to find a place to retire|
He calls the list a "recipe" of things that
are important to you. He recommends keeping it to around 15 to 20
items. "Then go through the struggle with your significant
other by putting them in order, so if you have something that's
No. 1 there can't be another No. 1."
3. Find out what your target
places are like
Once you have a list of things you want in a community, do some
research in books and online, and consult your memory of past vacations
to come up with a prospective list of cities.
Remember to include the town where you live now. "Evaluate how closely you're
tied with your local area," Schiller says: You have friends and maybe family
nearby, and you know your doctor and belong to local organizations. About three-quarters
of retirees consider relocating, and about three-quarters end up within 50 miles
of where they were living before retirement.
move to your favorite vacation destination. If you like Florida or Arizona in
winter, you might hate it in summer. You might enjoy the autumn leaves in the
Berkshires, but find it brutally cold in winter.
If you can swing it financially, try to live for
at least a few weeks each in the places you're considering. Bland
recommends spending a lot of time there at the worst time of the
year -- when it's most crowded with tourists or students or when
the weather is least comfortable. He and his wife spent three winters
in a row in Portland, when the weather is at its cloudiest. They
liked it anyway.
The cost of living is lower in Portland, too -- at least, for the Blands. After
all, they live in Los Angeles, with some of the highest home values in the country.
A lot of retirees have owned homes for a long time in high-price areas, and they
can take advantage of what Bland calls "equity take" -- selling a house
for a lot of money, buying a home elsewhere for much less, and saving the rest
to fund retirement.
Schiller warns people not to focus too much on the
cost of living. There are other factors that are easy to overlook,
such as the residents' level of education. Subscribers to NeighborhoodScout
(cost varies from $19.95 for a week to $99.95 for a year) can map
the education levels of an area's residents, find out where the
best public schools are and so on.
Remember that you probably will end up selling the
house someday, so even though you don't have children, you might want to buy in
a good school district, so the home's value holds up.
Many retirees move, then discover that they chose the wrong place.
So they move back to where they came from. Schiller calls this "churn,"
and notes that it wastes a lot of money -- moving charges, real
estate commissions and so on. Churn is stressful, too.
In Phoenix, Schiller says, for every five people
who move to the city, three move out. Florida has a lot of churn,
too, he says, as Northeasterners move to the Sunshine State and
discover that it's sunnier, hotter and more humid in the summer
than they dreamed possible.
You could embrace another kind of churn. Many retirees
split their time between two
homes, and others live
the nomadic life in a recreational vehicle or aboard a boat.
They even do that while working part time, Kelly says: "The
options for these folks are just all over the board given their
interests and the ability to telecommute."