Retirement Relocation – Key Insights

In a prior life, I remember attending a presentation by a financial advisor who was in charge of my company’s 401k plan. The advisor asked all of us in the audience to close our eyes and envision where we wanted to live in retirement. I closed my eyes and visualized the beach outside my backdoor and a golf course outside my front door. When he had us open our eyes, he hit us with reality: “I don’t know what any of you were visualizing, but my guess is you cannot afford it. If you want to afford that retirement relocation one day, you better start saving now.” He was right…and I did.

Many people spend their careers trying to imagine their retirements. Frequently, their vision involves retirement relocation, moving from their current homes to different types of housing and/or to different states.

Facts and insights for retirees interested in relocating:

  1. Most retirees stay in their current homes until they are no longer able to. Only about 1% of people in their 60s move each year. This is a very small percentage, but it has tripled over the past 30 years.
  2. Retirees who moved (excluding those who had to move for health reasons) were happier than those who stayed in their homes, according to a 2009 study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
  3. The most dramatic trend is the rise in people moving to age-restricted communities tailored to senior living. Active adult communities are predicted to grow by 25% annually for the next several years according to the National Association of Homebuilders.
  4. Developers have been updating senior living communities to cater to baby boomers. This includes housing options with more square footage, more contemporary designs / layouts, access to technology, lifelong learning (classes), and more wellness and fitness activities.
  5. 60% of baby boomers who plan to relocate want to remain in their same state and 40% are willing to move across state lines.
  6. For those who are willing to consider a different state, there are a number of lists of the best places to retire. Forbes List of the 25 Best Places to Retire considers such factors as housing and other costs of living, taxes, crime rates, weather and air quality, doctor availability, and opportunities for an active lifestyle, including walking, bicycling, and volunteering. Also in the mix: economic data for those considering a “working” retirement or simply a growing community.

Want to do more research on your possible retirement relocation?

Here are some other lists of retirement destinations:

The four cities that gained the most retirees who relocated across state lines between 2005-2010 were Phoenix, Tampa, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. Access to great financial advisors was not one of the ranking criteria, but the fact that Planning Great Retirements has offices in two of these cities is just an added bonus. ☺