Q&A: How to find the ideal retirement location

Q&A: How to find the ideal retirement locationAnnette Fuller, the editor of 'Where to Retire' magazine offers insights on relocating.(Photo: Dave Einsel for USA TODAY)Florida and Arizona are still two of the hottest spots for people who want to relocate in retirement, but other places, including Colorado, are becoming more popular, says Annette Fuller, the editor of Where to Retire magazine.For those who choose to move, the choices vary greatly depending on the person, she says.The magazine staff has interviewed thousands of retirees on this topic since it was founded in 1992, Fuller says. Most issues include profiles of four attractive cities, one active-adult community and one roundup of eight locations, such as those known for walkability, college basketball or low overall taxes.USA TODAYRetirement- USATODAY.comUSA TODAY talked to Fuller about relocating in retirement.Q: What are some of the most popular locations for retirement and why?A: The classic answer is two states — Florida and Arizona — and that still holds true today. A lot of people get happy with sunshine on their shoulders. Also, a lack of humidity shuts down allergies and allows easy breathing. The vast majority of retirees we interview want to get away from dull gray skies, nearly perpetual rain, dampness, mold, humidity, icy roads and 8-foot walls of snow.But relocation decisions are as unique as the individual making them. So, other retirees look to the Southeast from Virginia, circling on over to Louisiana. A lot of affordable living is in the Southeast as well as beaches, friendly people and a mean glass of sweet iced tea. Plus, retirees don’t mind a measly 2 inches of snow several times each winter, and sometimes can even snag a white Christmas.Out West, Colorado is gaining popularity for its emphasis on fitness and the environment. If you love snow skiing, hiking, kayaking or knocking around in an all-wheel drive roadster, the West can sound out a convincing call.USA TODAYMost retirees feel right at homeQ: Why relocate during retirement?A: All of their lives, folks nearing retirement lived where the job was. Finally, for the first time in their lives, they get to choose a new city and craft a new lifestyle, and many have the means to do so. They get to turn their backs on brake-tapping traffic spread across six lanes. They get to say no to masses of humanity. They get to choose a city that is walkable, has a cool downtown, is near a big city and has a low crime rate. Those factors seem to be universal.They can choose a master-planned community that nurtures organic friendships and has all the amenities they want. They also can choose a city that has antiques shops, dog-friendly parks, ongoing education classes or a massive classic car show each year. In other words, they get to decide what city is their Camelot.Q: What about the elephant-in-the-room question: Should retirees move close to adult children and grandchildren?A: Two schools of thought here, and people in both probably have nagging doubts. Some retirees relocate straightaway to their adult children’s cities, wanting to be “backdoor” grands, meaning their grandchild slips into their house without knocking, proudly showing a tooth that fell out, asking for a cookie or needing help with homework.Nothing, perhaps, brings more exquisite pleasure than a 2-year-old grandchild falling asleep in your lap. Another aspect of this scenario that gives retirees pleasure is seeing flashes of gratitude from their tapped-out adult children, who are oh so glad for the help.The other category is grandparents who don’t feel the need for these daily intertwined lives and must fly or take a road trip to see their children. They get a concentrated joy overload during a few visits each year.Some retirees have told us that these in-and-out swoops bring out the best in everyone: All parties are on good behavior and more shared communication takes place, since everyone innately knows that the time together is limited. Then, truth be told, they like getting on that plane to head back to their own household where peace and quiet reign.Neither way is right or wrong on its own, of course; this matter is best left up to individual personalities and circumstances. But one thing is sure: Adult children do not like being the only outlet for their parents’ social lives.When retirees move to a location near adult children, they need to find friends, volunteer, stay active and connected outside of their family. Also, never forget that adult children often relocate themselves, leaving some retirees stuck in a city that they never really liked where their grandchildren used to live.STORY: How to save and invest for retirementQ: What advice about housing/relocation do you have for someone who is thinking about retiring in the next few years?A: Make meticulous charts and pro-and-con lists on your finalist cities for retirement relocation. Hire experts to look at how your finances and taxes will be affected in each. And read Where to Retire magazine. But allow emotion and serendipity to play a part, too.Sometimes the “spur of the moment” isn’t totally a whim and taps into something that needs to be brought to the surface.One couple we interviewed took an exit off the highway to use the restroom and stumbled upon Nevada City, Calif., which became their beloved destination. Another man attended a convention in San Antonio, fell in love and returned to be a full-time Texan. Chart it out, but also feel it out.Q: Can you talk about how people are easing into retirement and relocation in the process?A: A trend that has been pronounced in the past five to 10 years is that many people are not just retiring at age 65 and slamming into full retirement overnight. Today, many