At some point in your retirement
planning you must ask yourself where you would like to spend your Golden Years.
The following questions and insight should place you on the right path for
finding just the location that suits your needs.
The first question you must ask yourselves is if you want to stay in the home in
which you are currently living or if you would like to move elsewhere.
Retirement is a big step and sometimes people feel more secure staying in
familiar surroundings because it makes the transition to your new lifestyle
smoother. Others, for financial reasons, a change of pace, health reasons, or
for better weather, want to relocate. In this case, the next decision you must
make is if you want to stay in your home country or
If you want to stay in your home country then you must decide what sort of
climate is most attractive to you. Do you want to experience the four seasons or
have a more moderate, year-round climate? Do you like mountains or beaches? What
size of city or town do you most enjoy? These several questions are very
important because they will automatically exclude places you wonít need to
research. Knowing what you prefer in climate, city size and geographical
configuration carries a lot of weight in terms of your happiness quotient.
Another thing to consider is that if you choose a town or small city, are there
adequate medical facilities nearby? Larger cities tend to have a full range of
medical care. Smaller towns generally have clinics and a variety of doctorís
offices, but perhaps not the equipment needed for complex medical situations.
Narrowing your search
How important are activities such as hiking, biking, sports and
access to nature versus more city type activities such as theater, fine dining,
bridge, mahjong, museums, concerts and art events? Would you like to live near a
University so you have the energizing qualities of youth plus all the activities
(and lower prices) that a university town offers?
Do you want to
snowbird or travel part of the year? Are you
willing to downsize your home if necessary to accomplish this style of
retirement? Are you amenable to home exchange or
sitting to achieve these
travel desires? Or do you want a traditional retirement community?
Asking yourself this range of questions narrows your search even
further and defines a location that is well suited to your preferred style of
Chiang Mai, Thailand is a Cost Effective Retirement Location
No matter what size of town or city you find yourself choosing,
another important factor is cost of living. There are many locations in the
States that have a below average cost of
Or perhaps average cost of living or higher will suit you just fine. Do any of
these places fill your requirements for city size, weather, geographic beauty
and medical facilities?
The more you as a couple can describe your requirements to be
happy, the easier it is to find a retirement location which will fulfill your
needs. Make a list of what is important to you and put these requirements in
numerical order of importance. You might find that you must make concessions,
but not necessarily so. If most of your requirements are fulfilled, then you
have been successful in your search.
In making our own list of what we wanted
in a retirement location, climate was a big
consideration. We also
like to have access to a variety
of fresh food and dining options. We want to experience
natural beauty and prefer large towns over big cities
and to have an international airport within reasonable
distance so that we can continue our travels easily.
For the most part, we live overseas so having an active Expat community is significant. We also make use of
Medical Tourism for our medical needs.
If you find that your retirement is under funded, or if you enjoy
travel and a bit of the exotic, those are good reasons to consider moving
overseas for a retirement haven. Countries such as
Panama, Costa Rica
Guatemala are close to the States and Canada and are on similar time zones,
so itís easier to snowbird back to a home to visit children and grandchildren or
to call them on Skype or Facetime. You may choose to live in these foreign
locations full time. These countries offer
beaches and they all have active Expat communities. Excellent
medical care is available also.
If you are considering moving overseas, then becoming familiar
with Expat Forums
is essential. These forums are free to join and will give you access to those
who are already living in areas that attract you. Read threads on daily life,
house rental, cost of living, visas and residency permits or start your own
thread with specific questions you want answered.
Now that you have your list of requirements and you have narrowed your search
itís time to test the waters. Nothing replaces going to the location of your
choice and seeing first hand if it will work for you. If at all possible, rent
an apartment or home in these locations for several months, hopefully several
seasons, before you shell out money to purchase.
For instance, in an active adult community you will want to know if you like
your neighbors, if there is enough social activity going on during season to
keep you occupied, and if food shopping and dining options are close by. If you
are moving overseas, you might be enthralled with the spring or autumn weather,
but perhaps the rainy season doesnít work for you, or the summers are too hot
and humid. If you wait to purchase a home and rent something instead, you might
find that you prefer the town just down the road rather than the one you are
Allow yourself some time to observe and to adjust to your new location before
you make any binding decisions. You wonít regret this, and it puts the power
back into your hands.
For more information on relocating in retirement, take a look at our