As the old adage goes, it’s a great big world out there. This is especially true when it comes to relocating after retirement. These days, we’re spoiled for choice. So much choice, in fact, that retirees may find the idea of relocating more than a little daunting, whereas others may revel in the variety and find it easy to pull up stakes and find a new area to settle in for their retirement. International locations are becoming increasingly popular with American retirees, along with the traditional warm and sunny U.S. locales. Everyone has must-haves, but which factors are most important when it comes to a move post-retirement?Finances, both in terms of taxes and cost of living, quite possibly. But then there’s also quality of life to consider, and quality of healthcare and services. And, for a great many people, climate.
So, keeping all that in mind, where is the best place to move when it’s time to retire? It all depends on who you ask.
Starting with the U.S., Forbes provides a varied list for their top 25, giving retirees quite a lot to think about in terms of their future hometown. Desirable destinations such as Walla Walla, WA, Athens, GA, and Blacksburg, VA can be found on the Forbes list, which was gathered using various financial, climate, and cultural considerations.
CBS MoneyWatch highlights both a top 5 and a bottom 5 on their list – giving high marks to West Des Moines, IA; Franklin, TN; and Arlington, VA, while cities like San Bernardino, CA, and Niagara Falls, NY receive less favorable assessments.
Bankrate, using considerations for crime, climate, financial, healthcare, walkability, weather, culture, and amenities, pulled their top 10 from 200 U.S. cities, with Floridian locales making up a third of the list (Kendall, Cape Coral, and Sarasota) and Arlington, VA taking top honors. For those with an eye on finances, however, Arlington’s close proximity to downtown Washington, D.C. gives it a higher price tag than other cities on the list.
When it comes to options outside the greater U.S., the choices become even more numerous. Many retirees are drawn to the history and relative stability of Europe, while others tend to favor the sunshine and lower cost of living in Central and South America. Obviously, an international move requires research into visas and residency requirements, as well as considering the impact of U.S. taxes on ex-pats. International Living has a detailed ranking of 23 countries – with Panama, Ecuador, and Mexico taking the top three spots. The list focuses on ten main points of criteria: buying and renting, benefits and discounts, visas and residence, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, infrastructure, and climate.
U.S. News and World Report’s top 10 list of affordable retirement spots sports the tagline “retirees enjoy low costs and an exotic lifestyle in these low-cost locales,” emphasizing value for money in locations like Algarve, Portugal; Granada, Nicaragua; Pau, France; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The short answer is that there’s no best place to retire – instead, there are many great places! As long as you’re putting in your due diligence and taking important financial and other considerations into account, there is no shortage of potential retirement destinations. Happy trails!