Researching Relocation in Retirement

Researching Relocation in Retirement

For some of us, there is no ONE place where all our family lives so the question becomes WHERE do I want to live in retirement.  My husband and I have five sons, 4 with families who all reside in different states.

Identify Your Primary Needs

There are many considerations outside of family.  The main considerations for us are in order of importance:  climate, crime, cost of living, city size and availability of and quality healthcare.  We have lived in towns throughout our lives of various sizes and have decided on small-town living in our retirement.  It’s very easy to find small towns in this great country of ours with low crime rates.

I will never be a person who wants to live where it gets very cold or snowy. My husband concurs.  We love our current home in Texas but the yearly increase in property taxes and HOA/POA fees have led to the decision to relocate in retirement.

Do Your Own Research

A great place to start to do your own research is www.areavibes.com.  You can start by entering a state name and it will show the overall livability of the best cities in that state.  Go to https://www.areavibes.com/city-comparison/ next which allows you to compare metrics with grades (A+ through F-) on up to 5 cities and focuses on the following categories:  Livability, Amenities, Cost of Living, Crime, Schools, Employment, Housing, and Weather.  You can click on each of these to get more detail.

Narrow Your Choices

Once I narrowed down to 2-3 main cities, I went to  www.bestplaces.net where you can get even more details and the ability to compare two cities.  There are now paid features but I have found all the information I personally needed with the basic features.  This site has a lot more categories for comparison: Overall, Cost of Living, Real Estate, Job Market, Crime, Climate, Weather, Education, Economy, Health, Religion, People, Politics & Voting, Housing, Commuting, Rankings, and Reviews.

I went to www.city-data.com next where I got a great visual breakdown of things with the main city search page like the level of humidity.  The most important part of this website is actually found by going to the forum at www.city-data.com/forum where you can click on a state and do a search on an actual city to see what other people are asking and saying about it and where you can post questions that others can answer.

Visit Your Top Choices

The next step is visiting your top 2-3 towns. Spend a few days, if you can.  Go to www.realtor.com and find some homes for sale and drive through the neighborhoods.  You can also stop by and visit a realtor.  We were very fortunate to find a realtor in our #1 choice that gave us some printouts and we just drove around for an entire day checking out neighborhoods.  We went to the downtown area.  We visited small restaurants and shops.  We visited a nearby town that had malls.

Research the Neighborhoods

Once we returned home I did some additional searches via www.niche.com.   I typed in the zip code I liked the best and confirmed what I observed to be true.  That site has the following ‘Report Card’ criteria: Overall Niche Grade, Public Schools, Housing, Good for Families, Crime & Safety, Nightlife & Diversity.  There is also information on Real Estate, a Map, Rankings, Residents, & Schools.

Pick What’s Best for You

I have purposely not mentioned the place we have chosen for a good reason.  It’s so important to do your own research and decide what is best for you.  The first place I went looked great on paper but was so incredibly humid, that I realized picking a hot climate wasn’t the only thing I wanted. 

The 2nd place we visited is where we intend to go.  We both felt very at home and could not get over how well it matched all our predetermined criteria.  We have not yet made it to the 3rd but plan to this summer sometime.  My husband still has about 5 years before he plans to retire but that can always change.

We are looking forward to retirement knowing we have a plan.  The new town is also a little more centrally located to more than half of our family which is an added bonus.

Best of luck in researching your own retirement haven!  I hope you let me know if this has helped you find your retirement destination!

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Hi Rita – I didn’t know there were so many great online resources available to make the decision making process so much simpler. We’re very fortunate to love where we live and for it to be an affordable area. I’ve noticed though that a lot of retirees want to move to somewhere closer to family, or warmer etc and this would certainly be really helpful for them in deciding. I’m glad you found your perfect place.

    1. Thanks, Leanne! I learned so much and I wanted to share it with others in hopes that they can find their perfect place as well!

  2. Lydia C. Lee

    Not sure I could do this – but good luck and it seems live you’ve worked it out well! #MLSTL

    1. Thank you, Lydia. We are still about 5 years out from retirement (husband still working) unless something changes but it was great having resources to narrow it down!

  3. Natalie

    Hi Rita, I’m glad you found a place that works for you in retirement. Good job planning ahead! #MLSTL

  4. Debbie Harris

    Hi Rita, we live in a small rural town in Australia and have done so for nearly 30 years. When we retired many people asked us where we were moving to, and were a bit perplexed when we said we weren’t moving but were making our home here where we had friends, a great lifestyle and a good base for our many travels. It’s interesting what decisions people make when retiring and one of the most important ones is being happy where you live, so I can see your post would be very useful to many people in that position. Good research is important and you’ve shared lost of resources to that end. Well done! Visiting from #mlstl

    1. Thanks, Debbie!! We don’t live near any of our kids so it’s a whole different ballgame. They are all over the US. Rita

    2. Julie phelan F

      Thank you so much for that information and wonderful post! You have touched on all the things that I think are super important and recommend to anybody but you gave me way more resources. I love city data but I also love Trulia.com because it gives you lots of the same information. But I think more important for people with kids because it gives great info on schools too. Thank you!

  5. Joanne

    When we chose to move from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast of South East Queensland we did it not from a viewpoint of retiring to there, but rather where we wanted to retire from. It’s a small but not insignificant difference. We’d researched it over years of coming up for holidays. I had no idea that the resources you’ve spoken of even existed #MLSTL

  6. Christina Henry

    Hi Rita, we appear to be on the same pathway towards researching the ideal location for retirement. I live in Australia and unfortunately your great resources aren’t available here, but we’ve done some of the legwork on our own. My brother has been a great help because he’s been researching areas to live self sufficiently for 30 years as a lifestyle choice. We recently visited a small island near Brisbane that ticked all the boxes for us and plan to move there in the future, along with my brother. I really enjoyed your article, regards Christina #mlstl

  7. Denyse Whelan

    A very interesting post with tools to help others. Thank you for sharing. Denyse. #mlstl

  8. Cheryl

    Hi Rita, I’m Australian and have lived overseas since 2007. I’m still overseas, and although I love my family back in Australia, I don’t want to live there. So, with my French husband, we plan on travelling around the world a bit to find a place where we can stay, and where we are comfortable. Cost of living is a huge issue for us, so it will probably be in Asia somewhere. But no plans yet to settle anywhere, we haven’t finished travelling yet! All the best with your 3rd choice, I’m sure you’ll make the right final decision when the time comes! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. We are still about 5 years out from retirement (husband still working) unless something changes but it was great having resources to narrow it down! I’ve been reading about your adventures. You are a brave soul!!! Rita

  9. Christie Hawkes

    Hello Rita. I’m coming to your site through #MLSTL. Thanks for sharing some great tools for choosing a retirement location. My husband and I are building a home now for our future retirement, but it was fun plugging it into the various sites and seeing what came up. It looks like we did okay! Thanks again. I hope you are having a lovely week!

    ~Christie

  10. Hi Rita, I live on the Gold Coast in Australia and we moved here about 12 months ago. We are one hour away from family and I don’t think I could move further away. I love interacting with my grandsons and spend one day a week with them. My husband and I have talked about taking 6 months in Italy where is was born but in reality I think I would miss my family too much. You are certainly researching well and I think that is the key. Having a plan that has been researched well and one that you feel comfortable with. Lovely to have you join us at #MLSL. and take care xx

    1. I completely get that, Sue. Our kids are spread all over the US so there is no one place for us to go to be close to all of them! Thanks!

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