you can research your options there is no way that you can really know for sure what you will end up doing. In my late 40s I relocated for a job to a city that we did not have any ties to so out plan was that we would live there until I retired. We were even working on a list of possible places to retire to. By the time I retired my son was grown up and married and had kids(our grandkids) and lived about ten minutes away so we frequently get to see the grandkids. We had sort of assumed that after college that he might move away. With him and the grandkids living nearby plan to move changed and we are staying here. It is working out well for us but it is not what we had planned. We will likely move to a nearby over 55 retirement community or some other nearby retirement home at some point.

I don't know what the statistics are but I suspect that most people stay near where they are at when they retire and the stereotype "retire and move to Florida, Arizona, or South Carolina" trope is more the exception than the rule.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by THY4373 »

My observation is that making specific plans beyond about five years or so is a fool's errand. I mean I know I may need a CCRC in 20 or so years so I follow the threads on those but I am not doing any particular hard planning on that at this point. I plan to retire in 5 or less years. 10 years ago (15 years +/- from my retirement date) I was married and assumed I would remain so but I I got divorced four years later. My job is largely location agnostic (within the US) and so after divorce I started thinking about buying a place out west before I retired and moving there with the plan to retire in the place I bought. But then COVID hit and there was something of an exodus from HCOL locations on the west coast to the mountain and desert states knocking up real estate prices considerably. I could have easily moved still but the relative costs made it make less sense. So late last year I fired on a place in my current MCOL area in the mid-Atlantic. It is near to friends and not too far from my aging parents who will likely need me more in the coming decade.

At 10+ years out from a location standpoint I think I'd be visiting locations and testing them out but I probably wouldn't be firing on an option until I was much closer to retirement.
Valuethinker
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Valuethinker »

https://granta.com/fire-and-ice-debra-gwartney/

An exceptional piece, in part about where to live in retirement, by the wife of Barry Lopez - he was an exceptional nature writer who died of cancer. Some months after their home (in northern California?) was burned down by a wildfire. The last months in a rented home with most of their possessions lost, were hard.

Lessons:

- you can find heaven, but you can lose it, too. You never lose the need for emotional and financial resilience. "Old age is not for sissies" -- Bette Davis.

- you will likely spend a significant part of your retirement without your spouse - particularly if you are female.

- your health can and will have a big impact. My aunt was able to get the cancer treatment that she needed without going to the big city - it probably bought her another 6 years. This was in a retirement & outdoor oriented community on the Great Lakes, about 120 miles outside the city, but with substantial hospital much closer than that-- although eventually they had to get friends to drive them that 40 miles to her treatment (this was tough during Covid - just sitting in the car park whilst she had chemo).

- your needs will change over time/ Particularly if your children move, and there are grandchildren. Many parents find they are able to have quality time with their grandchildren that they just didn't seem to have with their own children due to career & other pressures. OTOH it's cheap babysitting for the kids, and that boundary has to be negotiated carefully (perhaps with an agreement drafted by a lawyer :confused :confused ;-) ).

What I would say is one should definitely seek to live in a place before making a final commitment. Ideally renting. And in particular the "tough months": usually that's winter (February is a particularly depressing month in many places, I feel) but it might be summer somewhere hotter. A year is a good cycle - usually coming through the first elation of "we have made a new adventure" but also the slump.

My aunt and her partner had originally bought a condo in the city when they retired (selling their house in the same city) but found they spent so much time on the farm (and later in the above community) that it was "an expensive place to store our furniture". So they sold that. Moved full time to the country.

But they had spent 30 years staying at the farm on weekends and getting used to that community, making friends, and its rhythms.

So that time, if you can find it, to really find out what living in a place is like, not just jumping in in both feet first.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sat May 27, 2023 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Valuethinker »

Watty wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 10:43 am

One of the keys is to try to budget so that you will have some extra money so that you have more options and will be able to retire earlier than expected if you want or need to.

Your investment returns are also an unpredictable factor. I got lucky and retired a bit earlier than planned in 2015 because my investments were doing well in the recovery after the 2008 financial crisis. Even with the recent dip my investments are doing better since 2015 than we could have hoped for.
I just as easily could have retired at the beginning of a long bear market. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than smart.
I would also formulate that as "A smart person plans for good (and bad) luck".

