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Move or Stay in Retirement? Big Questions to Answer

Category: Retirement Planning

August 6, 2019 — Perhaps the most fundamental question you face in retirement is to move or not. You might be considering retiring from the midwest, for example, to the Sunbelt. Or from the suburbs to a city or active adult community. You decision might not mean moving far; perhaps just relocating to a more age-appropriate home in the area where you live now. Whatever you decide, we think that if you are going to do a good job of retiring, you need to answer the question.

As for where to retire, that is mostly what this site is about. We’ve written all kinds of articles about the possibilities, with reviews of thousands of towns and communities to explore. So in this one we are going to try to answer some of the questions that might come up as you think about whether you should move or not. (Thanks to Jeanette Pavini of TheStreet.com for posing these questions we answered in an article at TheStreet.com)


Q: How should someone determine if they should stay in their current home/location to retire, or if they should consider moving?
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A:  As we said up top, this is a hugely important question for retirees. The type of home you live in and where it is located can have a profound impact on your retirement lifestyle. Most people are comfortable living where they have always lived, so it is a big deal to consider moving. There is hassle, expense, and the fear and uncertainty of moving to the unknown. Your social life will be majorly affected.

Some of the big factors that affect your decision are:

Budget.  Are you worried you won’t have enough money to maintain your pre-retirement lifestyle? If so you can probably move to a less expensive home and/or locale and save enough money to keep up your lifestyle.

Your abilities. The key here is to start thinking longer term, because if you are lucky you will live to a nice old age.  You might be able to clean the gutters and mow the lawn now, but how will you feel about jobs like those in 15 or 20 years? What happens if you or spouse can’t walk up the stairs to an upstairs bedroom, or if your home has multiple levels to negotiate? If you can no longer drive, how will you go shopping and to the doctor?  A good plan is to make one move early, or at least go to a location where you can transition to independent or assisted living without having to make a major move in your old age.

Social. In old age, living by yourself in a suburban home is a good recipe for loneliness. Unless you are a hermit or make younger friends very easily, moving to a place with a built-in social life, like an active community, cohousing community, or downtown apartment, might be a better plan. Some retirees move to be near their children or friends – often a good solution for their social life.

Activities and climate. Can you do all of the things you like to do where you live now – year round ? If so, staying might be a good idea. But if warm weather pursuits are important to you, consider moving to a warmer climate. Likewise move if you hate the cold or humidity. If the beach or the mountains are where you have always wanted to live – great.  And of course, there are those who love winter activities, and there are places they might to retire to.

Distance. Are you going to be OK relocating far away from your friends, family, clubs, stores, doctors, church, etc.? Some people have deep tap roots, and starting over on so many fronts would be very disturbing. For others, it is “get me out of here fast!”

Q: What are costs people often overlook when considering a move for retirement?

A: Everyone expects that there will be moving expenses and closing costs when you buy or rent a new home. But there are other ones you might not have thought about. Two unexpected costs might be buying new furniture/appliances and, if you choose to be a snowbird and have two homes, having to buy duplicates of everything you own now. When you buy in an existing active adult or 55+ community there is a good chance that the previous owner will want to sell you their furnishings, and that will probably be a good deal for you. But if the home is empty when you take possession, you will be either be moving what you own now or buying lots of new stuff. The problem with moving what you have now is that it not only costs money, but it probably won’t be a good style fit in your new location. Think New England antiques crowded into a Florida condo – it rarely works. The good news is that in many areas consignment shops have plenty of top drawer items that can be purchased at bargain prices.

Q. Should someone rent in the area they are considering moving to before buying a home?

A:  Absolutely!  I don’t know how many times someone at Topretirements.com site has made a comment along the lines of, “If I had only rented for a while I would have realized that .. , was so far from everything… the people were so… etc.).  Stay and Play packages offered by many active or 55+ communities are great for getting an on the ground picture of a place to retire. But, buying a place impulsively is often a very big mistake. Renting has the huge advantage of giving you an automatic out if you don’t like what you see. Renting over several seasons gives you the chance to sample different towns, states, and communities without taking a big risk.

Bottom line. Deciding if you are going to move is a big deal that needs to be thought through. We hope this article has given you some things to think about as you go through the decision process. Remember that very few people end up in their final days where they lived when they retired. Their lifestyles changed, and if they live long enough, it won’t be possible for them to continue living in those homes. Planning is always a great idea.

