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Choosing the Right Place to Retire
Written By : Burton Widener 
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The choice of where to live during retirement is one of the most important decisions you will make. The right choice can be the difference between a satisfying, contented retirement and one filled regrets and second thoughts.  Here is a list of issues you need to think through before making this important decision.

What's wrong with where you are now? 

There is no written rule that says you have to relocate just because you have retired. There may be good financial or other life style reasons to sell your present home, but those are different issues than location. What we are talking about here is geographic location. There are reasons you are living where you are now; think about what those reasons are. Maybe the reasons are still compelling enough that you shouldn't be considering relocating at all. But if you decide you really want to consider a change, here are some more issues to consider.

What are your financial constraints?  

It is beyond the scope of this article to outline how to arrive at the answer to this question, but you have to have a realistic view of your financial situation. If you don't know the answer, take steps to find out now. Why spend months researching locations only to find that you can't afford that beautiful chalet in Aspen, or that great cabana home on Key West?  Save yourself a lot of heartache by eliminating retirement locations you can't afford right up front.

Are you comfortable with being away from your family and friends? 

Don't answer this too hastily. You would be surprised at the number of people who thought they could, only to discover that the beautiful February sunset in Arizona was no substitute for the loving companionship of their granddaughter in Vermont. Of course, if you can afford to make the trip back and forth several times a year, it may be manageable; another reason to have a realistic view of your finances.

What about climate? 

Some people love warm climates and hate cold weather, while others love the beauty of a crisp winter day and the cold doesn't bother them at all. Still others revel in the beauty of a colorful fall day or the splendor of multicolored blossoms heralding the arrival of spring. Just remember, there are seasons everywhere you might choose to live and you are going to be living through them all. Golf in Palm Springs in August can be akin to living in a pizza oven, and winter on the Maine coast can be longer and colder than a night in your refrigerator. The point is, unless you can afford to move from location to location with the seasons (now you know why finances are so important) be sure to consider the year around climate carefully.  A lot of people have chosen to delay their final decision until they have actually visited their choice during the off season.  This is not a bad idea. A six month or one year delay in making your final choice is not critical. Remember, you have lots of time now.

What medical services are you or your spouse likely to need during retirement?  

This can be a major factor in any decision you make regarding a retirement location. If either you or your spouse has special medical needs, make sure they are available within easy travel distance. Keep in mind that medical needs are likely to become more important as time goes on. A cabin in the remote regions of the White Mountains of New Hampshire may be your dream retirement location; just remember a trip down the mountain to the doctor in February can be a real adventure! As a general rule, you are going to be better off in the long run if you pick a retirement location within easy reach of good medical services, even if you don't have a specific need now.

Other retirement lifestyle issues you need to think about. 

Are you into going to live concerts, nights out at the theatre or visiting museums? Then make sure the area that you are considering for a retirement location provides these outlets. If the local nightlife consists of sitting at the local piano bar and singing old Simon & Garfunkel tunes, you are going to find the novelty wears off real quick. If you are a social person, make sure there are ample opportunities to meet and socialize with other adults that share your interests. Don't overlook the availability of religious organizations. Many people find that religious organizations provide opportunities to meet new friends and to get involved in community service efforts. If you have hobbies or other leisure time activities you enjoy, check out the local area to see what related facilities or organizations are available. If deep sea fishing is your thing, Kansas is probably not a good choice for you.

If you take your time, think ahead, and consider all the important issues involved, you are much more likely to make the right choices concerning you retirement location. You have worked hard and made the decisions you needed to make to get to this point in your life; you want to get this one right.

About The Author: Burt Widener writes extensively on issues concerning retirement. His website at offers a range of articles and other resources to aid retired persons find answers to common questions regarding retirement.

Find out more about: retirement
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