How to Pick the Best Retirement Location for You

When determining where you\'d like to retire, consider these things.
How to Find a Retirement Location 55places.com
When determining where you’d like to retire, consider these things.

White sand beaches or towering mountains? Swimming in January or skiing in July? Low property taxes or no sales tax?

These are just a handful of questions retirees need to ask themselves before determining where they want to hang their hat. Although moving across the country to pursue your retirement dream is equal parts exciting and nerve-racking, there are several ways to determine whether a retirement location would be right for you.

A Pretty Penny

If you ask retirees what their biggest worry is about leaving the workforce, it’s whether or not their nest egg will sustain the retirement lifestyle they were hoping for. Location can have a bigger impact on realizing that dream than many people think.

It’s known that housing prices in states like California and New York are typically much higher than the rest of the country, but that doesn’t always mean that sunnier financial skies are overhead in surrounding markets.

Take New Jersey, which is a highly coveted retirement destination because of its cheaper housing and proximity to all of New England. Although housing in New Jersey is approximately 20% lower than the national average, homeowners have the second highest property tax bill in the country.

Louisiana is also a bargain when it comes to housing prices, but also levies some of the highest sales taxes in the nation. When looking at specific retirement locations, it’s vital to look at the whole financial picture of a state, which includes home prices as well as taxes on property, sales, and retirement income.

Doctor’s Orders

At some point, when choosing your retirement location, accessible healthcare is going to become vital in making your decision. It might not be an issue now, but it will be.

Medicare coverage can vary slightly from state to state. The parts of Medicare that cover hospitalization and medical insurance remain primarily the same whether you live in Maine or Maui, but prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) can vary not only between states but between regions as well. The same holds true for the Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C). The reason for the inconsistency is that these services are provided by private insurers.

Proximity to major medical centers (often in mid-to-large metro areas) will also become increasingly important as you age. Although you might dream of a Little House on the Prairie retirement, it could become a major expense if you have to travel to receive treatment.

How Do You Spend Your Sundays?

Costs and logistics aside, your dream retirement lifestyle should be the determining factor when it comes to relocating. The great aspect to retiring in the United States is that there are varying lifestyles for virtually any budget. Love the landscape and beaches of Southern California but not the price tag? Coastal Texas is a much more budget-friendly alternative. Want New England culture without giving away your 401(k) to taxes? Delaware provides four seasons and proximity to urban centers for many retirees who are seeking a bargain.

Balancing lifestyle with budget can be tricky and it’s made more difficult if you’re married to the idea of retiring to a specific region. It doesn’t hurt to look for similar lifestyles in more reasonably priced areas, especially since downsizing and spending less on living costs frees up your budget to accomplish other goals like traveling, starting a business, or taking up a pricy hobby.

Size & Space

55+ communities aren’t all built the same. Sizes range from small condominium complexes to literal cities. Larger communities typically provide more amenities, diverse clubs and groups, and more varieties in styles of homes than smaller ones. Although it might be easier to get to know your neighbors in more intimately sized neighborhoods, your options are more limited in terms of finding common ground and interests than in the larger ones.

Before relocating to a new area for retirement, you should consider not only the size of the community, you should consider what size and type of home you prefer. If you want to be close to Miami in a single-family home, then your options are going to be very limited. If the thought of living in a condo doesn’t appeal to your lifestyle, then moving farther north along the Atlantic Coast will open up more opportunities for your preferred housing style.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

Closed up on a tiny wood home model on green grass with sunlight background.

This Month in Real Estate: A Housing Market Summary

The new year is showing that the predicted changes coming to the housing market were accurate and kept with the trend for 55+ homebuyers. If you’re just entering the housing market as a homebuyer, make sure you’re aware of the changes happening so you’re prepared to make the best purchasing decision. 

Aerial view of a picturesque olive plantation in Bakersfield, California.

The Cheapest Places to Live in California

With almost year-round sunshine, some of the world’s prettiest beaches, world-class shopping and dining, and a never-ending list of recreational and entertainment opportunities, it’s no wonder California is such as sought-after state to settle down in.

A sunset over Huntington Beach Pier in California.

The Active Adult Travel Guide to California

California is known for its diverse regions and cities. This means if you’re an active adult looking to vacation in the Golden State, you’ll have a lot of options. We breakdown the state into its three main regions and find everything you should do while on vacation.

3 Virginia 55+ Communities With Easy Commutes to D.C.

If you’re looking for a 55+ community but you’re still working in Washington D.C., here are several active adult communities that offer easy commutes to D.C. with a chance to take the first step toward retirement.

The Best Washington D.C. Area Communities for Downsizing

Outside of Washington, D.C. in Maryland, active adults can find a number of communities with condominiums and smaller attached homes perfect for downsizing. Here are the five best communities for homebuyers looking to downsize in the Washington, D.C. area.

Annapolis, Maryland: What to Do and Where to Live

Annapolis, Maryland is quaint and historic, with arts, culture, and outdoor activities. Active adults can find varied and affordable homes to buy in age-restricted communities.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top