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Warm Weather and Climate Top Reasons for Choosing a Place to Retire

Category: Retirement Planning

September 9, 2021 — Thanks to the 300+ folks who responded to last week’s instant poll, which asked what your #1 reason for choosing a place to retire would be. Although we realize most people have multiple factors affecting their choice, the poll tried to identify the single most important. By a large margin that turned out to be: “warm weather or other climate”. The results are shown below, and beneath that we have included some of the more interesting comments that were made on the topic. (Note: You can still take the instant poll and comment on it as well).

It was no big surprise that “affordable” came in second, followed by “lifestyle”, “near friends and family”, and then “near good medical”. “Low taxes” might be included in what people think of as affordable, but we were happy that that factor alone wasn’t what most people base their retirement location decisions on. We think retirement should be fun, so going for good weather and lifestyle is OK in our book.

Comments from Members:
We loved the comments made to this article. Rose’s was one of our favorites, in which she lamented retiring to the loved vacationing in(Myrtle Beach). When she retired there she realized it had a lot of traffic and a shortage of like minded people. Several people were interested in looking for a nice college town with cultural opportunities, while others mentioned that good medical care was up there as an important consideration (and many college towns do have medical schools with hospitals). Sue was looking to avoid extremes – particularly political and climate ones. Weather and climate was echoed by several as the thing to look for. Ellen started her list with low taxes and affordability, then good medical. Tim thinks he is a “climate change refugee”, considering moving from the Pacific Northwest to get away from the smoke and fires.

Bottom line: There are many great reasons for choosing a place to retire, and just about everyone has a different point of view. The point is, knowing what you are looking for will greatly increase your chances of finding it! If you have more thoughts about this topic, please share them in the Comments section below. Plus, if you have other ideas for our instant poll, please share that too!

For further reading and a list of previous surveys:

Posted by Admin on September 8th, 2021


  1. Next time, I would love to see the climate response broken down by location — coastal, mountain, lake or somewhere in between. Most of my clients looking for golf communities in the Southeast target a coastal or near-coastal location but more and more mention hurricane anxiety; they are starting to prefer a lake location if they must be on or near water. I recently talked with a developer considering purchase of one of the last fairly large parcels of land able to be developed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. His group was cooling to the idea because hurricanes seem to be getting more frequent and severe and also because of rising ocean levels. (.13 inches per year may not seem like much but when it covers millions of square miles, pretty soon you’re talking about serious water surges on the coast.)

    I write this note from the state of Vermont whose summers are not dissimilar to those in the Carolina mountains but whose winters are cold and snowy. For Floridians and other “snowbirds” who can afford it, a 2nd home in a state like Vermont would be a perfect counterpoint to beastly hot summers in the South and Southwest. For those who can’t afford two homes, I suspect that in our children’s lifetimes — my two are around 30 now — places like Vermont may become the new year-round retirement hot spots as seas continue to rise, warmer weather predominates everywhere and hurricanes continue to savage the east coast and its major cities. (Yes, I believe in science and facts.). There is another related issue; we all may continue to live in a constant state of pandemic awareness, a fact that could cause many of the people who have left the big cities temporarily to relocate permanently and others to join them. Vermont, which has an unusually workable political climate — a Republican governor and progressive state legislature, lots of hunters and lots of environmental liberals who seem to live together in harmony — also has the best performing numbers against the pandemic of all the 50 states. It is expensive to live in Vermont, but in most ways, you get what you pay for. Of course, if you buy into the largely mythic notion that it is much cheaper to live in a no-income-tax state, New Hampshire has nice mountains and lakes too.

    by Larry — September 9, 2021

  2. I did partake in this poll and was curious about what the results would show and very happy to see that political environment was at the bottom of the list as I was hoping it would be. The climate being top choice may be proof it’s on everyones mind, but where to go? It’s changing rapidly.

