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

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

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:21 pm 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]
Page could not be found
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hudson
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by hudson »

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+?
For me, plan #1 was: no debt, paid for house, enough income.
I've accomplished #1 and have no thoughts of moving.

If I wanted to move, I'd come up with plan #2 and see if I could afford it. I'd also do all plenty of homework on the proposed location including lots of visits. Since you asked, you probably want to move; go for it and see if you can make it happen.

Bottom Line: Moving is expensive. It'll cost more than you think. Will you have enough?

Many that I grew up with always wanted to retire near the beach. They all found a way...somehow. Some live further back than others.
Mr. Curious
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Mr. Curious »

FrugalInvestor wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 5:12 pm
Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:21 pm 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]
Page could not be found
I might be using the copy link function incorrectly. See if this works.

https://www.movemap.io/explore/us
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 6:47 pm
FrugalInvestor wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 5:12 pm
Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:21 pm 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]
Page could not be found
I might be using the copy link function incorrectly. See if this works.

https://www.movemap.io/explore/us
That does it!
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify. Then ignore the noise!
JS-Elcano
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by JS-Elcano »

I am about 10 years away from retiring and I have been thinking about this too. Currently, my favorite option is to stay put here where I have my home on the central west coast of Florida and move away for the summer months (like a reverse snow bird :D ). Late October to April/mid-May is perfect here, but I would like to move north or northwest for the summer to enjoy hiking or just staying in a place where the outdoors are comfortable. I am even considering a different place each year for a couple of months.
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winterfan
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by winterfan »

My spouse's extended family and my family all live where we live, so we won't leave. I like it here anyway. However, all bets are off if my child moves somewhere else! I do like the idea of renting a place in a different area for a month or two at a time, just to explore things at a leisurely pace.
Wannaretireearly
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

halfnine wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 1:14 pm
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.
Agree. I don’t think we’ll sell our CA house until or unless all our ties here are gone. That will take perhaps close to 20 years to figure out. In the meantime, I cannot/will not carry two housing costs. Too much headache as shown by posts here, especially when I’d rather just be traveling
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halfnine
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by halfnine »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Wed May 31, 2023 12:00 am
halfnine wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 1:14 pm
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.
Agree. I don’t think we’ll sell our CA house until or unless all our ties here are gone. That will take perhaps close to 20 years to figure out. In the meantime, I cannot/will not carry two housing costs. Too much headache as shown by posts here, especially when I’d rather just be traveling
It sounds like you will be be carrying two housing costs though. You are paying for housing in two locations at once. Once in California and wherever you are traveling whether it is via rent or home ownership.

My point is more generic then that, though. By spending 6 months in the USA and 6 months abroad you likely have high carrying costs to maintain two lifestyles concurrently. Like I mentioned this lifestyle for many might be preferable but it does come at a premium.
ralph124cf
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by ralph124cf »

I strongly suggest deciding on a LIFESTYLE first, before trying to decide on a retirement location.
lepegasus
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by lepegasus »

AerialWombat wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 11:00 pm 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
Seems as if the plan came together for you. Well played.
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JeanneForever
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by JeanneForever »

Thank you, everyone! This has given us a lot to think about, and I'm glad most people don't figure out all the details this far in advance and that things can work out even when plans change.
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Elsebet
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Elsebet »

Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 6:47 pm
FrugalInvestor wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 5:12 pm
Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:21 pm 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]
Page could not be found
I might be using the copy link function incorrectly. See if this works.

https://www.movemap.io/explore/us
Just a note, I didn't check every county but for my home county this site gets the biggest cities 100% wrong. Not even close!
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca
tj
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by tj »

AerialWombat wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 11:00 pm 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
Where did you end up?
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tuningfork
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by tuningfork »

Elsebet wrote: Fri Jun 02, 2023 6:44 pm
Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 6:47 pm
FrugalInvestor wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 5:12 pm
Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:21 pm 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]
Page could not be found
I might be using the copy link function incorrectly. See if this works.

https://www.movemap.io/explore/us
Just a note, I didn't check every county but for my home county this site gets the biggest cities 100% wrong. Not even close!
Other data is incorrect as well. The low-humidity, wildfire-prone, in-drought-for-most-of-the-past-20-years county I've lived in for a very long time, shows up as high humidity, wildfire-safe, and drought-free.
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quantAndHold
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by quantAndHold »

tuningfork wrote: Sat Jun 10, 2023 2:50 pm
Elsebet wrote: Fri Jun 02, 2023 6:44 pm
Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 6:47 pm
FrugalInvestor wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 5:12 pm
Mr. Curious wrote: Tue May 30, 2023 4:21 pm 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]
Page could not be found
I might be using the copy link function incorrectly. See if this works.

