I'll admit to being fascinated by this topic even though I'm a decade from when I plan to retire. There's always a slideshow showing the top 10 places to retire, based on some decision points that may or not be relevant to you. Bankrate does this -- rating all 50 states each year using eight different factors.The state that has the highest overall score, in 2014, is South Dakota. The table below gives a sampling of survey results both domestic, and abroad, for 2014.
The best places to retire
|Bankrate: Best places to retire: How your state ranks (2014)||Forbes: Best places to retire to in the US in 2014||Forbes: The Best Countries To Retire To In 2014||U.S. News: The World's Best Places to Retire in 2014|
|1||South Dakota||Venice, FL||Panama||Coronado, Panama|
|3||Utah||Morgantown, WV||Malaysia||Ambergris Caye, Belize|
|4||North Dakota||Fredericksburg, Texas||Costa Rica||Cuenca, Ecuador|
The best places to retire
|Bankrate: Best places to retire: How your state ranks (2014)||1. South Dakota||2. Colorado||3. Utah||4. North Dakota|
|Forbes: Best places to retire to in the US in 2014||1. Venice, FL||2. Philadelphia||3. Morgantown, WV||4. Fredericksburg, Texas|
|Forbes: The Best Countries To Retire To In 2014||1. Panama||2. Ecuador||3. Malaysia||4. Costa Rica|
|U.S. News: The World's Best Places to Retire in 2014||1. Coronado, Panama||2. Languedoc, France||3. Ambergris Caye, Belize||4. Cuenca, Ecuador|
For those retirees not "aging in place," picking a new home needs to be a little more personal than the results of a survey. Health care availability, taxes, crime, cost, of living, and the weather may all be important, but so are proximity to family and friends, being able to pursue interests -- whether that's a golf game, or the arts; they all play a role. What's important to you? One of the things to avoid is having to move too many times in retirement. The cost of moving, from real estate commissions, closing costs, and the one that always takes me by surprise -- decorating, moving is both an expense and a chore.
Family friends test drove a retirement community in Florida by being snowbirds there for a year or two, renting a property before deciding it wasn't right for them. Another friend decided that, rather than keeping the family homestead, to buy a condo on the water in Florida, and another in Delaware and split his time between them. Think things through and don't make decisions on an impulse.
As an empty nester, I've already made the decision to downsize and have done so with no regrets. I like my smaller space, and the monthly nut to keep things going is far more manageable from lower: mortgage payments, property taxes, energy use, and lawn care. I'm not sure that I'll age in place, but I've put myself in a position where it would be easier to do so, if that's my choice.
Read more on the topic: Tips For moving during retirement
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