Many retirees dream of relocating to someplace idyllic after they’re done with the 9-5 slog. In fact, 400,000 retirees moved in 2020, which was the highest number in five years. Most of those retirees stayed in the same state, but 38% of them moved away. Perhaps an out-of-state move after you retire is something you find intriguing.

Planning to relocate when you retire? Here are some important points to consider and research before you pack up and run off to Boca Raton. 

Things to consider if you are planning to relocate when you retire:

The cost of living

Most people would look into the cost of relocating before doing so, but it’s important to remember that there are often expenses that can be overlooked. Make sure, for instance, to thoroughly research state tax laws. This includes looking at estate taxes, income taxes, and inheritance taxes. Homeowners insurance is another cost that can vary widely depending on where you want to live, particularly in places that are prone to significant weather events (ahem, Florida.) Finally, consider the cost of living at your dream location. If it’s anywhere remote you might be paying a lot more for a gallon of milk than you are now, for instance. Will you be paying more for heat or air conditioning? If so, how much? These kinds of things really add up when you’re on a fixed income.

Family: too close or too far?

Depending on your situation, you might be considering a move closer to family. This is always wonderful in theory, but make sure you are thinking long and hard about the details. Do you want to be close enough to care for your grandchildren more often? If so, consider how close you really want to be; being too close could make you the de facto free babysitter. And maybe you’re fine with that, but it can be hard to establish boundaries before bad habits are solidified, so sometimes it’s best to be nearby but not next door, if you get our drift. 

On the other hand, maybe you’re already surrounded by family and you’re looking to finally break free and live in your dream locale. Have you talked with them about your plans to move away? Depending on your age and health, your family might have a big problem with suddenly needing to purchase plane tickets for a visit. Not that you should let this stop you, but if your family is a strong support system, it might be more jarring than you think to suddenly be without it.


Before leaving your home, assess your current community. Have you lived in the same place for years? Do you have an established “village,” so to speak? If so, leaving may be harder than you think. Many retirees that relocate after retirement find themselves reeling because they are finally where they want to be geographically, but without the comforts and support systems, they’ve always enjoyed. 

In addition to thinking long and hard about what you’d be leaving, you should check out the community that you’re looking to inhabit in the future. Will the people there have the same values as you do? While you may think it’s not that important, these factors will end up playing a huge role in your ability to make new friends and build new support systems. While it’s definitely possible to thrive in a community that doesn’t totally jibe with your vibrations, it will be much more fun to live somewhere you can actually fit in.

Even if you’re not looking to make new friends, the community around you is still a big factor. Is it amenable to retirees? Will you be able to pursue your favorite hobbies and pastimes? And, if you’re relying on family to be your social outlet, make sure they’re up for it, too! It could be a lot of pressure on them if they are going to be your sole source of social interaction.

Climate realities

Climate was probably one of the first things you considered when you started thinking about relocating but are you sure you want to live there forever? Florida sunshine is glorious when you’re just visiting, but it’s a whole new ballgame when you are living there and need to run errands in the boggy heat of late August. Contrarily, the mountains of Colorado make stunning scenery to live beneath, but their winters don’t mess around. Make sure that your vision for retirement is one based on reality and not romantic reminiscences of vacations passed.

Access to medical care

No one wants to think about worst-case medical scenarios, but when you’re looking for the perfect place to spend your golden years it’s something you can’t ignore. Once you’ve found the place you’re considering relocating to, research options for regular healthcare as well as emergency services. Smaller towns are going to have fewer options when it comes to quality care (just an unfortunate fact), so try to do some boots-on-the-ground research if possible.

Practice the move

One savvy way to figure out all of these considerations would be to do a trial run. If possible, rent a home close to where you want to live and stay there for a few weeks (or months, if possible!) Pay attention to how long it takes to get to the store, how badly traffic is impacted by school releases or shopping areas, and other daily bugaboos that could end up being deal-breakers. This way you can assess if the neighborhood is really what you think it is in terms of daily ebb and flow. This is especially important if your dream location also happens to be a popular vacation spot; try to visit when it’s busy as well as in the off-season so that you know whether you still like it when it’s not at its most likable. 

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