Comments? What are some of the questions and worries you have about moving in retirement? Are you and your spouse of one mind on the topic? If you have moved, how big a deal was it, and what kinds of surprises did you experience? Please share your thoughts, concerns, and opinions in the Comments section below.

For further reading:

Survey Results: Topretirements Members Planning Big Moves

Posted by Admin on August 5th, 2019

58 Comments »

  1. We have moved around for work, over the years so, it wasn’t hard to make the move for retirement! We went south for the $$ and knew we wouldn’t be staying.

    To make our choice we began with a list of questions. We talked to each other a LOT to make sure we would end up with BOTH of us happy! SO, since we know people everywhere we started with:
    Stay in the US or go overseas? US
    West of the Mississippi or East? East – more family on that side
    Mountains or coast? Coast – we just like it
    Gulf or Ocean? Ocean – personal preference
    Then we worked our way up the coast – from “too hot” to “might work out” to “lets go!”

    We began a spread sheet, looked up data, made notes, compared expenses, talked to people and read forums like this one. We made a trip up in 2015 with a list of things to check out in a week. (The Medical Gym folks, this summer, remembered us from that visit!) We estimated costs and worked with two Financial Reps to make sure we could generate enough income to survive then ended up in Maine 1-1/2 years ago and LOVE IT!!!! We both feel like we’ve come home!

    Because we DID plan ahead, we were able to purchase a new home before DH actually left the job. Made it easier to obtain a mortgage. Once he gave notice, we were able to move, sell the empty house, pay down the new mortgage (and do some rennovations) and get situated in Maine before winter. We are now in place as we look ahead for the change over to Medicare. I have heard it is harder to find new Drs. once you are on Medicare but if you are already a patient, it is easier to stay with the group. That encouraged us to make the move, sooner rather than later.

    Good luck with your decisions!!

    by Flatearth6 — August 6, 2019

  2. We are completing the renovations on our McMansion and will be putting it on the market next spring. However, I think we need a structured way of looking at where we will go after it sells. We haven’t decided on anything yet other than we don’t need a 5 bedroom house any more for the two of us. I’d be interested in any recommendations for a guide, book, course etc. for working our way through this decision-making process. Any suggestions?

    by LS — August 7, 2019

  3. LS – Congrats on your decision to sell the McMansion. That’s a good first step and your second good move is to really think about what kind of house is next. This article on the future of 55+ housing might give you some ideas https://www.topretirements.com/blog/home-and-garden/10-ways-retirement-living-will-change-in-the-future.html/ Also, lots of articles in the Home and Garden section of the Blog (see right hand column) that touch on this. I suggest talking to as many retired people who have moved as you can to see what their experience taught them. In my opinion some people move to too much house, thinking they will be overrun by children/grandchildren. If you live on a beach, maybe. But you can always rent a nearby house or put people up in a motel for the once a year or less you need more than 2 or even 3 bedrooms. Universal design is key – we don’t know what lies ahead for us except that we are not getting any younger!

    by Admin — August 7, 2019

  4. Still visiting different places to check out locations for retirement. Wondering if retiring abroad on a tropical location would be safe. Would live to live near the beach and a walkable area but concerned about the safety of leaving US and medical care in foreign country. Hard to beat the potential tax benefits of moving to Florida after living in Connecticut for 27 years. Still pondering…and feeling extremely indecisive. Have visited many places on top lists for retirement and felt it was not for us…so we are still looking!

    by Jasmine — August 7, 2019

  5. We moved from Central NJ to the Olympic Peninsula in May. It took us over five years, maybe ten if I add all the vacations to other states we strongly considered
    We moved to be closer to family and to an area more in keeping with our values.
    We also wanted to downsize. Taxes and cost of living were not the reasons we left NJ! Had we been happy we would have stayed.
    After years of week at time rentals, research into cost of living and area amenities we chose Washington. We are 90 minutes from our daughter and her family. Our son is in CA but has business in Seattle frequently. We bought in an area filled with retirees but not with age restrictions. We have a golf course, access to boating, a community center… There is more to do here than when I lived less than an hour from NYC or Philly. Concerts, dinners, festivals, art exhibitions. clubs, etc. We did have to spend $150,00 more for a smaller home than we sold ours for. Our taxes went from $18,000 to $6,000 and I can sit in my (easy to maintain) yard and not be disturbed. The overall cost of living in the NW is much higher but we have rearranged things and feel it is worth it. My advice—-find a place you can be happy in, priortize what you want and don’t be afraid to move. Too many people I know just stay in the same rut!!!

