Many people retire in the same place they lived during their working years. If the city or town you lived in throughout your career is filled with family, friends, and quality of life (awesome weather, great food, the arts, etc) then you may want to stay put during your golden years. However, relocating in retirement could make for a more relaxed, stress-free lifestyle. Here are a just few reasons why you might want to consider making a move.
1. The cost of living is high
Some cities are more just expensive than others. We have seen the cost of living in our area go up quite substantially over the past years. Recent statistics indicate the cost of living in Vancouver, Washington is 24% more expensive than the national average. Portland’s cost of living is 29% higher. Living in a high cost city allows for better access to jobs which may in turn provide a higher paycheck, but once you stop working those reasons may no longer be a motivator to stay. If you live where the overall cost of living is high, moving away could allow you to stretch your retirement nest egg further.
2. You are far away from family
Another reason many retirees relocate is to be closer to their adult children. Their kids may live far away, having left the family home for college, careers, or to start their own families. Retirees with a lot more time on their hands may find that they don’t want to be far away from their kids and want to be able to spend quality time with the grandkids.
3. You live in an area with high income or property taxes
High taxes can be a source of financial stress in retirement, even if you live someplace that isn’t expensive. Though you won’t be collecting a paycheck from a full-time job, you’ll still have income from other sources such as Social Security, a pension, and your retirement savings. You might even choose to work part-time or run a small business. The less tax you pay, the more money you’ll have left over to spend. State income tax (like in Oregon) could be a burden, especially to retirees taking distributions from taxable accounts. Moving to a state like Washington (with a sales tax) could be an advantage since the typical retiree spends less on non-essential items.
Property taxes can also be a problem. Many seniors enter retirement with their home paid off. Even if you own your home outright, high property taxes can be devastating to someone on a fixed income. Moving to where it’s cheaper to own a home, like from Portland to Klamath Falls, could help you better manage the funds you have to spend. Downsizing a house and yard can be attractive to the person who wants to travel and not be tied down.
4. You live someplace where you absolutely need a car
Living in a walker friendly city, or one with great public transportation, could save you a significant amount of money each year by allowing you to get by without a car. On average It costs about $8,849 a year to own a vehicle according to AAA.
Walking is free, and public transportation can be relatively cheap compared to owning a car. Many cities offer discounts on their transit systems to seniors. Living someplace walkable can help keep you in shape, thereby saving you some money on healthcare costs.
Relocating in retirement isn’t an easy thing to do. It costs money to pack up your life and move. Leaving a location where you have ties to family and friends can take an emotional toll. If you find the pros outweigh the cons, relocation could make your retirement years easier from a financial perspective. Who knows? You may find a new that city offers more activities and social opportunities than you previously had access to.