Should I Relocate For Retirement?

One of the main questions I get for pre-retirees is where to live for their retirement years.  If you are like the majority of folks, you picture retirement somewhere on the beach with a golf course and spa nearby.  The reality is, that will be way more expensive than you think, and will probably suffocate your expenses that you count on to live comfortably.  I am betting that we don’t calculate the higher cost of insurance to live at or on the beach as one of those rising costs that can dwindle our money.  Then their are the snowbirds.  How many visitors come every year? Does this make an impact on how long it takes you to go to the store or just go for a stroll down the beach?  As great as it sounds, there are many negatives also.  So where is the recommended living place for retirees and what should we look for?

Typically, you want to find somewhere that has the amenities that are most important to you.  If you want to golf for retirement, then a place with good golf courses.  If you are planning on being a traveler, then possibly a city with or very nearby an international airport.  This all, of course, depends on the balance of your retirement accounts.  Living in LA, or Boston or NY is going to take some monthly cash, not to mention the cost of living in those places are through the roof and climbing.  Can you keep up with inflation in these areas would be something to think of as well.  If you can live just fine now, can you maintain the same lifestyle in 10 years with costs going up?

Some retirees think about living in another country.  Costa Rica or Panama are locations I hear quite a bit as the cost of living is very low compared the the US.  I have a family member who retired to Panama, and loves it.  Beach living, pool side, golf courses, and of course, the country is a mega bank city with an ok economy.  Aside from the low cost of living, other variables are less expensive …like food.  He can get a pound of fresh shrimp for .99 cents.  The good stuff too.  I can’t tell you anytime outside of a Red Lobster add I see  fresh king shrimp for .99 cents per pound!  I know it sounds great, but it has it’s downsides too.  It is very expensive to travel in and out of the country, there isn’t a lot of good technology, and communications are spotty at best.  There is some crime if you are in the wrong part of…well, most of the place.  Those are some things we didn’t know prior to moving there and we should have researched.

Without being specific, all these are factors to look into before you make a decision.  Am I a beach, city or mountain person, transportation costs, crime rates, cost of living, access.  Are there things that happen here that I enjoy doing (i.e  museums or arts and craft places)?  Can my kids visit? Can I get in and out of the place easy if I need to?  Can I afford the fixed costs?  That last one is huge.  If all else breaks down, can I still keep my house , car, and provide food and water?  Your extra curricular activities can be put on hold.  The roof over your head can’t.

One way to ensure everything runs smooth is to look into the right type of retirement product for you.  Are you a safe person? Do I take risks?  Should I be in the market to make more, or use an indexed annuity to guarantee me a lifetime check?  A move for retirement is a VERY big deal. It sounds easy, but there are so many variables to it that it would make the process of choosing more difficult than it needs to be.  Bottom line, do your research.

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