The best time to start thinking about where you may want to live during retirement is long before you retire. While many people spend a lot of time pondering the kind of home they want to live in, they often don’t spend enough time researching the state, town or neighborhood where it may be located. But location may be the most important factor that determines how happy and healthy you’ll be in your new part-time or full-time residence. That’s why you’ll want to thoroughly research any locale you’re considering. How accessible stores and services are. The quality of local hospitals and healthcare professionals. Weather conditions. Whether your potential neighbors are the kinds of people you can make friends with and who can be counted on to help you in an emergency. How easy it is for your children and friends to travel there to visit you. Whether income, sales and estate taxes are lower than where you’re living now. How much of a mortgage you’ll need to take out if you plan to buy a new home. How quickly your home could be sold if and when you pass on or you need to move into an assisted living facility. Once your online research helps you narrow your choices down, plan on taking a trip to visit the top towns or neighborhoods on your wish list. If you find one you really like consider giving it a test drive by renting for a few months to get a real feel of what living there while could be like you’re still able to drive, shop, walk and go out at night. You might need to spend a year or more conducting all of this research, so it’s important to give yourself a head start before you actually plan to make your move.
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