    by Debbie Cacho — August 7, 2019

  6. Flatearth6, If I decide to move away from family, Maine would top my list for beautiful places. My only concern would be medical care. I have a cancer history. How do you find the medical care? There are no top notch hospitals in Maine and that would worry me. What do you do for excellent health care?

    by Maimi — August 7, 2019

  7. I believe this decision is based on (1) personal issues, (2) family-focused priorities, (3) financial condition, and (4) current state of affairs. I enjoy these articles and comments. They provide insight and perspective that will assist retirees / future retirees (like my wife and I) to make the best individual decision. One minor decision we have made is to secure a home with one level (no steps). This is one personal decision for us. As our family evolves, we will continue to assess our retirement years. Thanks.

    by Dave Chambers — August 7, 2019

  8. My husband and I are six days into renting in a lovely active adult community in central Florida. It was extremely difficult to leave our families up north, but for now we’re viewing it as a one-year vacation, to see if the lifestyle is really for us. Even though there’s a bit of a stigma to being renters and not owners, we’ve found the people to be friendly and helpful, and so far have nothing bad to say about our decision. The only downside is that we know that if we don’t renew our lease, in eleven months we’ll be going through the headache of moving again, and that’s a horrible thought.

    by Laurie — August 7, 2019

  9. DH and I just made the permanent move to Maine also. We’ve summered here for years and knew we loved the area. We spent years looking at communities in the south but never felt comfortable there. My liberal politics would not fit in there and the sorts of planned communities we found just didn’t feel right to us. The people here in Maine are incredibly friendly and a spirit of helpfulness prevails. Like Flatearth6 we both feel like we’ve come home. Maine is not a great state from a tax viewpoint, but neither was Maryland where we wintered before. This will be our first Maine winter so that is still an unknown but I’m up for the experience. We moved to a rural area on the Blue Hill peninsula but Maine has terrific urban areas like Portland as well.

    by Ellie — August 7, 2019

  10. We have purposefully downsized twice here in the Twin Cities Metro over the past 20 years, and have rented in two very different potential retirement locations (one in southern Rocky Mtns., and other in coastal TX), and purchased another single level, gated patio home where we have been most comfortable for 6 months per year. Now have no state income tax, and much more reasonable R.E. taxes than MN!!
    We love the friendly people, low crime rate, walkable town/beaches,and good church and volunteer opportunities! dwj

    by Dale Johnson — August 7, 2019

  11. Maimi,
    Northern Lights medical group in Maine is affiliated with Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, Cancer care doesn’t get better than that. Boston is 3 or 4 hours away depending on whether you’re in southern or mid-coast Maine.

    by Ellie — August 7, 2019

  12. Debbie, where in Washington did you end up? We are looking there too. Currently in Texas. We also wants things to do but to not be disturbed!

    by Linda — August 7, 2019

  13. LS, There are lots of different things to consider when planning the next place to live. Besides the usual – climate, costs/taxes, activities, etc. one thing that is sometimes overlooked in access to and quality of health care. No matter how fit and careful we are, things happen and time-to-treatment often is the key to a successful outcome. For example, in this clip Dr. Oz reports on new research that shows even 15 minutes difference in the start of stroke treatment can determine whether the person completely recovers or ends up severely disabled. https://www.lite1065.com/2019/08/05/for-stroke-treatment-even-15-minutes-can-make-a-difference-in-outcome/
    For stroke care, do a search on “stroke centers near (name of town you are considering) and see how far a great on is.

    by jean — August 8, 2019

  14. That is good to know!

    by Maimi — August 8, 2019

  15. Maimi – Actually, there are several TOP NOTCH hospitals in Maine and we are just a 2 hr. drive from Boston and easy access to NYC if we decide we need it. We think Maine Medical is THE BEST! It is far superior to what we had in SE Tenn. – especially Neurology. There several hubs – Portland, Brunswick and Augusta. Check online – call them and ask questions. The woman at neurology was more than happy to answer every question we had and encouraged us to call back, if we thought of anything else! We have never had to actually WAIT for any Dr’s appointment (another big plus) and my last Rheumatology was relaxed and Dr. actually listened and we had a good discussion about my knees 🙂