leave their lifelong career in their 50s and relocate to a lower-stress job in a city where they would like to be when they fully retire. Eventually, they might go to four days a week, then two days a week.Others relocate to their chosen destination and do contract or freelance work from home, or take a part-time job in town. Today, it seems, with online workplace systems such as HipChat, and easy document sharing and transfer, people can live anywhere and work anywhere — commute not required.USA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich talks about how to save aggressively for retirement in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond. (Your Best Life in Retirement, MONEY)Don't let the government keep the Social Security benefits you rightfully deserve, said Laurence Kotlikoff, co-author of 'Get What's Yours.' NewslookUSA TODAY’s retirement columnist Rodney Brooks talks to Jeanne Thompson, a vice president at Fidelity about saving aggressively for retirement. (MONEY, USA TODAY)USA TODAY’s retirement columnist Rodney Brooks talks to Jeanne Thompson, a vice president at Fidelity Investments about what it takes to save a million dollars for retirement. (MONEY, USA TODAY)Target date fund managers are continually working to improve returns even as their fundholders 'set it and forget it,' said Fredrik Axsater, Global Head of Retirement Programs for State Street Global Advisors. NewslookPresident Barack Obama calls for tighter rules on retirement account brokers, reigniting a confrontation with the financial services industry over rules affecting trillions of dollars in 401k and other savings accounts.. (Feb. 23) APUSA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich shares best tips for landing a job in your retirement years. (MONEY, USA TODAY)USA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich outlines a plan for pumping up your physical activity in the new year. (MONEY, USA TODAY)Retirement planning is a challenge regardless of your pre-retirement income. Over half of American households may not be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, according to the Center for Retirement Research. NewslookIf anyone should know how to get the best income from your funds, it’s Gary Davis, head of Vanguard’s $900 billion in bond funds. And that’s why we talked to him. (MONEY, USA TODAY)Katherine Dean, Senior VP/Managing Director of Wells Fargo shares tips on retirement planning. If you're starting to think about your New Year's resolutions, investing efficiently in your financial future is always a good one to consider. It's never a waste of your time to understand where your money is going and how you can save for your ret NewslookUSA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich talks about how much exercise it takes to burn off some holiday indulgences. (Your Best Life in Retirement, MONEY)USA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich talks about how to avoid the pitfalls of impulse purchases. (Your Best Life in Retirement, MONEY)USA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich outlines stress-reduction strategies for the holidays (USA MONEY, USA TODAY)USA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich shares ideas for creative inexpensive holiday gifts. (USA MONEY, USA TODAY)Same-sex couples in general are likely to have saved far less for retirement than their straight counterparts, according to exclusive analysis of the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances by AP. (Nov. 21) APUSA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich offers easy ways to curb your spending during the holidays. (Your Best Life in Retirement, MONEY)USA TODAY's Nanci Hellmich offers ideas for cutting costs when dining out. (USA MONEY, USA TODAY)USA TODAY's Nanci Hellmich shares advice from financial experts who say many Americans need to save much more aggressively for retirement. USA TODAY's Nanci Hellmich explains how to cope with retiring from your job. (Money, Retirement, USA TODAY)USA TODAY’s Nanci Hellmich shares tips for decluttering in retirement. (Retirement, USA TODAY)Pets ease transition into retirement USA Today's John Waggoner explains how a Social Security raise will impact retirees in 2015. USA TODAY contributor Regina Lewis explains why a 20 minute financial planning session benefits you. (Money Quick Tips, USA TODAY)Millennials may be struggling with student loans and a rough job market, but nearly half have already started saving for retirement, said Kristen Robinson, Senior Vice President at Fidelity. NewslookThe new CEO Of AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins who takes over on September 1, 2014 replacing outgoing CEO A. Barry Rand. Nearly half of Americans surveyed by the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index said they are worried about outliving their savings. NewslookAmreicas Markets with John Waggoner on the Social Security cost of living raise. USA TODAYAmericans are feeling guilty about not investing enough over the past year, said Aron Levine, head of Preferred Banking and Merrill Edge at Bank of America. NewslookConsumers should own an annuity for what it will do, not what it might do, says Stan Haithcock, annuity expert and author of "The Annuity Stanifesto". NewslookPeople need to plan to provide income for themselves in retirement with the same care and diligence in which they save for retirement, says Scott Holsopple, Managing Director of Retirement Solutions at The Mutual Fund Store. NewslookRetirees and investors close to retirement should not make dramatic changes in their accounts due to the recent market volatility, said Scott Thoma, Retirement Strategist for Edward Jones. Newslook

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