The Pros & Cons of Relocating When You Retire

The decision to relocate upon retirement can often leave you in a quandary. For instance, you may find your current house is more costly than your budget dictates, yet it's comfortable and you know the neighbors, the best local stores and service people. To decide whether relocation is in your best interest, it's necessary to weigh the pros and cons of both your present abode and a new location.

  1. Financial Effects of Relocating

    • The cost of maintenance, insurance, utilities, property taxes and even a mortgage on your home may be more than your retirement budget allows. By selling your present home and relocating to a smaller, less-expensive home, you may reduce these costs and shrink the size of your mortgage, or even eliminate it. You may even be able to purchase a new home and have additional funds to retire other debt or invest for retirement income. You can frequently find towns or areas that have a lower cost of living to extend the buying power of your dollar.

      For those who need to secure a part-time job during retirement, moving to a new area may inhibit your ability to find a job because of lack of contacts. You may find it difficult to sell your home at a reasonable price that is financially profitable enough to cover the purchase of a new home, closing costs or moving expenses.

      Taxes are another consideration. Some states exempt certain types of retirement income from taxes and have lower overall property, sales and other taxes.

    Family and Friends

    • Moving away often entails leaving old friends and social contacts. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Timothy B. Smith and J. Bradley Layton, professors from Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published a meta-analytic review in 2010 combining the data from 148 studies (that included 308,849 participants), which showed that people with stronger social relationships increased their potential to survive by 50 percent. They were simply healthier. It often is harder to make new friends once you retire unless you live in a retirement community surrounded by others in a similar situation. Conversely, moving away from friends doesn't have to take its toll if you move closer to children, grandchildren or other relatives. They can provide not only a social outlet, but also help you when necessary, even for things as simple as providing a ride to doctor's appointments.

    Leisure Activities

    • If you live in a larger city, love cultural events, theater and all that the big city holds, you'll be disappointed if you relocate to an area that doesn't offer those opportunities. The same holds true if you're the person who knows the best fishing hole in your present area or loves other local activities. Nevertheless, relocating at retirement can also mean you find a spot that offers more opportunities to participate in sports or functions you love. Relocation at retirement can bring you back to your roots, provide opportunities for new adventures and allow you to follow your dream, whether it's surfing or taking a class at a local college.


    • A warm, dry climate may be just what the doctor ordered, and you may need to relocate to achieve that goal. However, if you love the weather in your area, even if it's cold and snowy in the winters, changing your location may not make you happy. A warmer climate means less time spent driving on icy roads and shoveling snow, but you may miss having a white Christmas.

    Health Care and Other Services

    • Leaving your present location and relocating at retirement means finding a new doctor, dentist and other service providers. Creating these new relationships often are big deterrents in the decision to relocate. On the positive side, sometimes your new location can provide higher-quality health care and other services at more reasonable costs.

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