    Ellie – if you are anywhere near the Portland area would love to meet up for coffee sometime. It can be hard to settle in and make friends but we have met the most amazing people! If you contact ADMIN, they should be able to give you my e-mail.

    by Flatearth6 — August 8, 2019

  16. I wish I had read this article BEFORE I moved away from my former home.
    Moving from NY to SW Florida sounded good enough at first to take the plunge and move.
    However, the lifestyle changes that I have experienced are so dramatically different from what I’m used to that I’m miserable. Moreover, it’s not just me that I have to take into account when deciding what to do.
    My brother who loves it is here too and soon his wife will be joining us. A new home is being built and closing is scheduled to take place in 1½ – 2 months.
    Feeling trapped with no way out.

    by Curt — August 8, 2019

  17. Ellie, I hope your move to Maine continues to be a good choice for you. You mentioned that liberal politics don’t seem to fit in too well in retirement communities in the south. I generally agree with you. The major exception is the Miami metro area, which includes Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. For those of you looking for more of a center-left area, one of these three counties may offer the diversity you want. There is every variety and type of retirement community there, from quite inexpensive to very high-end.

    by Clyde — August 8, 2019

  18. Many {25} we decided to move to Eastern NC for jobs and retirement at the end of our careers.
    We plan to stay right where we are in Washington, NC since the taxes are well within our budget and every thing else is also close by as well as medical facilities. We really like where we are located.

    by Benjamin Reed — August 8, 2019

  19. Linda, check out Sequim, Washington. That is on the Peninsula and has lots of retirees.

    by Sharon Alexander — August 8, 2019

  20. I joke about our downsizing and relocation………. that we are in the “40 year desert” plan, because it seemed like it took forever. After deciding to retire somewhere warmer in 2007, we planned all of our vacations around looking for an area in which to settle. Landing in SE TN, we now feel like we have found our paradise. We were recently up at the DMV and saw a sign that said,”Say what you will about the south….but nobody retires and moves north!” It gave us our laugh for the day!

    by Caps — August 9, 2019

  21. Caps,
    So true! Great joke. We have been vacationing down South for the last couple of year looking for our dream retirement location. Still searching …Too cold and too much snow in Winter here in Connecticut. Maine is beautiful but the water at the beaches is freezing cold all Summer long but I do love Ogunquit and Nubble Light, my favorite lighthouse.

    by Jasmine — August 9, 2019

  22. Caps — Very funny! I had been working in Charlotte, and planned to retire to the Carolina coast (after years working in PA, CT and in NYC). Last year I retired to….wait for it…..a suburb of Cleveland, OH. Like others, I made spreadsheets with items I wanted in retirement. My list had things like ibraries, a college or university with senior programs, low cost of living, church, an airport for travel, medical care, shopping, a beach, a daily newspaper, etc. Two of my kids found career opportunities in Cleveland, and moved here. They raved about this area, and asked me consider moving to join them.

    I plugged the Cleveland suburbs into my spreadsheet, and was surprised at how well it compared. Yes, taxes are higher but the differential would have been spent on travel for visits. And I can see what my taxes pay for here! I have a resort-quality community outdoor pool, a community center with walking tracks, an indoor pool and a gym that rivals LA Fitness, a senior center that offers daily programs (located on a public golf course), parks with free concerts & walking trails, free garbage pickup and more. I even have a nearby beach, if you count Lake Erie. There are countless activities in the area including concerts at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, House of Blues and other venues (Judy Collins is here this weekend), pro sports (football, basketball & baseball), ethnic festivals, state fairs, a large zoo, museums, boating, historic indoor farmers’ market and more. Several colleges and universities in the area have senior programs. Yes, winters are cold but I’m ok with my Kindle & a fireplace (and the area is so good at snow removal that it isn’t a big deal). The cost of living here is surprisingly low except for real estate taxes, so my utilities, insurance and other expenses haven’t gone up. Housing prices were good although the market in the suburbs is a little tight. Gas taxes are higher than the Carolinas, but I’ve cut back on driving since retirement so this isn’t a factor. Instead of a high HOA for a senior community in the Southeast, I pay a $215/mo HOA for my cluster home community that covers snow plowing, exterior window washing, & gutter cleaning 2X a year, gas lantern maintenance and all yard maintenance including trees and mowing. The Cleveland Clinic is one of the top 5 hospitals in the country (#1 in cardiology), and there are great doctors and satellite hospitals EVERYWHERE. There are also seniors everywhere too, and plenty of assisted living facilities, senior apartments and nursing homes for aging-in-place.