https://www.movemap.io/explore/us
Just a note, I didn't check every county but for my home county this site gets the biggest cities 100% wrong. Not even close!
Other data is incorrect as well. The low-humidity, wildfire-prone, in-drought-for-most-of-the-past-20-years county I've lived in for a very long time, shows up as high humidity, wildfire-safe, and drought-free.
And apparently San Diego has high humidity and tornadoes. It must be a different San Diego.
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PinotGris
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by PinotGris »

Garco wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 9:37 pm 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.
Pretty much our story as well. We love where we are, our neighbors, our house, everything is comfortable and familiar. As you say our lifestyle would not change much no matter where we move. May I ask why did you move an hour away?
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Garco
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Garco »

Just for a change of scenery, restaurants, etc. Also the medical care facilities are outstanding. We were familiar with the new area from some of my work activities. We're closer to a major airport. And we can still visit our former city. Many of my work colleagues and our friends had left the state. A pull in some cases is that their children and grandchildren were located far away, and our friends wanted to move closer to their extended family. Our situation was complicated by the fact that my own family was concentrated on the West Coast and my wife's family on the East Coast, while we live in the midwest -- but our own children had also settled in the East.
JediMisty
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by JediMisty »

More than a decade before retirement, I started considering locations. I wanted to scuba dive regularly, so initially checked out Bonaire, Cozumel (Mexico) and Costa Rica whilst on vacation. For various reasons, ruled them each out. Then checked out Tampa, FL and Jacksonville, FL to be near family, thinking that I could fly to my vacation destinations from there. Ruled those both out due to various reasons. I still wanted to live in warm weather, flying to travel easily. I decided that places near a good airport would be preferred. Also areas not to far from parks and hills for walking. Finally, I found a place I wanted to volunteer and it's near a major international airport. Downsized to a townhouse making it easier to travel. I knew no one here, but I've made friends. I'm close enough to family to make it a one day drive. Overall, I've balanced wants fairly well. I'm close to hospitals if I need health support later. Hopefully the stairs won't be an issue. But if they are, I'll move again, downsizing further.
tj
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by tj »

JediMisty wrote: Mon Jun 12, 2023 12:26 pm More than a decade before retirement, I started considering locations. I wanted to scuba dive regularly, so initially checked out Bonaire, Cozumel (Mexico) and Costa Rica whilst on vacation. For various reasons, ruled them each out. Then checked out Tampa, FL and Jacksonville, FL to be near family, thinking that I could fly to my vacation destinations from there. Ruled those both out due to various reasons. I still wanted to live in warm weather, flying to travel easily. I decided that places near a good airport would be preferred. Also areas not to far from parks and hills for walking. Finally, I found a place I wanted to volunteer and it's near a major international airport. Downsized to a townhouse making it easier to travel. I knew no one here, but I've made friends. I'm close enough to family to make it a one day drive. Overall, I've balanced wants fairly well. I'm close to hospitals if I need health support later. Hopefully the stairs won't be an issue. But if they are, I'll move again, downsizing further.
Your location says Central NJ, is that somewhere warm?!?
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by JediMisty »

tj wrote: Mon Jun 12, 2023 1:39 pm
JediMisty wrote: Mon Jun 12, 2023 12:26 pm More than a decade before retirement, I started considering locations. I wanted to scuba dive regularly, so initially checked out Bonaire, Cozumel (Mexico) and Costa Rica whilst on vacation. For various reasons, ruled them each out. Then checked out Tampa, FL and Jacksonville, FL to be near family, thinking that I could fly to my vacation destinations from there. Ruled those both out due to various reasons. I still wanted to live in warm weather, flying to travel easily. I decided that places near a good airport would be preferred. Also areas not to far from parks and hills for walking. Finally, I found a place I wanted to volunteer and it's near a major international airport. Downsized to a townhouse making it easier to travel. I knew no one here, but I've made friends. I'm close enough to family to make it a one day drive. Overall, I've balanced wants fairly well. I'm close to hospitals if I need health support later. Hopefully the stairs won't be an issue. But if they are, I'll move again, downsizing further.
Your location says Central NJ, is that somewhere warm?!?
Lol. That's my location before I relocated. I'm near Atlanta now. I spend a month a couple of times each year diving in Cozumel, a couple of other weeks at other dive destinations, and three or more weeks visiting family in Florida.
peterw
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by peterw »

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+?
If I didn't know anyone who has lived in the target area of the state, I would read widely and stay in the place for at least a year before making any big financial decisions, as in plunking sizeable cash on a house.

