Some people decide to remain in the same location — and the same house — in which they’ve spent most of their years. Others decide to live in a completely different location that’s closer to family, warmer, or requires less maintenance.
But, what factors should inform your decision about where to live? Here are three essential factors to consider.
- What’s the Cost of Living?
It’s likely that you have a pretty good handle on what it costs to live in your current location. You’ve got a good handle on day-to-day expenses, travel, housing and taxes.
When you choose to relocate in retirement, all of this could change at once. The most expensive state to live in, for example, is Hawaii. The cost of living there is 95.8% higher than the national average. Other expensive locations include the District of Columbia (57.7% higher), New York (52.56%), and California (46.99%).
The least expensive states to live in are Mississippi (15.22% cheaper than the national average), Arkansas (11.46% cheaper), New Mexico (11.14%), and Oklahoma (10.22%).
The average cost of living — which includes everyday essentials, housing, and taxes — ultimately determines the value of your dollar. Understanding the cost of living in the state you wish to live in will help determine whether you have enough saved for retirement. That’s because, for example, $1 goes a whole lot further in Mississippi than it does in Hawaii.
- How Close Are You to Family?
Most people love to use retirement to spend extra time with their friends and family. An important thing to consider before you relocate is how close you’ll be to the family and friends you want to spend the most time with.
Living further away from these people doesn’t mean you can’t see them, obviously. However, it may mean that it costs you more money to do so.
Make sure that if you plan to relocate in retirement, you factor in these travel expenses. It may not amount to much, but it’s important to know all of your expenses.
- How Accessible Is It?
Accessibility is always important in retirement, though this applies to more areas of life than you might think. There are obviously physical accessibility features that you should keep in mind if that’s something you’ll need.
D. Paterson Cope explains that you should also factor in the accessibility of your new location to healthcare facilities and the various amenities you might need or desire.
Healthcare access is an extremely important part of retirement. You may be used to having a lot of choice and easy access to healthcare in your current location. But, if you’re moving somewhere more remote, the accessibility might be much more limited. This could be a lifestyle change, as well as one that could increase your cost of transportation.
About D. Paterson Cope
- Paterson Cope, CFP® is the founder and CEO of Cope Private Wealth, a financial planning and wealth management firm specializing in assisting retirees and people who are about to retire. D. Paterson Cope has been providing financial advice for more than 30 years. He first earned the designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in 1997. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Jennifer Miree Cope, and the rest of his family in Mountain Brook.