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How to Decide Where to Retire: 8 Key Factors to Consider

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Originally Posted On: How To Decide Where To Retire: 8 Key Factors To Consider (


The beauty of retirement boils down to this: you can choose where you want to live.

However, that means you’ll have to make some careful decisions. And knowing how to decide where to retire is all about assessing your options. What is the cost of living? How is the tax situation? What’s the climate like, and what kind of activities are available?

So let’s take a look at eight key factors you need to consider when deciding where to retire.

1. Cost of Living

When figuring out how to decide where to retire, the ultimate cost of living is a major consideration.

When you’re ready to retire, you’ll have to learn how to live on a fixed income. That means that the best places to retire will have a low cost of living. Of course, that all depends on what you intend to do in your retirement. If you’re willing to reduce your expectations and expenses, that might increase the available options.

Countries, states, and cities with lower housing costs, gas prices, and taxes are what to consider when choosing where to retire. Also, be sure to factor in health care expenses when assessing the cost of living in any particular area.

2. Assess the Climate

When asking “where should I retire?,” you should keep the climate and geography in mind as part of the overall quality of life.

If you’ve grown tired of living in a place with heavy winter snowfall, now’s the time to consider moving to someplace warm and snow-free. Or maybe you’re tired of the endless heat and lack of seasons, and wouldn’t mind living in snowier climes.

It really comes down to finding the right place for you. You want to enjoy the activities you love, including outdoor activities that have always appealed to you. This can include boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or any number of activities.

So finding the best places to retire in the world comes down to seeking out the type of outdoor environment you can really enjoy.

3. Availability of Healthcare

When deciding how to pick a place to retire, quality and availability of healthcare are major considerations.

The best place to retire will have a large assortment of quality doctors, good hospitals, and plenty of affordable assisted living facilities. This is why a remote home in the mountains, where the nearest city or even town could be many miles away, might not be the best option.

Before you make any firm decision about where to retire, investigate the local healthcare infrastructure, and see if it’s likely to provide the quality service you’ll need.

4. Easy Walking Distance

The walkability of an area is an often overlooked consideration when determining how to decide where to retire.

Living on a fixed income is all about finding ways to cut costs and save money. And it turns out that transportation can be a major expense. That’s why finding a very walkable location can help you trim your spending.

Of course, improved walkability gives you an excuse to get out there and exercise, which will help keep you in shape and hopefully lower your healthcare costs and needs. And you may be able to ditch your expensive car altogether.

So be sure to check out a neighborhood’s “walk score” to find out how walkable it really is.

5. Assess the Tax Situation

Again, living on a fixed income constrains your retirement options.

So it’s important to evaluate the tax situation before you make any decision about where to retire. In the United States, there are seven states that do not assess income taxes: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

However, that doesn’t always translate to cost savings—there are often other taxes to make up for that. Florida, for instance, can have high property taxes.

Many states also tax retirement income, with the exception of Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. So keep these factors in mind when choosing a state to retire.

Meanwhile, there are other countries with low tax rates, making them attractive to retirees. These include the Bahamas, Belize, and Cyprus.

6. Available Amenities

Another thing to consider when deciding where to retire is what activities and amenities are available in a given location.

So while some areas may be attractive in terms of affordability and the tax situation, they might not have much else to offer. This is why you’ll want to evaluate the livability of a certain area.

Is there a vibrant local economy and retirement scene? Depending on how you wish to spend your retirement, you may want to be close to the cultural activities that you’ve always enjoyed. Of course, you may also want to stay close to places where your friends and family live.

7. Safety

It almost goes without saying that safety is a major factor when deciding where to retire.

It’s easy to evaluate the safety risks of a particular location. Crime statistics are available, and be sure to assess a city’s economic data and prospects to determine whether safety is likely to improve or decline.

The effects of the recent pandemic have led to sharp economic downturns, with accompanying civil unrest and burgeoning crime, in many large cities. On the other hand, smaller cities remain safe and popular destinations.

8. Quality of Life

Finally, you need to determine if a prospective retirement location can support the kind of life you’d like to lead.

This often comes down to the small things. Does the location offer the kinds of activities you enjoy? Does it have the kinds of stores and shopping areas you’ve grown used to? Are there social clubs and religious institutions present that you need for a fulfilling life?

These are the questions you need to answer before making any decision.

Know How to Decide Where to Retire

Figuring out how to decide where to retire is probably the biggest decision you’ll have to make once you’ve started drawing down that pension. But if you use these eight factors as a starting point, you can draw up a nice list to help you decide where to retire.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out our blog for more great information and advice!

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