According to studies, 36 % of those 50 and older want to stay in their current home when they retire. Yet almost 37% of retirees have moved since retiring. And 27% expect to move at some point.
What is right for you depends on your lifestyle, financial resources, and personal preferences on climate, activities, and proximity to friends and family.
If you have just retired or are a few years from retirement, you may be thinking ‘Where should I live in retirement?”
Sometimes there are good reasons to relocate in retirement.
You want to be closer to your family.
For many people, there is a good reason to move in retirement because they want to be closer to family or friends.
Right now you may have no real plans to go anywhere. But if your adult children are planning to move away, you do not have to feel stuck when your family no longer lives near you.
Some retirees prefer to move to another state or area to be closer to their children and grandchildren. As we age, having family members nearby can be crucial as we must rely on their help more than ever before.
Also, if you suddenly lose a spouse after moving across the country, you will find support by being closer to your family. On the other hand, if you move you will be leaving your friends behind.
You want to move where the cost of living is cheaper.
This may not matter to you if you have saved a good nest egg for retirement. But most people have a limited amount of retirement savings. Moving to a more affordable place to live could make all the difference in allowing your savings to last longer.
If you currently live in an expensive area, you should consider moving to a place with a lower cost of living. The sooner you relocate the easier it will be to make sure you do not spend your savings fast.
Keep in mind that housing is your biggest budget item. Even in retirement housing costs as a percentage of spending will remain around 35% on average.
Reducing your housing costs now will give you more cash to put toward your other retirement goals. Once you are retired, the fact that you have lower housing costs means you will need less income in retirement for this essential expense. Plus, you will have freed up more income for other retirement expenses. That could mean more travel or spoiling your grandkids.
You want to move where taxes are lower.
Even in retirement, you must pay taxes. The cost of living is important. But how much you pay in state income tax also plays an important role when you live on a fixed income.
Some states are tax-friendlier than others. The following states do not have a state income tax:
- New Hampshire
Moving to a state with low taxes and estate taxes may be worth considering if you have built a sizable amount of retirement assets that will be taxed as you withdraw them.
For example, if you move from Massachusetts to Florida, you rid yourself of state income tax. But if you move from New Hampshire to South Carolina, you have to start paying state taxes.
You want to downsize to a smaller home.
If your current home is too large for you, you should consider downsizing.
Find a house that is easier to maintain. Downsizing is not just a physical change. Sometimes it is a way to create a new life in a new space.
Moving also allows you to choose a home better suited to your needs during your retirement years.
By moving from a single-family home to a condominium you are trading stairs and mowing the lawn for less space and more amenities, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym, a club room, etc.
Also, it might be a good time to sell your home if you know that it will sell for a great amount of money in the current housing market. You may get a high bid for your home and then be able to move anywhere you want to.
If you have always wanted to travel in retirement, then selling your house may be a great decision. You can rent a condo or apartment so you will feel free to travel often and not worry about maintenance, repairs, and yard work. Even if you just downsize to a smaller home, you will have more money available for your travels, and hobbies.
A move can also reduce your costs if you are looking at relocating to a senior living community.
Some of these communities are all-inclusive with dining, shopping, and fitness/spa located in one spot. In exchange for an HOA fee, things like maintenance and lawn care may be covered for you which means less stress on your wallet and time.
You prefer to move to a place with a better climate.
If you want to avoid the Northern winters, you might want to relocate to a different geographical area with a better climate.
After living in a cold climate for years, many retirees prefer to move to a warmer climate so they can stay active and enjoy spending more time outdoors. I hear all the time people saying they want to retire at the beach. But have they ever spent time in a beach community in the off-season? It can be a very different place.
However, if you have never lived in a warmer climate before, you will need to get yourself time to adjust. Do not expect to get used to the new temperatures immediately. Be patient with yourself and learn how to adapt to the new climate.
Additionally, if you have health problems, talk to your doctor about planning to move to a different climate. Your doctor should help you make the transition easier. Some medications may even interfere with your body’s ability to tolerate temperature changes.
There are plenty of advantages to living in a warmer climate but there are also damaging weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. Be sure to ask your real estate agent questions about special insurance policies you need to cover any weather-related damage if you own a home in that area.
Why to stay put and retire in place?
Ideally, retirement is supposed to be a time when people move to a warmer climate to sip drinks on the beach or to play endless rounds of golf. But in reality, a huge percentage of Americans are happy to stay put and retire in place.
There are many good reasons to retire in your hometown.
It is cheaper to retire in place if your mortgage is paid off.
Moving is an expensive task both in time and money.
You will spend a large amount of money and time looking for a new home, preparing your existing home to list, paying realtor fees and real estate taxes. Then hiring movers, moving, paying closing costs, and renovating your new home to fit your style and taste. If you stay put these expenses can be avoided.
Remaining in your community.
You are lucky if you can afford to stay where you are in your retirement years. You get to keep what is familiar and comfortable in a home filled with memories.
Additionally, staying closer to your friends and neighbors will help you fight the loneliness and isolation that often comes with retirement.
As we age, our ability to socialize and meet new people shrinks. Perhaps, that is because we are no longer working, or maybe we do not have enough energy to make a bunch of new friends. That is why remaining in your community gives you access to people who have known you for years, maybe even a lifetime.
Additionally, if you stay close to home, it might be easier to find work if you start depleting your nest egg fast. Perhaps you can reach out to the old group of friends or colleagues to find opportunities for a part-time or freelance job.
Great healthcare system
If you live in an area that has a great healthcare system, that is something to consider before moving somewhere else. Moreover, you will be seeing the same doctors that know you well.
In retirement, the typical household spends around 12 percent of its household income on medical expenses annually. That amount increases to nearly 16 percent by age 75.
If you are trying to keep your out-of-pocket costs as low as possible, do not rush to leave affordable health care behind.
Update your home for aging in place.
If you decide to stay put, make sure it works for you.
Take a critical look at your current home and decide what changes you have to make to your home that will pay off in the future.
Here are some items that might be on your future project plan:
- Add, expand, or renovate a bathroom.
- Extend your bedroom and add an ensuite.
- Redesign your kitchen to fit your new lifestyle.
- Create an office space. It will help if you plan to do any side work or freelance.
- Create a guest room. If your children and grandchildren come often for a visit, having a separate room will help them feel more comfortable.
- Create an outdoor space to be your sanctuary.
As we age, so will our homes. Today we move effortlessly around our homes. But as we grow older our mobility will decline.
As a result, those stairs might not be so easy to fly up and down to get to the second-floor bedroom. Or how about the bathroom? Climbing in and out of your tub could become a slippery risk.
Even the simple task of climbing the entrance stairs to get into your home might be an issue at some point. If you plan to stay put and “age in place”, start figuring out how much it would cost to make your home senior-friendly.
You need to find ways to make your home easy to access no matter what your age, size, or abilities.
Options might include:
- First-floor master bedroom
- First-floor bathroom
- Bathroom grab bars and railings
- Curb-less showers
- Shower seat
- Non-slip safety flooring
- Task lighting in the kitchen and other work areas
- Wide doorways to fit walkers and wheelchairs
- Entryway ramp
- Well-lit hallways
Home Renovations for Aging-in Place
Deciding where and how to live always involves some research and detailed planning. So, put your planning skills to work and think about where you will be comfortable living in retirement.
Here are a few related posts you might want to read:
- Is an Active Adult Community Right for You?
- Should I Pay Off a Mortgage Before Retirement?
- Where Will You Live When You Retire?
- Rent or Buy in Retirement
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