    by Alex — September 9, 2021

  3. I also participated in the poll, and chose weather as my top priority. My wife and I grew up in Massachusetts. Tired of the short summers and long, cold winters, we decided to move to Lakeland, FL just before COVID 13 struck. We knew that it would be hot down here in the summer, but wow does it get hot, furnace hot with high humidity. Funny thing, but we actually like the summer down here at times. The middle day heat and humidity can be brutal, but the mornings and evenings are great. I just love the feeling of warm, humid air blowing across my body when the sun is down. That being said, we have now decided to try the snowbird experience and are building a new house in Massachusetts. Having the ability to bounce back and forth between locations sounds like something fun to try.

    by Robert Hudon — September 9, 2021

  4. I was interested in Tim’s comment that he is considering moving from the Pacific Northwest in order to get away from the smoke and the fires. I’m in Southern California and am considering moving *to* the PNW to get away from the smoke and fires and heat. I’m specifically considering the Seattle area though I haven’t ruled out across the river from Portland, specifically Camas. My hope is that this past summer heatwave in Washington and Oregon was an aberration and not the new normal. I’m unable to move for another year or so, so I guess time will tell if that’s another place I’ll have to cross off my list because my priorities are first, medical, and second, climate. Larry may be right about Vermont and other locations in the northeast becoming the new year round retirement hot spot (though not literally, I hope).

    by Joann C — September 9, 2021

  5. I ultimately chose political climate, although I went back and forth with the college option and would not retire in an area without an institute of higher learning. I don’t want to make political climate a priority, but as a progressive in a very red state, it gets very wearing when so many people around me constantly make this an issue. When at our golf course, I have the option to stay silent or endure the polite shunning I receive if I join in the conversation. I would like a community that embraces diversity and diverse ideas. That is why the college option is so important to me. The access to different ideas, culture, and a variety of activities will definitely drive where I end up.

    by Kathy M — September 9, 2021

  6. I know total responses to the survey probably did not meet the minimum of scientific acceptability, but I am still scratching my head over how fewer than 10% of us checked the “healthcare” box as the top priority. According to the CDC, 22% of seniors (65+) have either coronary heart disease or have had a stroke. Even those of us who are healthy for now can expect the machinery to wear down during our retirement years. I own a vacation condo on the Carolina coast and a permanent home near Hartford, CT and its terrific hospitals. In the coming years I will continue to take vacations in the South but you can bet I will spend most of my time near great healthcare options…Depending on your health profile, Florida may or may not be a bargain. I am researching an article I intend to post at my website about the quality of healthcare in the Southeast, and I came across a recent Newsweek magazine ranking of top hospitals in the U.S.
    Florida is the third most populated state in the nation yet when it comes to top hospitals, the Sunshine State only shows 13 medical centers in the top 330 that Newsweek ranked. (California has 35 and Texas 20). North Carolina, with 12 on the list, almost matched Florida; Georgia had seven and South Carolina four. The Commonwealth Fund, which supports independent research on healthcare issues, ranked Florida 41st on “State Health Performance,” right between Alabama and Arkansas. Alabama, like Florida, is a no-income-tax state; make of that what you will. In a USNews & World Report assessment of healthcare by state, Florida ranked #25; included in the top 5, in order, were Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and California. All of those states are among the top 10 in highest cost of living; Florida is the 30th most expensive state. When it comes to healthcare in the U.S., as the Fram Oil Filter guy used to say in the TV ads: “You can pay me now — or pay me later.”

    by Larry — October 3, 2021

  7. Kathy M, every four years I assess the results of the U.S. Presidential election in the states of the Southeast. Invariably, even in the red states, I find that the county in which a university or major college is located voted blue, sometimes emphatically so. Therefore, if you are looking for folks who believe in science and don’t take truth for granted, you will likely find it in places like Charlottesville, Richmond, Durham, NC and even Columbia, SC. (Richland County, home to the University of South Carolina, voted 68% for Joe Biden.).

    by Larry — October 3, 2021

  8. Larry, I enjoy your comments and agree with most of your opinions. However, I must point out that Alabama is not a no income tax state. It may have low taxes generally, but does have a state income tax.

    by LS — October 4, 2021

  9. LS, thank you. I stand corrected.

    by Larry — October 5, 2021

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