    Best of all…all of the kids have now relocated to Ohio and are putting down roots. Thanks to the reasonable housing prices in this area, they have been able buy homes (mid 20s-early 30s). The other day I texted my kids that I had a car problem, and 2 of them arrived to help before AAA got there!!! They babysit, pet-sit, do grocery runs & airport pickups for each other, go to events together and more. I love being able to stay in their lives that closely. Last week, for ex., one son took me out for brunch, my daughter came over to watch The Bachelor, and another son dropped by with a piece of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. Fortunately their spouses (and the girlfriend of the unmarried one) don’t seem to mind being part of our family “cult.”

    My point is…don’t count out the North LOL. A perfect retirement might be found in Maine…or Cleveland!

    by Kate — August 10, 2019

  23. Kate,
    You are so lucky…you have the perfect retirement! I am still searching for mine. I am only 58 so I still have some time…

    by Jasmine — August 10, 2019

  24. Kate, I live in Chicago and agree with all you said. God knows Chicago has problems. But we have great public transportation – I gave up my car years ago. I take the bus to my Doctors -all in a 2 block radius @ Northwestern. Winters are tough, but I’m able to spend a week in the west coast, then 10 days in Florida for Spring training. Not bad at all.

    by Paul — August 10, 2019

  25. Flatearth6: I’m curious about the winters in Maine – I’ve heard they can be brutal. Have you spent a winter there yet? I’m wondering if they are really as bad as people say.

    by JoannC — August 10, 2019

  26. JoannC – not sure what you mean by brutal. We LOVE winter – husband says he would much rather shovel snow in 0 degree weather than mow a lawn in 98 degree weather – so we came north! We have been here through 2 winters, so far. We’re in the southern part of the state but we’ve had plenty of snow. No matter what the weather, it doesn’t seem to slow anyone down. The plows keep the roads clear and we have a guy who plows the driveway so we only have to shovel a path to the garage. We have steam radiators and a Jotil propane fire in the living room that keep us nice and cozy. My crafty group friends know to stock up in case of a storm so we’re always busy! Maine – the way life should be!! 🙂

    by Flatearth6 — August 10, 2019

  27. As another example of the benefits that you might find in an unexpected location: I got this mailer for the Fall classs yesterday from the Community College: 55+ seniors can register for up to five classes for $99 — and the assortment of their is huge: everything from music, art, science, politics, finances, computer skills, dance and more. I’m posting the link in case someone wants to browse. https://www.tri-c.edu/encore-senior-adult-programs/

    The Senior Center, libraries, etc. all have lots of activities and compete for seniors too LOL. .

    by Kate — August 11, 2019

  28. Wow, Kate, send that link to our community college in Pittsburgh where a one night class for making your own pasta is $59.

    by Daryl — August 11, 2019

  29. Hi Kate

    My parents retired in the year 2000 to central western Ohio, not far from the Indiana border. Both of them lived in Indianapolis and I was also born there. Semi-rural Ohio is a very inexpensive area of the country to retire. They travel a lot and were RV ers for a few years. They like the change of season, accessibility to Indiana–less than an hour away and the healthcare as well.

    I am curious what is the name of your community where you live now in Cleveland. In college I had many friends from that area of the country and a nurse friend who married a Veterinarian student when we were at Ohio State. They lived in Sugar Creek and Navarre. They seem to still love it a lot as they have no desire to move.

    by Jennifer — August 11, 2019

  30. That catalog is amazing, Kate! What a great deal. Thanks for sharing.

    by Tess — August 11, 2019

  31. Jennifer: I’m in Westlake (the Western suburbs include Avon, Bay Village, North Olmstead and many other great suburbs).

