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Why Relocate for Retirement?

Posted on Tuesday, October 24, 2023
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Moving to retire is a popular trend. Per a study from Hire A Helper, more than 234,000 Americans moved to retire in 2022, 4 percent more than the prior year. And the idea appears to be growing… If you’re wondering why relocate for retirement, there are many reasons why!

Retirees on the move

Retirement is a rewarding phase of life for people who worked hard all their lives. It provides exciting opportunities to pursue leisurely activities such as playing golf or joining a book club. Once children have flown the coop and careers have winded down, retirees often consider moving. There are numerous explanations why people may choose to move, often related to maintaining or improving lifestyles.

Here are some basic reasons why people may choose to move during retirement:

  • Wanting to downsize. Retired teachers from Long Island, Joe and Mindy, had a spacious home on a large property. Not only did the house need work, but caring for the lawn and gardens was demanding. Due to the expense and energy required to upkeep the home, the couple sensed it was time to move. Like that couple, many retirees feel that the upkeep, expenses, and responsibilities associated with owning larger homes is no longer desirable. Joe and Mindy opted to sell their NY home. They moved to a condo in Sarasota, Florida, where they are enjoying time on the beach and traveling as a pastime.
  • Desiring proximity to family. Newly retired Jamar and his wife Aurora have one daughter who is married. Their daughter and her family live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jamar is retired, while Aurora works from home. They now have two grandchildren with a third on the way. Disliking the long distances to visit their grandchildren, and wanting to help when the new baby arrives, the couple decided to make the move to Nevada to be near their growing family. Their Connecticut home is currently on the market. Like Jamar and Aurora, many retirees seek the mutual benefits and joys of living near relatives.
  • Looking to reduce taxes and housing expenses. Chang lived in a gated community in an upscale suburb of New York for many years. Not only were the real estate taxes high, but the state and local taxes and HOAs drove up his expenses. Being on a fixed income after retirement, Chang knew that relocating to a modular home in a less expensive community would enable his retirement funds to last longer. Because less income is likely generated during retirement, and expenses tend to rise over time, most people need to consider factors such as taxes and community related expenses.
  • Looking to save on general cost of living expenses. Cost of living refers to maintaining a certain standard of living. It describes the level of prices relating to a range of everyday items. Those who live in expensive areas not only typically pay more for their homes, but also for goods and services. Mia was faced with rising costs of utilities, food, clothes, medicine and more. Upon retirement, Mia moved from her home in Northern California to a rural community in Arizona to cut down on basic living expenses. Though COLA adjustments help to keep Mia’s Social Security payments in line with inflation, they have not greatly influenced her modest Social Security payments. This is a reality for many seniors who struggle to make ends meet.
  • Desiring a sense of community. Places such as 55+ neighborhoods provide many benefits for seniors to include companionship, activities and events, and added safety and security. Mateo and Sofia lived in a rural part of New Mexico. For many years, they enjoyed solitude where they lived. Most of their socializing opportunities took place around their office jobs. However, as they began to move toward retirement, they questioned how living in a rural community would impact their social lives. In addition, both wished to remain active. A 55+ community was the ideal solution for the duo. Not only did the move provide opportunities to socialize, but they joined a few clubs to stay engaged. The camaraderie, the large number of activities, and the sense of belonging often draw people to retirement friendly neighborhoods.
  • Seeking better access to healthcare. Jan’s husband recently passed away. She is now dealing with her own healthcare problems related to diabetes. She understood the importance of being close to good hospitals. Additionally, she no longer wished to live by herself. Thus, she sought out an apartment in an assisted living facility offering transportation to and from medical appointments. Many people of mature age will likely have some medical requirements like Jan; thus, living near highly rated hospitals or in places that assist people is extremely desirable.
  • The desire to be in a warmer climate. Phil, who lived in Milwaukee, WI, always enjoyed the cold and wintertime. However, the older he got, the more he disliked having to shovel snow, clear snow off the car, and drive in bad weather. He ultimately retired to a home near Leesburg, Florida, where the weather is generally sunny and pleasurable. Many retirees opt to move from northern climates to warmer states. While achieving a lower cost of living is likely the main driver, climate does have some influence.
  • It fulfills their dreams. Lad and Alice worked hard up until retirement. The former jewelry store owners also saved and invested well for their future. Upon retirement, they took the leap and moved to Kailua, Hawaii, a town near Honolulu where they spent their honeymoon many years prior. Living in Hawaii near the ocean was always their ambition, and they worked hard to make it happen. Likewise, many people unencumbered by work can discover exciting ways to live their dreams.

It’s deeply personal  

Why relocate for retirement? There are many reasons why people may opt to move upon retirement, from wanting to decrease expenses to making dreams come true. Regardless, many factors come into play in making the decision, with personal finances often greatly influencing where one decides to live. Because retirement itself translates into big changes, and moving is a big deal, making well-informed decisions is key. Additionally, financial planning can lead to successful retirement. A financial advisor or personal financial planner can offer guidance for retirement savings and investments. For those who are not yet retired, it’s never too soon or late to begin the conversation. For information on some of the best places to retire in 2023, be sure to click here to read our related article.

This article is purely informational and is not intended as personal or financial advice.

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