Am amazed at how many people on BH are planning to move to no-state-tax states considering there are too many other issues that may bump up costs (local sales tax, insurance on cars and homes, etc.)

Read this today on NBC News: "One of the first signs Barb Carter’s move to Florida wasn’t the postcard life she’d envisioned was the armadillo infestation in her home that caused $9,000 in damages. Then came a hurricane, ..
and an inability to find a doctor to remove a tumor from her liver. After a year in the Sunshine State, Carter packed her car with whatever belongings she could fit and headed back to her home state of Kansas — selling her Florida home at a $40,000 loss and leaving behind the children and grandchildren she’d moved to be closer to." (Am not sharing the article link because it mentions politics.)

The lesson: Measure twice. Cut once.
Wannaretireearly
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

I admire folks who have made a location change.
In Tahoe right now, and met a few folks who retired here from the Bay Area, with zero regrets!

Change is good for the soul imo. Realistically, we won’t move 100% out of our area, but dream of long term rentals in other locales. ⛷️ 🏖️
“At some point you are trading time you will never get back for money you will never spend.“ | “How do you want to spend the best remaining year of your life?“
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meowcat
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by meowcat »

Can't do snow. We live in Florida, now. Been here 24 years. Time for a change. Here's to a new chapter in Arizona! :happy
What the bold print givith, the fine print taketh away. | -meowcat
tj
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by tj »

meowcat wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:24 pm Can't do snow. We live in Florida, now. Been here 24 years. Time for a change. Here's to a new chapter in Arizona! :happy

How did you decide on Arizona?
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meowcat
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by meowcat »

It's one of the very few places, other than Ca, Fl and maybe TX where it doesn't snow. Love the snow, just can't live in it. We want to escape the humidity, so La, Ms and Al are out.
What the bold print givith, the fine print taketh away. | -meowcat
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Toons
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Toons »

Climate
Health care facilities
Crime rate(lack of)
Taxes
Cost Of Living
Just a few parameters I used.
Having said that
Retired in North East Tennessee
2000 feet above sea level
In 2011
No regrets whatsoever :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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tetractys
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by tetractys »

JeanneForever wrote: Fri May 26, 2023 9:06 pmWhen and how do you decide on a retirement location and lifestyle if it's at least 12-15+ years away?
A good dream can take that long to put together. It would be foolish to put limits on it so soon. Enjoy the process and decide later.
rockstar
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by rockstar »

I’d start with what you like to do. If all you do is sit in front of the TV, then a low tax place will save you money.

I like to hike and camp. I hate shoveling snow. And I don’t like being cold. I already moved to get away from what I don’t like. It doesn’t make sense to be miserable until you retire.

What do you do for fun?
ondarvr
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by ondarvr »

I didn't read all the comments, but there's too much life in the way of making a decision this far in the future, and you will probably change locations at least once after you do retire, but.....

Travel everywhere and anywhere and keep your eyes open, and the exact street, house and lot can make a huge difference in how you enjoy a location. The exact right spot in an otherwise not so interesting region can make it fantastic.

We really like where we're at right now at 68 and 65, but in ten or so years as our needs change we'll probably move again.
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JeanneForever
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by JeanneForever »

I was the OP. I am interested in how to decide where to retire, but more than exactly how to decide where to retire I was wondering how to budget for something vague and reasonably far in the future. How do you determine if you are on a path to have enough to retire if you don't know your retirement location and lifestyle? Do you pick high/med/low cost options to model or what?
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by Hebell »

My husband and I have enjoyed cycling and canoeing all our life. And that's where we ended up. Like an earlier poster said, lifestyle is everything.

What I didn't anticipate is how deeply affected I'd be by the downsizing of my parents who died sequentially. I was packing and moving and downsizing them over a period of 7 years, and when they died I did it for myself.

This allowed us to move where we want to and live in a small independent living apartment, adjacent to bike trails and good healthcare, where I can walk to the grocery store or a coffee shop. Lakes are nearby. I have started a couple of clubs to bring together people with mild mobility impairments together to walk and cycle.

Didn't know a soul here. My husband and I don't want air travel anymore, and we are happy to be someplace new where everything is a new adventure.

