to find a place to retire|
people retire every year, and they have to live somewhere. The question for many
Retirees have a lot of options.
They can stay in the current home, move to a more-suitable dwelling
nearby, move far away or even live a nomadic life. There is no such
thing as a perfect place to live in retirement, but there's a method
to finding a good match. Here are four pieces of advice.
1. Realize that your needs
Just as people switch careers
during their working lives, they often go through more than one phase of retirement,
says Andrew Schiller, founder of NeighborhoodScout,
a search engine that helps people figure out where to relocate. He says a 62-year-old
and an 85-year-old have different sets of needs, "and because of that, this
isn't just a decision that people make once -- and each time, their criteria are
a little different."
For a lot of white-collar people,
entering retirement is like slipping into a cold swimming pool:
They do it in increments, getting accustomed to the change, rather
than plunging in headfirst. These retirees gradually scale back
their work hours, easing into full retirement.
"They know they can stay in
touch with their computer and cell phone, and work anywhere they
want," says Tom Kelly, co-author of "Cashing
In on a Second Home in Mexico: How To Buy, Rent and Profit From
Property South of the Border."
List your values, likes and dislikes
Even if you plan to stay in the same place after you retire, it's
a good idea to draw up a list of what you want in a community. The
list might give you a newfound appreciation of your town, or it
might convince you to start looking around.
Numerous books offer rankings of cities based on categories such as climate, crime
rate and availability of medical care. They can give you ideas, but you should
come up with your own list of criteria, advises Warren Bland, author of "Retire
in Style: 60 Outstanding Places Across the USA and Canada."
his book, Bland scores cities on 12 factors. "Proximity to a
Talbots store" isn't one of those dozen criteria. But his wife, Sarah, couldn't
bear to live in a town without one of the specialty women's clothing stores. "People
can start out with the 12 criteria that I have, for example, and make their own
ratings when they visit," Bland says.
Bland, a geographer at California
State Univeristy, Northridge, spent about one to four days in each
of 90 cities while researching the book and its forerunner, which
described 50 affordable places to retire. One of his highest-rated
cities is Portland, Ore., and the Blands might retire there, when
they move from Los Angeles, for good. But they don't prefer Portland
just because it scores high. It's more complicated than that. They
like it because of "the combination of factors like absence
of bad things and the presence of good things that make it special."
The Blands like, among other things,
Portland's public transit system and the hilly landscape. Others
might not care about public transportation and prefer flat land
to hills. That's why you have to come up with your own criteria
Schiller says, "You might
want to consider other things like the tax bite, safety from crime,
how fast-paced or slow the area is and if it matches or maps onto
your value set. All those are important aspects to be included beyond
just affordability, beach and sunshine."