I began to ask myself what makes a good retirement location, a long time ago as part of planning where I wanted my life to go and how simply I could get there. What started out as a whimsical thought exercise just kept growing and growing as I explored further.
In this post, I will share just some of the most important points and underlying assumptions I have made in finding a good retirement location.
First you should decide what states are good candidates for you as a good retirement location. You can do this by the process of exclusion. Try removing states that absolutely don’t fit your desired profile. You might also have some states that you are ambivalent about. Here are some great characteristics to evaluate for a good retirement location.
- Some people like the water, some the mountains. The presence of a large body of water really moderates the weather. What is important to you?
- If you have environmental concerns, you may prefer to avoid areas of fracking or serious water table depletion further narrowing choices.
- What sort of weather do you want? Some people are Florida types, some Los Angeles types and of course, some Jersey types.
- If you are politically sensitive, you might want to consider your compatibility with the area.
After you net out the unacceptable areas, you are left with a list of possible states.
Next pick some cities in the states you like and research their suitability as a good retirement location.
- Use City-Data to help evaluate them. It is enlightening to look at locations compared to where you live. Income, crime, size, demographics, and weather info together with the business composition can give you a pretty good idea about the area.
- Look too at the availability of medical care. The quality, availability and cost of care can vary considerably from place to place and should factor into any decision.
- The presence of a college or university is a big plus. It usually means, quality arts and entertainment as well as a dynamic environment.
- Use Zillow to evaluate the age, cost and style of housing stock. As an example, cities like Pittsburgh or Boston are older and the housing reflects that. multi-story, carpet throughout, sometimes dark due to smaller windows, though they restore beautifully. Nashville and Houston, on the other hand are newer. They have tall ceilings, big windows, large rooms, wood floors and stainless and granite kitchens.
This brief overview only scratches the surface of what goes into selecting a good retirement location, but it should be enough to give you some ideas for how you can view what might seem an insurmountable task.
Of course, a location in real life may be somewhat different than it looks on paper. The best way to understand an area is either to make repeated trips to visit or, to move there and rent as a test drive.
Map source: http://nationalatlas.gov