I entirely agree with what you have written. And especially the point about healthcare - shortages of healthcare provision in rural North America are quite serious in many places, I believe.


I don't know what the statistics are but I suspect that most people stay near where they are at when they retire and the stereotype "retire and move to Florida, Arizona, or South Carolina" trope is more the exception than the rule.
The migration statistics seem to suggest it really does happen - although I don't know what percentage of these are over 65s. Californians really do move to Nevada and Arizona (and Texas) for example.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Valuethinker »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 10:34 am
Johm221122 wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:28 am
snackdog wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:00 am The most successful retirement moves I have seen we’re back to a familiar home town or college location. Moving to a random location, even with kids nearby, often doesn’t work out long term.
I'm not sure how accurate this is. Don't a lot of people retire to Florida,the south in general and overseas? Of course I don't think most people randomly pick a place.
Im sure there are a lot of people who move from the Midwest to Florida or Arizona for their slo-go years and then move back to enjoy the winters in their no-go years. Who could blame them?
I am trying to read that as... irony?

I doubt many people move back to the snowy bits of North America (Midwest and Northeast) having retired out of them? Winter does not get any easier. Unless widow or widower moving to be closer to children etc.

I do think a lot of people keep a home there (perhaps to be near family) but winter in places like Florida or Arizona. I knew a Toronto couple who would winter on a mobile home park in Texas -- not sure where, but it worked fine for them.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by rich126 »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 11:50 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 10:34 am
Johm221122 wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:28 am
snackdog wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 9:00 am The most successful retirement moves I have seen we’re back to a familiar home town or college location. Moving to a random location, even with kids nearby, often doesn’t work out long term.
I'm not sure how accurate this is. Don't a lot of people retire to Florida,the south in general and overseas? Of course I don't think most people randomly pick a place.
Im sure there are a lot of people who move from the Midwest to Florida or Arizona for their slo-go years and then move back to enjoy the winters in their no-go years. Who could blame them?
I am trying to read that as... irony?

I doubt many people move back to the snowy bits of North America (Midwest and Northeast) having retired out of them? Winter does not get any easier. Unless widow or widower moving to be closer to children etc.

I do think a lot of people keep a home there (perhaps to be near family) but winter in places like Florida or Arizona. I knew a Toronto couple who would winter on a mobile home park in Texas -- not sure where, but it worked fine for them.
There is a retired lady who lives in our apartment complex driving a car from Arizona. I was talking to her and she moved back east because of her kids and getting old and needing more help.

Winter is less of an issue when you are retired in the sense you don't have to drive anywhere when it snows or is icy. Obviously some extreme cold locations could be tougher since it is a consistent winter issue. Many other places such as the mid-atlantic states gets some cold weather but storms usually are only a problem for a day or two.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by quantAndHold »

Valuethinker wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 11:50 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 10:34 am Im sure there are a lot of people who move from the Midwest to Florida or Arizona for their slo-go years and then move back to enjoy the winters in their no-go years. Who could blame them?
I am trying to read that as... irony?

I doubt many people move back to the snowy bits of North America (Midwest and Northeast) having retired out of them? Winter does not get any easier. Unless widow or widower moving to be closer to children etc.
You nailed it in one. It’s one thing to be retired someplace warm with your spouse and a bunch of friends and activities. It’s completely different to be by yourself, needing care, with no family nearby.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by CyclingDuo »

JeanneForever wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 9:06 pm When and how do you decide on a retirement location and lifestyle if it's at least 12-15+ years away? We have no idea where the kids will end up, don't know how our health will be, don't even know what kind of place we'd like to live. It's hard to budget for something without a clear plan. Does whether or not you have a lifestyle plan really make a difference?

Has anyone planned for something and ended up somewhere completely different? We know a number of couples who moved away and then one of them died within a year or 2. At least one moved away and didn't like it and moved back.