No grandchildren. No independent living near our daughter. She's so busy anyways we don't only see her once a month I suspect, even if we were in the same town.
rockstar
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by rockstar »

JeanneForever wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 4:43 pm I was the OP. I am interested in how to decide where to retire, but more than exactly how to decide where to retire I was wondering how to budget for something vague and reasonably far in the future. How do you determine if you are on a path to have enough to retire if you don't know your retirement location and lifestyle? Do you pick high/med/low cost options to model or what?
It’s hard to know how much a place will cost until you get there. I’ve lived throughout the country and home maintenance has been the biggest wildcard. Household insurance has been the second. The rest of my expenses have stayed about the same from location to location.

You can assume the worse case scenario for both of those items to build in cushion.

The rest depends on what you like to do in your free time.

If I was coming up with a list, I’d start with most healthy locations. Then I’d look at local healthcare nearby. I don’t want to be in my 70s and far away from a hospital.
ROIGuy
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by ROIGuy »

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

Post by Tib »

doobiedoo wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 3:54 am 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].
If you gave it a try, you could probably cite a substantial drawback of southern CA. I've concluded that everywhere is pretty awful.
tj
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Re: When and how do you decide a retirement location and lifestyle?

Post by tj »

Tib wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:02 pm
doobiedoo wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 3:54 am 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].
If you gave it a try, you could probably cite a substantial drawback of southern CA. I've concluded that everywhere is pretty awful.
IMO, SoCal only has amazing weather July-September or so. It rained again today and it's April! I'm planning to spend early retirement in Arizona but travel in the summer, sometimes to SoCal. Later retirement is too far off to know.
ProsperGoalzz
Posts: 216
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:09 am
Location: California

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

Post by ProsperGoalzz »

vested1 wrote: Sat May 27, 2023 5:59 am 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.
This is encouraging. Thank you and congratulations on your successful move!

Curious, why did you not pull a trigger on one of the other states you mentioned? Was it lack of family connections?
vinhodoporto
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:14 am

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

Post by vinhodoporto »

JeanneForever wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 4:43 pm I was the OP. I am interested in how to decide where to retire, but more than exactly how to decide where to retire I was wondering how to budget for something vague and reasonably far in the future. How do you determine if you are on a path to have enough to retire if you don't know your retirement location and lifestyle? Do you pick high/med/low cost options to model or what?
We’re at a similar distance from retirement as you and here’s how we’ve thought about it in case this helps.

The only things you can control right now are how much you save and how you invest your savings. Everything else is out of your control. So don’t stress about it.

Money gives you options. The more you’re able to save now the more options you’ll have in the future. Of course you have to balance how much you save with how much you spend on your current lifestyle.

It’s not possible or worthwhile to try to figure out all the things that might or might not happen in 12-15+ years that would impact our retirement location and lifestyle so don’t bother - what kids do and where they live, grandkids, parents or other relatives, friendships, health, activities you enjoy, real estate prices, interest rates, investment performance, climate change - and more. Once you’re closer these will be more certain and you can start to dial in specifics.

You asked how to determine if you’re on track. Below are the relatively simple assumptions we use for rough forecasting purposes. That’s all you can do this far out. Of course something could happen to cause these assumptions to fail so feel free to be more or less conservative. If this spits out a result that would support a “high cost” retirement lifestyle then we’re reasonably comfortable our current savings amount will keep us on track. If not we need to save more now or dial back retirement lifestyle assumptions.

Our assumptions to see if we’re on track. We do everything in today’s dollars to keep it simple. Feel free to tailor for your circumstances:
1. Current portfolio grows at 4% better than inflation.
2. We continue to save the same amount as we do now in today’s dollars until retirement. These also grow at 4% better than inflation.
3. Mortgage will be paid off at retirement (we’re on track for this) and house value will be the same as today (excluding inflation).
4. For purposes of this exercise we assume we’d sell our current home at retirement and use the proceeds to buy a home at our retirement location. If we want something more expensive than current home that would come out of the retirement portfolio, reducing its size.
5. Pensions will be calculated the same as they are today (i.e. today’s pay chart excluding inflation and %. no promotions) but with x more years of service.
6. Social Security will be the same as we would get under current formulas in today’s dollars. Our actual plan is to take it at 70 but to be more conservative I assume we take it at 62 for purposes of forecasting retirement income.
7. No substantial windfalls or inheritances.
8. We withdraw 4% of the portfolio annually at least during early retirement “go go” years.

Once you have something like this set up in excel it’s easy to run different excursions like what if one of us retires early, what if market returns are poor over the next 15 years, what if we cut back savings while the kids are in college, what if social security isn’t there etc.
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