How to plan for retirement

Will your retirement be fun, social and affordable? Or will you be bored, lonely and broke? Although many factors contribute to the quality of your retirement, one factor makes a significant difference and is within your power to change – the location.

During retirement, your priorities change. You’re not as concerned about things like job openings and school ratings. You might be planning to move to downsize anyway. Even if you like the area where you live now, you might find that a different place is better suited for your needs in retirement.

To find your dream retirement destination, think about what matters to you the most.


Do you dream of a quiet cabin surrounded by nature? Or do you prefer a bustling city close to shops and restaurants? Think about the lifestyle you want and then find a place that offers it.

  • If you want a walkable city – one where you can get around easily even without a car – check out Walk Score. The most walkable city was New York, followed by San Francisco, Boston and Miami. If you’re interested in taking public transportation, Walk Score also gives cities a transit score. New York is the most transit friendly, followed by San Francisco, Boston and Washington D.C.
  • WalletHub ranked cities based on how much fun they have to offer. In 2017, Las Vegas was ranked the most fun, followed by Orlando, New York and Miami.
  • Are you a foodie? The Washington Post says that Portland, Oregon, has the best food, followed by San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Is weather your top concern? California can’t be beat. S. News says that San Diego has the best year-round weather in the country, followed by San Francisco and San Jose. Honolulu came in at number four on their list.

Money and Health

Access to quality health care is a priority for many seniors. For retirees living on a fixed budget, cost is also a major concern. Where you live will have a big impact on how far your retirement savings go.

  • GOBankingRates has a list of the 50 cheapest places to retire. Birmingham came in at the cheapest, followed by Detroit, Jackson and Memphis.
  • Taxes can take a big chunk out of your income. According to USA Today, most states don’t tax Social Security benefits, but 13 states do. If you don’t want to pay state tax on Social Security or your pension, check out the S. News list of 13 states.
  • If you’re worried about having access to health care, The Street ranked the 25 best cities for retirement health care. Naples-Marcos Island in Florida earned the top spot on their list, followed by Salinas, California, and Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida.

Moving Abroad

If you can’t find your dream retirement destination in the United States, you could try looking abroad.

  • According to International Living’s list of the world’s best places to retire in 2018, Costa Rica can’t be beat. Mexico came in at number two.
  • S. News says that New Zealand is the best place for a comfortable retirement, followed by Australia.
  • If your top concerns are cost and safety, Investopedia says Austria is your best bet, followed by Australia.
  • If you really need to make your dollar stretch, Money has four often-overlooked suggestions.

Ever wonder … “How much do I need to retire?” Find out here.