Do you simply assume you will live somewhere no more expensive than our current house to make a rough budget and figure out details in a decade+?
Plan to budget and save for a variety of scenarios. Assuming your current lifestyle and COL will be similar, start with that as option one - retire in place. Other options could be retiring in a higher cost of living area near one of your children, so you can save and budget for that possibility. Another option would be to stay in place regarding where you retire and use as home, but spend a few months every year trying out a different location or area of the world in your go-go years. Beyond that, run the numbers and scenario of some exotic retirement (location and COL wise).

As you get closer to your retirement and planning for a variety of options, you’ll find your way.

We’ve planned for options, but are staying put at the moment. We enjoy our friends, the house, the biking, the yard/garden, and new remodeling we’ve done too much to pull up stakes. We will try some longer term stays in Europe as well as the US to remain culturally diversified and get a nice mix.

What are your current thoughts/dreams about where you want to retire and what you want to do?

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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Hockey10 »

We are perfectly happy living in the same home that we have owned since the 1990s. Our kids are all still close by. Being close to the kids is more important than any other consideration for us.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Close your eyes dream of where you and your DS would like to live, who you want to eat lunch with with, what you will do when you wake up in morning, and how far away your family will be and how often you will see them.

Then go take a trip or two there and try it out. Do you like it? Can you imagine living there? Do you fit in economically and politically? Dream some more.

We looked at some condos once and didn’t feel like we would fit in based upon what we saw around us. So we looked at some other places and found a place that we liked more.

We have a snow bird place in Florida and do have better quality relationships in our home area of 40 years but that is naturally the case. We are meeting new friends in Florida too out walking the neighborhood and playing Pickleball / golf. At age 62, We have the rest of our lives to figure it out.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by MathWizard »

I am just retiring.

We are fortunate in that the kids are minutes away, and there is no real traffic concern, so I doubt that we would move away.

The city is low to medium COL,but is listed on the best places to retire.

I've asked my wife the question of where to live, and other than not liking the cold and snow, this is an ideal place to live.

Lifestyle is basically what we have had for the last 5 years, with
an extra 16K per year for the first go-go 5 years,
extra $8K for the next 15 go slow years, then we (or my widow) has our current lifestyle for the remaining go-slow years.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by sailaway »

When we were looking at a lean FI situation, we included a transition budget that would allow us to change our mind about where/how we lived. It was enough to switch to a different lifestyle, but then maintain a similar budget (ie, we might get tired of being boaters). This was about 10% above what our goal was based on just 25x.

We surpassed our initial goals and have even more options open to us now, but we figured that was the minimum for long term contentment, especially as early retirees.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Isabelle77 »

My parents left Toronto to retire to coastal South Carolina 23yrs ago. They didn’t know a soul but have loved living there. They’re moving to a continuing care community next year nearby.

My husband and I are starting to think about where next. He works remotely and I’m nearly “retired” from being a stay at
home parent. Where the kids end up will be important but so is having a nice city or large town nearby, beautiful walks, good healthcare, and not outrageously expensive. Maybe hill country Texas, maybe Boise, maybe Durham or Charlottesville. We’re excited to spend the years after our youngest goes to college checking out all of these places.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Badinvestor »

Aside from affordability/inflation and human relationships, major considerations for me include a) how long will I be able to drive? b) lifestyle effects of the energy transition underway in the US. I don't, however, think that these things can be discussed much on Bogleheads because of their political connotations. I did ask here a while ago about the cost and feasibility of charging EVs in a condo.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by MP173 »

DW is retired, I am still working...remotely from home.

Second marriage for both of us (13 years). We both have 2 adult children. DW has one that is 10 minutes away - 2 grandkids. The other is 3 hours with 3 grandkids (including twins born this year). DW is with them to help out this week. My sons are one hour away and 4.5 hours out. No grandkids for either.

We deal with winter snow and cold, but are used to it. We have nice 8-9 month weather. We have friends and established social and cultural infrastructure. House is paid off. Would like to downsize a bit and find a ranch or Master bedroom on main floor.

We have discussed at length and will probably snow bird south for a month or two next winter. But make no mistake, the proximity to the grandkids trumps all other potential locations.

