Building your retirement game plan: Where to retire? (Part 3 of 5)

| August 18, 2014

One of the most important decisions you’ll make in regards to planning your retirement is where to settle down. It’s a decision that will not only affect your pocket book, but it can have an enormous impact on your emotional, physical and social wellbeing as well. For instance, it may be in your best financial interest to stay in the house you paid on for 30 years, but what if you also want to be closer to your grandchildren who live in another state? Or, do you downsize to a smaller home or apartment in order to “cash in” on your home’s value and free up funds for other retirement plans?

In America today, one of the biggest drivers of the decision about where to live in retirement is whether you own your own home. According to census data, most homeowners age 65 and over are more likely to remain in their pre-retirement homes after retirement, which means property taxes could be your largest home-related expense in retirement. If this is your plan though, remember, you’ll likely be living on a fixed income, so be prepared for the probability of taxes rising and maintenance costs, which could put a big dent in your year-to-year expenses.

Before you make any final decisions on a retirement destination, consider the following:

  • Proximity to family/friends: When folks age 50 and over do decide to pack up and move, it’s typically to be closer to their children and/or grandchildren. So, it’s up to you to make sure that your retirement plan includes a detailed examination of the costs associated with your potential move and a pathway to achieve those goals.
  • Housing costs/taxes: Make sure you know what to expect in regards to taxes, rent or house payments and the maintenance of your home, when moving to a new place.
  • Medical needs: As a retiree, you’ll want to make sure there are enough healthcare services, doctors and hospitals in your area that cater to senior citizens and their needs.
  • Transportation: Do you plan to use public transportation in retirement? It can be a big cost-saver if you target an area with a good public transportation infrastructure.
  • Weather: Have you been shoveling snow for 50 years? Create your plan, stick to it, and be in a position to choose where you retire.

Once you’ve thought about all of these issues, take a look at  This site is dedicated to helping soon-to-be-retirees make smart decisions.  Financially speaking, the information link you may find most interesting is Taxes by State.  Here you’ll find information on sales, personal income, property, and inheritance and estate taxes.  Those of you who are or will be receiving a military pension should definitely check this section.

Finally, if you’d like to know how much you’ll need to fund the retirement you envision, check out First Command Bank’s retirement planning calculator, which can give you a good idea of your future needs.

In the next installment of our five‐part retirement planning series, “The Retirement Game Plan,” we’ll discuss the need for long-term care and healthcare planning.

This article was previously printing in a First Command publication.

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