Friday, February 21, 2014

Retirement Considerations: Specifics on When and Where

While most Americans retire in or near the community they have been living, many consider a new locale.

Some move away with dreams of retiring in style, some hope to stretch their retirement dollars and some are simply forced by necessity. Whether you decide to "retire in place" or plan a move, here are three important considerations:
1. Your health and the health of your spouse. 2. Your finances and financial commitments. 3. Your desired lifestyle; what’s important to you and your family.

If your new location does not address these three areas of concern, then you should consider an alternative or staying put. Of course there are many other factors that could be taken into consideration but concentrating your efforts in these three will make it easier for you and your spouse to plan.

Start your planning early but plan in such a way that you can make changes should your needs change.

Things to consider when choosing a location in which to live during your retirement years:
  1. Live within walking distance of basic amenities, such as health facilities, drugstores, supermarkets and banks.
  2. Live within short driving distance of a hospital that has specialists in any area where you have major problems, such as heart, kidney, vision, arthritis, Alzheimer's, etc.
  3. If volunteering is of interest to you, pick a community where there are opportunities.
  4. If continuing your education is important to you, check the opportunities before moving.
  5. If the arts are important, check the availability and locations of symphony, ballet, art museums, etc.
  6. Check the crime rate.
  7. Check the availability of public transportation so you can easily reach stores and the many other places you need to visit as you may not always be able to drive.
  8. Choose a place that is on one level, has halls wide enough for wheelchair access, doorways at least 36 inches wide and has an outside entrance without steps.
  9. Choose a place that has nonskid floors

Remember that what seems great for you and your spouse when you are in your early 60s may very well not work at all later in your retirement years.
More and more Americans are choosing to stay in or near the place where they currently live. There are financial, lifestyle and medical advantages to do so. For details on some of these advantages and modifications to your home you should consider review our information on aging in place .
If your health or the health of your spouse is or can be a problem, aging in place should be given strong consideration. In any case chose a location that is convenient to appropriate medical care.
If you’re considering a move and would like to check the cost of living in another area versus where you currently live, check out this cost-of-living calculator . For a more thorough comparisons, check out the PlacesRated website , which compares most major cities in every conceivable way including climate, educational facilities, sports teams, cultural advantages etc.
If you choose to move to another city or state, you’ll want to consider affordability and how tax friendly your new location might be. Also, the tax and estate planning consequences of a change in domicile — one’s fixed, principal and permanent home — are considerable, as RetireMentor Stephen Williams explains.
And if retiring abroad appeals to you, read my previous columns on what you need to know and seven questions that you should ask yourself before making such a move. And don’t think that by retiring abroad you can escape the long arm of the IRS, as this column on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act from fellow RetireMentor Aaron Katsman points out.
If you decide that you’d like some level of assisted care, click on these links for more information on retirement homes , retirement communities and nursing homes .
Disclaimer: Consultation with your physicians, financial advisers, accountants and attorneys are recommended in the areas where their expertise is of value. These recommendations aren’t appropriate for everyone.

Art Koff, Founder


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