It can be confusing making sense of the many “best places to retire” lists out there. In fact, it’s probably best to eye these lists with extreme skepticism.
The way these lists are graded often misses the point: They don’t tell you much about what your life would be like if you lived there, because there’s just too much about your life they can’t possibly know or take into consideration. Plus, a lot of what’s desirable is completely subjective. One person’s tranquil small town might make another go stir-crazy, while someone from Texas might shiver just at the thought of moving to Maine.
“What we really want people to think about is, how is their home designed? Is their community going to be able to support them?” says Amy Levner, manager of livable communities at AARP.
A number of factors should be considered: Community, Taxes, Cost of living, Healthcare, Public transportation, & Social networks. For details on each one of these, see the full article here.
To figure out if a community will be a good fit for you, consider talking to the locals. Older folks in particular who already live in the place you’re thinking about moving to can be a great resource. Depending on your hobbies and interests, reach out to a local church, synagogue, activity, or business-focused group you might like to be a part of and press current members for honest assessments of the area. Check local media websites and see if there are groups or events where newcomers can forge new social connections.
As it turns out, nearly 90% of us stay put after retirement. And for the ones who do move, the most common reason is to be closer to their grandkids and family. So go ahead and look at those lists if you want to see how where you’re living stacks up, but don’t stress out about finding the “perfect” retirement community. You might already be living there.
By Martha C. White– May 13, 2013