Ed
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by dsmclone »

No kids and 8 years away from retirement. We usually take 2-3 vacations a year and over the last few years we've incorporated places we're considering retiring to into these vacations.

We've lived 90% of our lives in the Midwest. Cold winters and hot humid summers. We usually have about 2 months of nice weather per year. If it wasn't for the weather, I'd be fine staying here.

When my father was alive, he lived in central florida. It's just too hot/humid for me. Really the south in general is just too humid for me.

So that leaves the desert SW. Yes, I worry about water and we'll see what happens over the next 8 years. We did an AirBNB last year in the Scottsdale area that had it's own pool. It was probably 1500 SQFT and I could totally see myself living in that exact house/location. We're also considering 55+ communities but the ones we've visited have been filled with 80+ year olds, which doesn't seem like a great idea.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Barkingsparrow »

Currently living in a Midwestern state where the primary scenery are corn and soybean fields, and where the quality of life is rapidly plunging downhill. The COL is lower but that's about all the positive you can say for our state.

We are thinking we'd like to eventually retire to the west coast, approximate to mountains, forests, and wild coasts, as a primary hobby of ours is hiking. We don't like heat/humidity and I don't like day after day of sun - I like my cloudy days.

We've traveled to Oregon multiple times, and will attempt to visit Washington state next year. Not sure however, I can afford housing out there. We'd be happy with a smaller modest home - we don't need much space.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

I dream of spending 6 months in Cali (home state) and 6 months abroad.

Given other current threads here on challenges of buying abroad (taxes, etc), I think I'll be fine renting when needed abroad.
Thailand, Spain & Portugal are high on the list. UK will always be on the list, but more as a transit country ;)

I would love to have options in retirement, and change based on weather, politics, health, healthcare situations etc.
I envy those who have been able to be flexible and 'go live' where it is best at that time in their life (and would love to hear how they did it!)
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by FrugalInvestor »

dsmclone wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 9:14 am We're also considering 55+ communities but the ones we've visited have been filled with 80+ year olds, which doesn't seem like a great idea.
Keep looking. Some 55+ communities are much younger. Newer developments tend to be younger on the average and then the average age goes up over time, although turnover slows that down. What sort of social and physical activities are offered can also impact this. When we were looking we tried to spend some time in each community observing and talking to people to get a better feel for the social 'vibe', which can vary quite a bit.

Also, be aware that often people younger than 55 can sometimes buy in a 55+ community. That was true in ours if buying a new-build. We currently have a reasonable percentage of households where either one or both of the residents are still working. There are residents in their 80's and a few in their 40's, but most in their late 50's, 60's or 70's. We currently plan on being here until we can't.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by halfnine »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 12:29 pm I dream of spending 6 months in Cali (home state) and 6 months abroad.

Given other current threads here on challenges of buying abroad (taxes, etc), I think I'll be fine renting when needed abroad.
Thailand, Spain & Portugal are high on the list. UK will always be on the list, but more as a transit country ;)

I would love to have options in retirement, and change based on weather, politics, health, healthcare situations etc.
I envy those who have been able to be flexible and 'go live' where it is best at that time in their life (and would love to hear how they did it!)
Maintaining lifestyles in the USA and abroad is when it gets expensive. It might very well be a preferable method (my parents did it for years) but it is definitely not the cost effective solution.
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by bloom2708 »

I know it won't end up like I think it will. That is all I know.

Head down, pump your arms. You are on mile 14 of a 26.2 mile marathon. Can't start sprinting (or moving) yet.

Visit areas. Lots of different areas. Make notes if it "feels" like a place you might want to try out. Return to favorites at different times of the year.

What is your ideal weather like year round? Or are you completely indifferent to weather? Big city or rural? Professional sports teams or none? Big concert venues or none? Hiking, skiing, biking? Snow or no snow?

I know some that don't go outside except to get in and out of their car. Weather doesn't matter at all. Others may want to spend as little time as possible indoors. Weather might be very important.
Mr. Curious
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Mr. Curious »

I apologize if this has been referenced before, but here is a great tool that lets you filter on US counties using weather, cost of living, likelihood of natural disasters, and several demographic factors.

[url][https://www.movemap.io/explore[/usurl]
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