    I should mention that moving is almost always stressful. Even though I’ve found everything I wanted and needed here d so far, there are unpleasant stresses involved with packing & unpacking, finding new doctors, hairdresser, dentist, mechanic, vet, etc., changing car registrations, voter registration, changes of address and more. There are also lots of expenses with any move and home purchase, such as tips to movers, window treatments, shelf-paper, and so forth — it often costs more to move than people expect, not less. I’m a big fan of staying-in-place when possible too!

    by Kate — August 12, 2019

  32. A story –
    In the 1980’s my in-laws (in their 70’s) determined they were getting old, so they decided to leave the 1800 sq ft ranch on a small in-town lot they’d owned since the 1960’s. They chose a 2BR condo across town. Lived there for about a year and a half. Hated it. So they bought a 1/2 acre vacant lot outside town and scratch-built their original ranch, only in a mirror image and with many improvements, such as energy saving HVAC, windows (the neatest Pellas with built-in blinds), 2.5 car garage, R-zillion insulation, etc. A very nice house. But that only lasted a couple years, as they again discovered they were getting old. So they decided they must go to Florida. They built a manufactured home over the phone in the next year. Moved there the following winter (kept the house this time). Hated it. Back in the spring. Sold the FL house at a loss. Stayed put a couple years, but decided, yet again, that they were getting old, so they built a custom townhouse, 3500 sq ft, across town. I guess what they lost in cutting grass was made up for in vacuuming… but I digress. At any rate, things shortly went south health-wise for my FIL, and he passed away after a couple of hard years. My MIL, decided she’d sell the townhouse and, of all things, buy back the original 1960’s ranch for substantially more than they’d sold it for. She did an extensive remodel on top of the improvements the previous owner had made. Again, though, afer a few years the clock caught up with her and forced her into an assisted-living facility and disposal of the home, and her passing.

    The moral, I guess, is that wherever you go, there you are; there may be other reasons you find yourself unhappy.

    by Peder — August 12, 2019

  33. Amazing story, Peder! One more indication for me that staying in place “ain’t so bad”. Hope you’re in-laws got some satisfaction from it all. As Kate clearly said, moving is mostly no fun at all and they did a lot of it!

    by RichPB — August 12, 2019

  34. Wow, Peder. A lot to “unpack” there lol. Thank you for sharing that thought-provoking story!

    by Susan — August 12, 2019

  35. Peder,
    Wow, what an amazing story. It is true that as I travel all over the US looking for my perfect warm retirement home, I feel so happy to return to my peaceful Connecticut home of 27 years. I think I am already in paradise but did not realize it till I travelled all over…now not sure about leaving overtaxed snowy Connecticut! Some of us are already in our dream home but just don’t realize or appreciate it.

    by Jasmine — August 12, 2019

  36. Hmm…quite a story from Peder. But, it does give credence to the advice to rent before you buy. It could have saved a goodly amount of money and at least a couple of moves.

    by Lynn — August 13, 2019

  37. I had stopped reading daily posts from topretirements for a while because I was so sick of reading about how bad the Northern climate is (in my case CT), how high the taxes are, how snowy the winters are, and so on and so forth. I had begun to feel there was something wrong with my choice not to relocate, despite the fact that my small house is paid for, I hate really hot weather, and the vast majority of my friends and interests are within a two hour drive. Thanks to those who have recently written in support of free choice of location! To those who love Florida, Arizona, the Carolinas or whatever, good for you; enjoy your retirement. To those of us who love New England, the upper Mid-West, New York or Pennsylvania, good for us, too!

    by Sheila — August 13, 2019

  38. Sheila: very well said!

    by Paul — August 13, 2019

  39. Good discussion here of north vs, south, cold vs. hot, etc. There is still the alternative of snow-birding, too. We had planned to sell our Connecticut house this summer and move permanently to our condo in south Florida. When we returned to CT from FL in May, for emotional and weather reasons, we decided to keep going back and forth. The best of both worlds, weather-wise. But it is more expensive, and you have the three-day drive down and back each year, as well as not having a full community life at either end of the annual journey. We had to carefully determine whether we could handle the expenses for a few more years, and decided that we could, with some higher level of frugality. However, we will likely move permanently to FL after five more years or so. We’ve been snow-birding for five years and a few more years might give us some more perspective. Maybe Florida won’t then be the right place. We did heave a sigh of relief in May when we made the decision not to give up our home here in the north, and have felt much less stressed after that decision, temporary though it may be. It would be interesting to hear from those who are currently snow-birding, and their take on the concept. Do you like it? Do you plan on continuing it, or will you eventually find a permanent home at either end of the trip, or possibly somewhere else?

    by Clyde — August 13, 2019

  40. Sheila – we share your sentiments. I enjoy reading about areas other than the southern states. We enjoy visits to the FL and warmer states but dislike intense long humid hot weather. Enjoy readying all the feedback. The long drive to snow bird sounds exhausting. I’ve heard of folks having their car shipped down and flying. I have no idea what that expense is but have seen those huge trailers hauling cars south.

    by JoannL — August 14, 2019

  41. I snowbirded for a couple of years. Got to the point where I couldn’t face the drive back and forth. It also seemed that something I wanted would be in the other house. Could not afford to keep paying Minnesota’s confiscatory property taxes. And didn’t like paying two sets of association dues. The last time when I kept putting off my departure for Minnesota I knew it was time to let the MN house go. I can always go back and visit and stay with my daughter or friends. Not during the winter! Actually, most of my friends spend at least part of the winter in Florida, so I get to see them in Florida.

