…If a change of scenery in your later years sounds appealing, the most important question to consider is, “Why?” It’s easy to romanticize the benefits of living in a different city so, before you start packing boxes, here are four key questions that’ll help make sure you’re relocating for all the right reasons.
1. How would a move impact your finances?
Many people who move in retirement do so for financial reasons. In fact, nearly 75% of people age 65 or older said finding a lower cost of living was “extremely important” when thinking about where to retire, according to Bankrate.
Moving for monetary reasons can make sense as long as you look at all sides of the equation. If your retirement account isn’t as fully stocked as you’d like it to be, selling a home that you own outright or have a lot of equity in and buying one that costs less may be wise. Just be sure to factor in other ongoing costs in the town you’re thinking of moving to, such as property taxes, insurance, sales taxes, and more.
You can get a feel for how your cost-of-living may change by using an online calculator, and the Tax Foundation has information about state and local taxes, but do some additional checking. Talk with a realtor to ask about property taxes, and call an insurance agent to see how your homeowners and vehicle insurance costs may change.
2. How would a move impact your extended family?
A couple of years ago, an older couple I know sold the home they’ve owned for many years and moved closer to two of their adult children and their families. They’re enjoying spending more time with their grandchildren, attending various school and sports events and, when the woman in the couple had to be hospitalized recently, their adult children didn’t have to fly across the country to be there for her.
On the other hand, my in-laws live about five hours away. When my father-in-law recently became ill and eventually passed away, it was very challenging for my wife and our whole family to be there as much as we would have liked.
Relocating to be closer to family is generally a good idea. However, there are also some risks. For example, the adult children you move to be closer to could end up moving because of career or other reasons.
Be sure to manage everyone’s expectations as well by having a conversation with your adult children before you move. How often will you get together? How available will you be to baby-sit your grandkids and how much help might your adult children provide if and when your health declines?
3. How would a move impact your friendships?
When considering a move, it’s easy to make the mistake of overstating the importance of some factors while underestimating others. For example, Midwesterners are especially open to the idea of relocating for retirement, according to Bankrate, mostly because of their desire for better weather. However, weather is something people tend to get acclimated to fairly quickly, whereas it takes time to develop true friendships. Don’t be too quick to move away from close friends.
4. How would a move impact your future medical care?
Our quality of life is largely dictated by the quality of our health, and as we age, our health is likely to become more fragile. That makes easy access to high quality health care an especially important factor in where we live during our later years. How is the health care in the town you’re thinking of moving to? Here are some resources that can help answer that question.
- Medicare’s Hospital Compare database keeps tabs on hospitals throughout the country, monitoring their 30-day readmissions and deaths by surgical procedure, patient ratings, and more.
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides state health score cards that look at how the health care in each state compares to national benchmarks.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation maintains a database of health care reports, rating hospitals in each state on a wide variety of measures.
Take your move for a test drive
One final idea: If you’re thinking about relocating in retirement, before you pull up stakes and hire movers, consider taking an extended vacation to the area you’re considering. That’ll help you figure out if it’s just a nice place to visit, or you would actually want to live there.
The above comments are edited [ ] and abridged (…) excerpts from an article by Matt Bell
Thanks for reading! If you want more articles like the one above visit our Facebook page (here) and “Like” any article so you can get future articles automatically delivered to your feed. You can also “Follow the munKNEE” on Twitter or register to receive our FREE tri-weekly newsletter (see sample here , sign up in top right hand corner).
Remember: munKNEE should be in everybody’s inbox and MONEY in everybody’s wallet!