Selecting your spot
When you no longer need to live near your job, a world of possibilities opens up. Relocating can sometimes save you money if you can find more affordable housing and lower your tax bill. Residing near friends and your children and grandchildren can also play a role in your retirement happiness. And you are finally free to move to a place with better weather and the amenities that suit you best. Here are some characteristics of a great place to retire.
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Housing built for aging
You will be able to maintain your independence longer if you select a home with age-friendly features. A few simple upgrades to your home, such as handles or a seat in the shower, can help to prevent injuries, but in some cases a larger move is necessary. Homes with a bedroom, bathing and laundry facilities on a single level with a no-step entry are generally the easiest for older people to navigate.
Good public transportation
There may be a time when you need to give up driving. At that point public transportation becomes essential to maintaining your independence. A few cities have reliable train and bus services for people of all ages. Some communities also provide low-cost taxi or van services just for older people. Make sure you will be able to get around town without driving a car.
Nearby health care
You're likely to use more health care services as you age. Living in close proximity to a doctor, pharmacy and major hospital can make it easier to receive medical care and comply with a treatment plan. Think about how far you will need to travel to receive medical care to treat ongoing conditions or in an emergency.
A good economy
A part-time job is increasingly becoming standard in retirement years. If continuing to work is part of your retirement plan, make sure any place you are considering has a strong economy and job opportunities in your field.
Your nest egg stretches further.
You don't want to spend your retirement years worrying about your next house payment and scrambling to make ends meet. Aim to retire in a place where you can comfortably cover your bills and have a little bit left over for fun. It helps if the local community has a library and senior center or sponsors free activities such as concerts and movie nights.
Year-round weather you can tolerate
Many people dream of an escape from cold, snowy winters. But before you head south, make sure you can tolerate the often sweltering summers. Spend a few months or even a year in a new place before you make a permanent move. Renting for the first year makes it easy to move on if a community is not a good fit.
Opportunities to socialize
Without a job to go to every day, you may lack opportunities to leave the house and socialize. Some communities have senior centers that plan activities or meals that give older residents opportunities to stay engaged with others. Volunteer work is another way to meet new people and serve the community.
Help with chores and maintenance
Maintaining your home gets more difficult as you age. Cutting grass and shoveling snow can be labor intensive, and even changing light bulbs gets more dangerous. It's important to have someone who can help you with these tasks, whether it's a friendly neighbor or paid help. Some retirees move to apartment buildings where the landlord is responsible for much of the building maintenance.
Children and grandchildren
Most older people want to live near their children and grandchildren. That might mean relocating to where your children found jobs or remaining in your current community. Residing in the same city as your relatives can add meaning to your retirement years and be a source of help with errands you would otherwise have to pay for.
Amenities for seniors
Whether it's a golf course or mountain views, a great retirement spot should have the things you are interested in doing. This might mean a museum where you can volunteer as a docent or a scenic walking trail along the river. Start to dream about what you will do all day in retirement, and look for a place that provides those opportunities.
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Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report