    If money had been no object and I could have had a car in both locations, I might have continued the option by flying back and forth, but it really becomes costly. Particularly if one of your homes is in a high tax state. I’d rather spend my money on travel to interesting places.

    by Linda — August 14, 2019

  42. I have decided it is probably better to just stay in Connecticut and take long vacations to different places around the world than try to deal with 2 residences and snowbird. I hate hot humid weather and enjoy 3 out of 4 seasons. I have visited several places in the top 20 places to retire list and dragged my husband with me to find we didn’t like it at all. I have finally come to the realization that we may stay in Connecticut until we need to move into a senior living facility in North Carolina or San Diego . Took me only 3 years of traveling and intense research to come to my senses! Many of us are already in our perfect retirement location as retiring in place is the most popular retirement option according to an article I read a few years back on the internet. There’s no place like home!

    by Jasmine — August 14, 2019

  43. I have lived in my house 41 years in San Francisco Bay Area. My age is post 70. The town I live is undergrounding power lines and accessed me &175,000. Also I must pay to have power brought to my house. Estimate $5,000 to $15,000 for electrician. This is a severe financial hardship for me.
    Wife and I found wonderful two bedroom,two bath rental resort environment in Orange County Ca. I put $1,000 deposit. I listed my house for sale and hired a moving company (500 mile move). After boxes were packed and ready to move, I panicked. I couldn’t move from my house of 41 years. I lost $1,000 deposit on apartment (rent was $3,200 mo.).How can I build the courage to move?

    by Robert Chandler — August 14, 2019

  44. Dear Linda,
    We live in Port Ludlow WA. The area is absolutely beautiful. The people are from all over the country. People seem to value their independence. This is a planned community, not age restrictive. There are communities with the larger community. My neighbors range in age from early 50’s to over 80. I have seen more local concerts and theatre in the past few months than in the last ten years. There are many local, talented artists. So many festivals too.
    We go to Seattle once a month. Usually we drive to Kingston (20 min) or Bainbridge Island (40 min) and take a 40 minute ferry across. Driving around takes 90 to 120 minutes. Silverdale is less than 30 minutes away. You name it it’s there……Costco, Trader Joes, Marshalls, Home Depot, Lowes….. We have several grocery and hardware stores closer.
    We have found our paradise. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

    by Deborah Cacho — August 14, 2019

  45. We took the plunge & moved to a retirement community in SW FL – have enjoyed it immensely!

    Still miss family back North but visit there often (avoiding winter – just can’t do it any more!)
    Do note that a drawback of renting is that residents may hesitate to get close in case you don’t stay. Have to admit as much as I enjoy meeting new people here, when someone says they’re renting I wonder why and if it’s worth befriending them, ie inviting them to join our (ever expanding!) group.

    by Jini — August 14, 2019

  46. Moving was a big decision for us when we retired. We started to consider it three years before we retired. Maryland was to expensive for us to live in without a full time job, Virginia also. Did not want to move further north because we were over the snow. Started looking south and researched NC, SC and Fla. Moved to South Carolina and love it here. Great people, low cost of living. Hard to move away from family. We made the right choice for us.

    by Ken Dill — August 14, 2019

  47. Sheila, I agree with you. I am stying put in New England near family, friends. I have traveled all over the country and there is just no place I like more than New England. We have the ocean, mountains, vibrant cities, great mass transit, great hospitals, diversity in population, and top rated colleges, all in close proximity. I love the Pacific NW, but will visit when I can. Not a fan of Florida, Southern states or the midwest. I know it is comparatively expensive, but my heart is in New England.

