Posted by: drdata921 | August 2, 2013

RETIREMENT RELOCATION: Finding Your Little Slice of Heaven

Retirement Relocation: Finding Your Little Slice of Heaven

Where will you live in retirement? Will you stay put or will you be the one of roughly 50% – 60% of boomers who say that they will relocate. Some retirees are happy in their pre-retirement location and some are looking for more. If you are looking for more, where will you “find your little slice of heaven?”

Perhaps you know where you will go. Maybe it is a favorite vacation spot or a city closer to family and friends. Or, you may know generally what you would like, but don’t have a specific location in mind. If you are looking for a location, how do you figure this out? Believe it or not, there are resources to help.

Leveraging the Available Resources

The premier guide for information about potential retirement locations is the book, Retirement Places Rated. This guidebook rates 200 potential retirement locations on several factors. These factors include climate, the economy, services, ambience, cost-of-living, housing, and personal safety. Each location is rated and ranked on each factor. In the book, there are detailed discussions for each of the 200 locations on each of the factors. So, you will know all about the climate, the economy, crime statistics, and the like. At the end of the book, these rankings are brought together and an overall ranking is provided. This is helpful, but for your use, you need to prioritize each factor so that you know which ones are the most important to you.

If you are heading for retirement and looking for a location that will work for you, this guide is a must have. This book was last updated in 2007 which dates it a bit. Nonetheless, it is a very useful guide. If you find a specific location of interest, Google the location and look at specific websites dedicated to it. For most places, you can view photographs, read descriptions and peruse reviews, etc. By the way, I have also found the YouTube website to be useful. Go to YouTube (www.youtube.com) and search for the location. Sometimes videos of the area have been posted.

Amazon Link to Retirement Places Rated

If you find locations where you would seriously consider moving, you can go onto the relevant MLS (Multiple Listing Service) site to look at houses for sale in your price range with your criteria for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, type of housing such as condo, single family, townhouse, etc. For example, we have decided to relocate to Pensacola, Florida. So we Googled “MLS Pensacola” and real estate that is currently for sale was listed with detailed descriptions and photographs.

Also, if you haven’t discovered “Google Earth,” this is a fantastic resource that you need to explore. If you find a specific address for sale on the MLS site that is of interest, enter the address into Google Earth and it will visually take you to the location so that you can see the house, the neighborhood around the house and, in some cases, a 3-D view at street level where you can do a 360 degree panorama. You literally start in outer space and zoom down to just above ground level. Google Earth can be downloaded and installed for free from the Google website (google.com). Many of the better MLS sites have automatic links to Google Earth right on the property description – just click the link and Google Earth takes you to the house. You may need to download and install Google Earth before you go to the MLS website.

One warning however: if you go onto a MLS site, in many cases, you will be required to provide personal information such as name, your e-mail, when you plan to relocate, etc. before you are allowed to access the site. After that, a realtor will begin sending you information about houses that fit your criteria as they come up on the market. These are detailed descriptions with photographs of the interior and exterior of the house. In some cases, I get daily e-mails. This is useful if you are serious about a location. Of course, you can always unsubscribe and they will stop sending information. I am still getting real estate listings from locations we were considering, but decided against two years ago.

If you have a specific city in mind for relocation you might visit the “Boomerater” website. Just Google “Boomerater” and it should be the first option on the screen. Then select the Housing and Community option to see if anyone has written a review about living in that location. Not all locations have been reviewed, but I have generally found the reviews that are available to be very useful for understanding the pluses and minuses of a location. These reviews are written by people who either live or have lived in the area. So, you get the perspective of someone who knows or at least has an educated perspective.

Don’t Forget the Financial Implications of a Move

Of course, retirement financial security may be top-of-mind. Relocation can help your solvency if you move to a place with a lower cost-of-living. On the other hand relocate to a places that is more expensive and you may deal you finances a blow. Retirement Places Rated will help. Also see my previous post (Relocation Possibilities II – April Archives) for a more detailed discussion about how to evaluate various locations on cost-of-living.

So, if your goal is to relocate to a city where you have good recreational opportunities, a manageable cost-of-living, great ambience and a place where you can keep your life journey rolling as you move to the next phase, leverage these resources to help you understand the options. If you do it right, you can retire to “your little slice of heaven.”

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Responses

  1. Wall Street Journal has an interesting article this weekend, try google for “Hip, Urban, Middle-Aged”

    • Thank you for the comment and the kind words about the blog. The Wall Street Journal article sounds interesting and I will read it.


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