At some point, everyone thinks about where they want to retire. Even if it’s for a fleeting moment, we ask ourselves the question. I know many people who are downsizing – the kids are gone and they just don’t need the space. Or they want relocation to someplace where it’s warmer. Regardless of what prompts the conversation, there are a few things to consider when thinking about where to retire.
I’m sharing this list with you because these are the items Keith and I thought about when we made our decision to move. Yep, at some point next year, we will be moving to Gainesville, Florida (Home of the Florida Gators football team.) We’re very excited about the relocation and promise to share more as things happen.
- Arts, Culture, and Sports – Does the city offer the types of activities you like to do? If you like the theater, there’s no sense in moving to some place without it. If you enjoy museums, does the city have some? We’re excited that Gainesville has several parks and nature trails. And while neither of us graduated from UF, my guess is we will get caught up in college sports. (I think it might be a requirement of living there.)
- History, Demographics, Religion, and Politics – It’s pretty easy to look up the history of a city on Wikipedia. You can also check out census information and demographics in terms of gender, age, etc. It could also make some sense to look at the last election results. Do you feel your voice will be heard? And make sure you feel you can openly practice your faith in the city you choose.
- Family and Friends – Most people already think of this, but it needs to be on the list. On a personal note, relocation is a little bittersweet for us. We will be moving away from terrific friends, but we are moving a little bit closer to family. The good news is we’re staying in the state, so hopefully, we can visit often. And Orlando is a great halfway point to connect.
- Finances and Cost of Living – I think it’s hard to figure out actual cost of living. We looked at those online indexes but I think you can get a better feel when you’re actually spending time in the city. Go to a grocery store and check out prices. Eat dinner at a few different types of places. We’ve been told that property taxes are higher in GNV because of the university, but food and housing are definitely less expensive.
- Health Care – Does the city you’re considering have enough health care options? And if this is what you’re calling “your final relocation”, do they have senior or elder care options? I know we don’t like to discuss these things but, at some point, you have to.
- News – What makes the news in your chosen city? We added a section to our Google News feed so we could see what people in Gainesville were talking about. Interestingly, it also gave us some perspective about crime in the area, because crime makes the news.
- Travel – Since we’re still working full-time, having access to an airport is essential. We’re only a couple of hours from Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando. Gainesville has a small airport that flies to Atlanta. And from ATL, you can get anywhere. We also enjoy cruising, so lucky for us there are several cruise ports nearby.
- Weather – I know a lot of people want to retire in the warmer temperatures. That’s great, just realize there are tradeoffs. We’re giving up wearing shorts in December, but we don’t have to deal with putting hurricane shutters on our house when we’re in our 70’s. Every city has something.
You probably noticed that I intentionally put the list in alphabetical order. That’s because the priority you attach to each one could be different. For some people, family might be the number one consideration. And for others, it might be finances or weather or something else.
Making the relocation decision for retirement is a big one. It takes time. Keith and I easily spent over a year talking about it. Hopefully, a list like this will give you a few things to consider as you’re making decisions about how to spend your unretirement.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the 34th Street Graffiti Wall in Gainesville, FL