    by Maimi — August 15, 2019

  48. Hi, Deborah,
    I am in Olympia and would like to know the name of your planned community. Also, how difficult was it for you to find doctors, dentists, etc. That is always a consideration in moving.
    Thanks, Sharon

    by Sharon Alexander — August 15, 2019

  49. We finally have decided (I think) lol to relocate to a smaller and less expensive house in PA and use the savings to travel and rent throughout the year. Hope this plan works. Has anyone out there done the same? How did it work out for you??

    by Staci — August 19, 2019

  50. Are there online templates available to help document the pros and cons of moving (away) or staying local? When we both are fully retired, our finances will require that we sell our home in Northern California. The struggle is deciding between moving into a manufactured home community (staying near friends, known medical providers, etc.) or move to the east coast, much closer to family. Having a pro/con template would help get us started with decision-making. Do any of you know of these tools and where to find them (online)?

    by Janette — September 1, 2019

  51. Great suggestion Janette. While we don’t have a template/checklist exactly matching what you are looking for, we do have a checklist that will definitely get you started. It was designed to help you find the right active community, but most of the questions get to moving far away or staying local. We will look for some more questions to help soon. https://www.topretirements.com/blog/active-adult-communities/how-to-find-the-right-active-community-for-your-retirement-a-checklist.html/

    by Admin — September 2, 2019

  52. This article in the Washington Post has me now looking at the demographics of all states so that when I am at the point where I need care, there will be people there to provide it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/this-will-be-catastrophic-maine-families-face-elder-boom-worker-shortage-in-preview-of-nations-future/2019/08/14/7cecafc6-bec1-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html?arc404=true

    by JoannC — September 2, 2019

  53. Kate, I read your post with much interest. Originally from St. Louis, my wife and I have lived in Cleveland for the past 28 years. I tell anyone who will listen that Cleveland is one of the best places on earth – except for winters. One thing Cleveland never gets credit for is its wonderful food! Not sure why, but it’s the home of America’s top chef, Michael Symon! Being a snow bird is out of the question because we don’t want to have to take care of two properties. A little over four years until I can retire, then it’s Southern Oregon, here we come! Welcome to Cleveland, Kate! Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

    by Brian — September 4, 2019

  54. Thanks Brian :-). It really is a hidden gem as a retirement destination for people who don’t mind the cold. And no hurricanes, of course. Our prayers are with all the people affected by Hurricane Dorian.

    by Kate — September 5, 2019

  55. I moved to Maine at 58 from Southern CA. I absolutely loved the winters, felt cozy, embraced my hobbies and was happy with my church and much slower lifestyle. Slow forward 13 years. My needs and desires have changed. This past winter was very long, and I became very depressed in February. Still working on recovery from that. I now wish I hadn’t made the move east, and wish I could move back to my SoCal locale, but I recognize that things there have probably changed a great deal. So, this winter we are planning from January to April in a Trilogy, active over-55 community in NC, avoiding the worst of winter. I guess the moral of my story is that it’s important to consider the years down the road when your needs and desires might well change, without the need to make yet another move, necessitating making new friends, medical connections, etc.

    by Carolyn — September 5, 2019

  56. Brian – would love to hear what appeals to you in Oregon and decided your move to the PNW. We have taken a few short vacations to WA and OR and really enjoyed those visits. The last trip was a flight to Medford and then the down the CA coast to visit the parks. I hope to visit Brookings OR coast on another trip.

    We love Maine too but I have reservations about the longer winter months – not so much the snow. We don’t care for the extreme weather, heat and humidity of the southern states. However, staying near the coast is our goal

    by JoannL — September 6, 2019

  57. JoannL, the Medford area is where we are looking. The biggest appeal to us is the weather. We are more than tired of Cleveland winters and with an average of 3 1/2 inches of snow per year, southern Oregon weather sounds great! Plus, Medford is surrounded by wineries, Crater Lake and Rogue River nearby, and lots of outdoor activities. We also find Oregon to be more affordable than other areas we looked, like California.

    by Brian — September 6, 2019

  58. Brian,
    I lived in Oregon in the 90s and had to move back,to San Diego for family reasons. We are,currently trying to decide between moving back to Oregon or moving away from the coast of CA. From all of my intense research I’ve discovered that the cost of living between the 2 are the same if you stay away from coastal southern CA. You either deal with more rain and colder winters or the hot summers of the high desert of CA. We will probably just stay here because having to move 45 miles compared to 1500 mi is much cheaper and less work. Who knows…eventually we may move back to OR after my husband turns 65 but for now it’s easier staying here….

    by Mary11 — September 6, 2019

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