Where to retire? Answer These Questions
Where do you want to live when you retire? To help you find that answer, we have identified some questions you might ask yourself.
- Which is more important to you in a retirement location, cost of living or lifestyle?
Perhaps there is another way to ask this question. Are you looking for a retirement location because you need to reduce your cost of living, or rather to secure the retirement lifestyle you want at a reasonable cost?
- What climate and topography are you looking for?
Our site envisions an ideal climate as having lots of warm sunshine and being winter-free. Do you seek a location with year-round summer, or would you prefer to have some cooler months? Do you prefer a lush, green marine climate or a dry desert climate with perpetual sunshine? Do you want to be near mountains or rain forests?
- What kind of community are you looking for in retirement? Urban or rural? Small-town suburban?
Do you want to retire someplace that offers the conveniences of an urban center, with high population density and a variety of restaurants, shopping, and cultural events? Perhaps you are country folks at heart and you’d like fewer neighbors for a more secluded retirement, with maybe a few acres where you could keep a horse, or at least have a country garden. Or maybe you would prefer something in between: a small town or community that has a few stores that will meet your needs and some family style restaurants or cafes.
- Do you want to live in a retirement community, primarily with other retirees, or do you want to be in a neighborhood that has families and residents of all ages?
Retirement communities offer unique living options: self-contained communities with amenities geared to retirees. Some of the larger retirement communities have their own shopping, medical, recreational, and even cultural amenities onsite.
- What type of dwelling would you prefer for retirement?
The answer may depend on whether you anticipate entertaining and accommodating family and friends. There are many choices: Multi-family dwellings such as condos and townhouses where maintenance is provided, single family homes, manufactured homes, rural farms or ranches, or perhaps a seaside cottage.
- Do you want to retire here in the U.S. or would you consider living outside the U.S.?
Living outside the U.S. may enable you to enjoy a warm climate and a lower cost of living. Is it important to have English as the native language or are you comfortable with another language? Does it matter if the dollar is the local currency?
- How close do you want to be to your family?
Do you celebrate the birthdays of all children and grandchildren with cakes and parties and have extended family dinners for holidays year-round? Or do you stay in touch via phone or email and send cards and money as gifts?
- How good is your health?
Is it necessary for you to be near a major medical center, or is it adequate for you to have a few local doctors and a nearby community hospital? Do you have major health concerns that require frequent visits to a physician’s office? Or are you lucky enough to enjoy overall good health?
- Do you require access to cable TV and high-speed Internet?
Do you use your computer primarily to play games and send email, or do you depend on an income stream that is generated online? Is cable TV with dozens of English language programs a necessity?
- How do you plan to spend your time during retirement?
Will you travel extensively, using your home as a resting place between long vacations and visits to family? Do you want to develop a wide circle of social relationships with fellow retirees? Or do you want the peace of staying in the comfort of your home, working at a part-time home-based business or hobby?
- How important are public recreation areas?
Do you want to live on or near a body of water? Do you enjoy outdoor activities like camping, fishing, skiing, sport boating and hunting, or are you more interested in golf, tennis and sailing? Do you have hobbies and interests to fill your time, so that access to public recreation is less important?
- Which issues are most and least important to you?
By determining the most important criteria, and conversely, the least important, you will be able to narrow your choices of locations to a manageable number.