Planting or Pulling Up Stakes?

Where you retire may be as important as when and how you retire. For many, this decision equates with preferences for vacation retreats, be it sunning at the shore or lake, hiking in the mountains, enjoying the amenities of urban life or the quiet of country living. Proximity to family and friends plays a big part. But those considerations are only a start.

Deciding where to live in retirement is a big decision, especially because it may dramatically affect retirees’ cost of living, taxes, access to medical care and long-term care, connectivity with family and friends, and a myriad of other personal and financial considerations. It’s an important question that must be discussed as part of reviewing plans for retirement preparedness.


So what drives pre-retirees’ and retirees’ decisions about planting or pulling up stakes from their current residence? The top three influencers about where to retire are family (65 percent), general livability (36 percent) and desired weather conditions (32 percent), according to a recent survey sponsored by Age Friendly Ventures. Less important were health care, friends and employment.

Deciding where to retire plays a major role in defining how well someone lives in retirement, especially at older ages when variables such as the cost and availability of medical and long-term care are factored into the equation. After all, retiring to a cabin in the mountains far away from civilization may seem like paradise to some people. But if someone suffers from a chronic or acute disease, a lack of nearby medical care can be less than idyllic.

Remember, choosing where, as well as when and how, to retire will have just as crucial an impact. Crunching the numbers helps retirees avoid unpleasant surprises. Moreover, doing a little homework about where to live today can help pre-retirees build a happier tomorrow, especially in their later years when they may find they’re less focused on recreation and more concerned with medication. It’s an unfortunate fact of aging that location can exacerbate or alleviate.