The internet is full of recommendations in terms of the best places for retirement. But what works for someone else might not work for you. There are aspects that some people factor in that you might not consider relevant.
It’s not an easy decision. However, if the place you’re already living in or thinking of moving to ticks the following boxes, you might want to reconsider your retirement options. On that note, here are 10 Best and Worst Things to Do When Looking for a Place to Retire
1. There’s no affordable housing
The importance of affordable housing for Americans, and people all over the world for that matter, is undeniable. For most people, a house is the definition of shelter, security and safety, and housing is their family’s most important expenditure. In the United States, statistics show that more than two-thirds of Americans spend their time at home, revealing that housing is also a major contributor when it comes to overall health and well-being, especially in retirement.
This means that a place with no affordable housing can really take a toll on your retirement budget, add more stress into your life and consequently affect your health. Rule number one when choosing your future retirement destination? Don’t move to an area that has no affordable housing prices and rents!
2. Entertainment is limited
Retirement is not the end of the road. Just because you’ve retired doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some fun. You’ll have all the time in the world, so why not take advantage of your newfound freedom? Think about what you would like to do in retirement and try to find a place that ticks most of your boxes.
Generally, college towns are at the top of the recommendation list due to their variety of cultural and entertainment opportunities like concerts, theater plays, art events and the like. But what if you’re a major league sports fan? Or want to search for hidden gems at the local flea market? Whatever it is you’re looking for, do your research and make sure your future retirement community has it. You wouldn’t want to regret your decision, would you?
For more inside information on retirement destinations, check out 8 Things You Should Know Before Retiring to Florida.
3. Nobody is hiring
Retirement is also not the end of worklife. Many Americans try retirement and change their minds after a while, realizing they’re just not ready to give up working life for good. From financial reasons to boredom or the need to stay fit mentally and physically, more and more retirees entertain the idea of going back to work.
“We asked people over 50 who weren’t working, or looking for a job, whether they’d return if the right opportunity came along,” Kathleen Mullen, a RAND senior economist and co-author of its American Working Conditions Survey said. “About half said yes.” This stresses the importance of living in a town with attractive job options even more. If you want to go back to work, the best place to do it is in an area with numerous living-wage jobs and a healthy economy.
If you’re also not ready to give up working just yet, here are 8 Perfect Jobs for Retirees Who Want to Keep Working.
4. Premium medical services are hard to find
Like it or not, older adults need far more health care services than younger people. More than that, most of them suffer from one or more long-term conditions and require different and far more complex medical attention from specialized doctors such as orthopedic or geriatric physicians.
Even if you don’t have any serious medical problems, it’s still good to know there’s someone you can rely on in case you need to at some point. If the place you want to spend your retirement years doesn’t have premium medical services, you might want to hit the search button all over again.
For more retirement tips, read 11 Things You Should Consider Selling Before You Retire.
5. You’re too far from your family
You might not think that a little geographical separation is a big deal but it can be, especially when you need the help of your children or other family members. Long-distance caregiving can be quite challenging and frustrating, for the person in need of support as well as for the caregiver.
Moving far away from your adult children will make it more difficult for them to reach you and elicit a great deal of worry, stress and anxiety on their part. Not to mention you won’t get to see each other for extended periods of time.
6. Senior housing options are limited
Based on a report by Family Caregiver Alliance, “among the population aged 65+, 69% will develop disabilities before they die, and 35% will eventually enter a nursing home”. This means it’s important to live in an area where there are plenty of housing options to choose from, depending on the senior’s health status, mobility and need for homecare.
From at-home care and senior apartments to assisted living facilities and nursing homes, assure yourself that the retirement community you want to live in can provide an affordable housing option that you’re comfortable with.
7. Public transportation is subpar
Public transportation is incredibly important to older people’s quality of life, their sense of freedom and independence. It plays a crucial role in helping seniors maintain their active lifestyles, avail themselves of goods, services and even employment if they choose to work past retirement.
Younger retirees might not mind a poorer public transportation as they can simply use their cars to get around in the community, but for seniors, a place with buses, trains, cabs and ride-sharing companies to choose from, is of utmost importance.
The lesson here: Before moving to your new retirement town, make sure its public transportation is not lousy and you have the liberty and means to move around as you please.
8. There’s no social life whatsoever
For many people, work is not only the place where they earn money and spend most of their time but also a place that helps them stay socially active and engaged in social relationships. Studies show that this sort of social engagement can improve our physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, keeping an active social life becomes more difficult as we age, especially after we retire and move to a new community where we don’t know anyone. To avoid becoming a grumpy and unhappy old man, do a little research. Visit the place you’re thinking of moving to and see for yourself what people there are like to newcomers. Even if you are not exactly a social butterfly, being surrounded by cold and grim people won’t do you any good.
9. Learning opportunities are scarce
One of the perks of retirement life is that you have a lot of time to do whatever you want. If you’ve always dreamed of learning Spanish, the art of sewing and whatnot, make sure your new community can provide plenty of learning opportunities. There’s nothing sadder than wanting to learn something new or improving an older skill and having no means available to do that.
To make sure the place you want to retire is not a learning desert, visit the community’s website and investigate if there are any classes provided by the local college for retirees, clubs, workshops, events or group activities organized for community members.