5 Top Qualities of a Great Place to Retire

When you retire, suddenly you can live anywhere you want. There are any number of personal factors that will play into your decision when you’re thinking about moving for retirement. You want to be close to your family, your spouse may still be working and need to stay close to work, or the climate may be your number one concern.

But if you’re eager to retire afar, there are a few qualities you should look for – and questions to ask yourself – to decide which is the right place for you.

  • 1 Financial Considerations

Ten years ago, retirees listed climate as their top concern when choosing a place to retire; today, affordability and financial situation are the most important concerns. Here’s what you need to find out before you move elsewhere to retire:

  • Affordability – is the real estate market reasonable enough for you to buy or rent there?
  • Taxes – how will your retirement income be affected by moving to a place with different taxation laws?
  • Care Costs – how much will more hands-on care cost if it becomes necessary?

On the other hand, before you start picking the most affordable or tax advantageous places to live, make sure you know what you want to do with your retirement.

  • 2 What Kind of Lifestyle Do You Want?

In all the retirement planning, it can be easy to neglect imagining what kind of lifestyle you want to live when you retire. What do you want to do with all of your time? Do you want to spend your time going on hikes and nature walks with your partner, or would you rather have quick and convenient access to museums, theatres, and great restaurants?

Reaching your retirement years is a chance to be honest with yourself about what you want to do and what’s important to you. Spend some time thinking about what really matters to you.

  • 3 Access to Medical Services

As you age and require more active healthcare, you may want to make sure you live in a place with easy access to high-quality medical services. That’s one reason there are so many new senior housing options in Ottawa, a city that features both high quality hospitals and a high ratio of doctors per capita, meaning you can more easily access family doctors and specialists to work with you on your healthcare.

  • 4 Is It a Good Place to Live Every Day?

One of the litmus tests used by Joseph Caughlin of MIT AgeLab is the question, “How can you get an ice cream cone?” First you need to know what makes you happy in a regular, routine way. Is it a nice cup of coffee and an hour with a newspaper at the coffee shop? Is it picking up fresh flowers and a bottle of wine?

Second, you need to be able to access it, and you should keep your future in mind. Can you get that ice cream cone if you no longer own a car or a driver’s license? Family will be willing to help you get to medical appointments and important things like that, but you should be free to get to those small, everyday pleasures as well. Life is mostly made up of small things like this. Your retirement will be happier if you can access them independently.

  • 5 Will There Be Like-Minded People?

What are some of the things you bond with others over quickly? Are you a die-hard sports fan who loves to celebrate when your team wins or are you more likely to get caught up in a lively debate about politics? Consider the social scene when you choose somewhere to move.

Your retirement should be about more than just the weather. Think about what you like to do and what your social networks will be like, and you’re more likely to live the retirement you want.