For most people, retirement
is a time of freedom. Once you retire, you no longer need to go to work every day and can use your time as you wish. In some cases, when people leave the workforce, they make the decision to relocate. About 1 million people move every year following their retirement. Some people move to be closer to or farther away from family while others take this step for health or financial reasons. When it comes to relocating following retirement, there are a number of benefits. These range from the excitement of living in a different city to saving money by renting a smaller place. If you're considering relocating after retirement
, a few recommendations and steps can help make the transition easier.
Choosing a New City
Once you've made the decision to relocate, you'll need to choose your location
. If you're moving to be closer to your family, then you already know where you're going, but if you're changing hometowns to explore a new place or for financial or health purposes, research several locations before making your selection. Check into a city's cost of living, ease of transportation and access to medical care.
Moving for a Warmer Climate
When people retire, many of them move to warmer locales because the higher temperatures are easier on their bodies. In addition, once you reach your golden years, you may be ready to live in a city
where you can avoid shoveling snow or budgeting for high heating bills. Places with desirable climates often have a higher cost of living. However, there are a number of towns where you can live affordably and enjoy warm weather. For instance, many retirees are heading to Punta Gorda, Florida. This city is a popular place to retire due to its warm climate and reasonable cost of living. Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Prescott, Arizona, are also affordable cities that come with a comfortable climate.
Cheap Places to Live
If affordability is more important than climate, consider moving to cities like Decatur, Sioux Falls or Topeka. Decatur, Alabama, features a low cost of living for retirees that's 11 percent lower than the national average. Alabama is a tax-friendly state, and its health care costs are affordable. In Decatur, the median home value is just $122,500.
While Sioux Falls, South Dakota, may not seem like a populous city, the community has plenty to offer retirees. For one, the city's cost of living for those who no longer need to work is 5.8 percent below the country's average. Health care costs are also lower in the state. With the median home price at $152,000 and a thriving economy, Sioux Falls will likely enhance your quality of life. The city also features low overall population numbers and plenty of outdoor activities.
Topeka, Kansas, is another U.S. city that offers its residents a low cost of living. In Topeka, the cost of living for retirees is 8 percent below the country's average while the median home value is a mere $95,600. The city features treatment facilities that are specifically for older adults, and the area's health care costs are below the national average.
Is It Better to Rent After Retirement?
One way to keep costs down is to rent your retirement home
instead of buying it. Consider downsizing into an apartment, a condo or a townhome. In most cases, less square footage translates into a cheaper housing payment. If you're like many people, you bought a home in your current city's pricier area to be in a good school district or close to child-friendly amenities like dance schools and soccer fields. With your kids living on their own, you can move to a more affordable area and rent. In some cases, you can move just a short distance to enjoy a significantly lower cost of living.
Renting offers a number of financial advantages. If you currently own a home, you could sell it and use the proceeds to increase your nest egg. This step could extend your retirement finances by increasing the interest amount that you're earning.
If you decide to rent, you can live in a building that lets you keep your independence longer. For instance, select a complex that has elevators in addition to stairs or convenient access to laundry facilities as well as handles in the bathrooms.
Most rental agreements require the property owner to maintain the interior and exterior of the structure. This may include lawn care as well as repairs. The arrangement decreases your living expenses while saving you time and eliminating the emotional stress of repair situations. When an appliance breaks or a sink becomes clogged, you'll just contact the building's maintenance department.
Along with saving you money and practically eliminating your extensive home maintenance responsibilities, renting also lets you embrace a nomadic lifestyle
. You can more easily move to cities in different states to explore and relish new experiences.
Reasons to Relocate
While many people stay in their homes until they're forced to relocate for medical or financial reasons, reports show that those who move to a new place are happier than those who remain in their homes. Moving can improve your emotional well-being. Even when the move is because of an illness or a financial burden, those who relocate experience more positive emotions than those who stay put.
People often move
to be closer to their family members. If your kids have moved away due to work or to be with a significant other, you may want to live near them and your grandchildren. In some cases, people change locations to be close to their parents or a sibling to help care for them as they age. Retirees also change living locations to be near longtime friends who have moved to other areas.
As family members grow and change, they often struggle to maintain a healthy relationship. When this happens, people may move to avoid continuous conflict. Similar relationship problems can also happen between friends.
People also relocate because they want to shake things up by living somewhere new. If you've always wanted to live near the ocean, in the mountains or within a major city, then retirement is the perfect time to transfer to your dream location.
Relocation Pitfalls to Avoid
Don't move for tax reasons alone. If you do, it can backfire. Too often, retirees move to avoid paying taxes
during their retirement years. However, after making the move, they realize that they've lost their entire support network. They miss their family and friends and even their old doctors and dentists. If you've made the decision to move, make sure that there is a reason other than just to decrease your tax liability.
While retirees often move to live closer to their children, this isn't always the best idea. If you make this change, you will likely be leaving behind your friends and the comfort of living in a familiar place. Once you move, your son or daughter may wind up transferring to a different city for work, which would leave you alone in an unfamiliar town. You should also avoid moving in with a child. This decision can cause conflict with your child's significant other. Figuring out how to share expenses can also damage your relationship.
Maintaining Your Health Care Coverage
Before making any serious plans to move, check into your health care program
. Anticipate future medical needs and plan for unexpected ones. Too often, health problems develop quickly and without warning. If you have formed a relationship with a medical provider that you cannot easily replace in another locale, you may want to reconsider moving. An especially helpful child who currently lives close to you is another reason to stay put.
As you take your first steps toward retirement, check to see if your employer will allow you to remain on the company's insurance plan after you retire and if you move. Employers are not required to offer this assistance, and even if they do, they can change your benefits, alter the premium amounts or cancel your coverage later. Determine pricing and make a backup plan in case you wind up losing your coverage.
Relocating to Improve Your Quality of Life
Moving after you retire comes with challenges that range from considering the feelings and needs of family members to managing your health in a new place. While being self-reliant and accepting every day as it comes are a few classic ways to improve your quality of life
, moving to a new location can help you reach this emotional state as well. When you move with the right intentions, you'll enhance your daily life. By living in a new place, you'll have the opportunity to not only explore and learn about a new city, but you will also have the chance to discover
more about yourself.