Retirement is a time when you get to enjoy your life and spend the time doing what you want to do. But the trick is to know exactly where you will do it. Here are some tips to help you figure that out.

1. Consider the climate

The climate of a place can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. You might want to consider the region’s average temperature, humidity levels, and precipitation rates before settling on a location.

2. Consider the culture

A town's culture is a reflection of the people who inhabit it. The day-to-day life in a town is heavily influenced by the morals, values and traditions practiced by the majority of its inhabitants. In the United States, there are many cities that have a great retirement culture, with some focusing more on developing retirement communities while others focus more on the services they offer. Factors to consider when choosing which city to retire in include affordability, proximity to family and friends, and entertainment.

3. Consider your health care needs.

Healthcare is essential to living a good life. A crucial aspect of living well is having access to quality healthcare. However, what makes the difference between good healthcare and bad? There are many factors that influence the quality of services, such as available doctors and medical specialists, cost of treatment and availability of emergency services.

Here are some good places to look at first:

  1. Mesa, Arizona
  2. Lexington, Kentucky
  3. Johnson City, Tennessee
  4. Venice, Florida

4. Choose a place that is affordable and has a good cost of living index

The term “cost of living” refers to the amount of money required to cover living expenses in a certain geographical location. This number typically includes housing costs, health care, food prices and taxes. Cost of living is most commonly used to compare living in one city to another as a way to gauge affordability and what type of lifestyle you can reasonably achieve based on your income. It can also help you determine the right salary if you’re considering relocating to a new city for a job.

The Formula

While there are quite a few cost of living calculators online that will allow you to compare two different locations, you can also do the calculation yourself. With the cost of living index for each area, the formula is relatively simple.

[(City B – City A)/City A] x 100

Let’s say you currently live in City A, which has an index of 90.9, and want to move to City B, which has an index of 115.1. To compare the cost of living between these two cities, you would complete the following steps:

  1.    Subtract the index of your current city from the index of the city you want to move to: 115.1 - 90.9 = 24.2
  2.    Divide the resulting difference by the index of your current city: 24.2 ÷90.9 = .266
  3.    Multiply the resulting quotient by 100 to get the percentage: .266 x 100 = 26.6%

So, in order to maintain your current standard of living after moving from City A to City B, you would need about a 27% increase in your income.

5. Our pick of best places to retire in the US.

1. Florida

Every year, more and more people are retiring in Florida. With its gorgeous beaches, diverse wildlife, and laid-back lifestyle, it's no wonder why.

For those who prefer an entire community of neighbors of a certain age, Florida offers plenty of 55 and older communities, most notably The Villages in Central Florida.

One of the reasons why many retirees settle in Florida (besides the weather) is that property taxes are relatively low and there is no state income tax. You can even deduct property taxes from your second home as well as interest on the mortgage.

2. California

For seniors wishing to continue working in retirement, this is the place to be. While the cost of living in California is generally higher than the rest of the country, so is the income. The median household income in California is $8,000 per year higher than the national average.

Most of California stays in the 70s year round with no chance of snow for most of the state. The mild climate draws seniors from all over the country, promising sunshine filled days of exploring California’s stunning natural beauty.

3. Arizona

Retiring in Arizona brings major tax breaks because Arizona does not tax on social security income. There is also no gift tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax. This can make a huge impact for seniors living off of their savings. On other taxable income, the rates are low, around 2.59% for married filers with $20,690 of taxable income to 4.54% for married filers with more than $310,317 of taxable income. It is important to note that private pensions are fully taxed. For those receiving a federal government or military pension, only the first $2,500 is exempt from Arizona state taxes.

The entire state was meant to be explored – and it’s not all desert. From skiing in Flagstaff to fishing the Colorado River to bouldering in northern Phoenix, Arizona is the place to feed an adventurous soul. Camp or hike at one of the state’s national parks, catch a cheap spring training baseball game, ski, boat, take a Jeep off-roading, or spend the day fishing – Arizona has it all.

4. Colorado

When you choose to retire in Colorado, you enjoy immense tax benefits, which include a large deduction on all retirement income and the state boasts some of the lowest property taxes in the country. The average effective rate in the state is 0.57%. Additionally, food and medicine are exempt from sales tax. Colorado is considered to be tax-friendly for retirees, allowing a deduction of $24,000 per year on all retirement income for taxpayers 65 years old and older. 

Colorado has the second lowest obesity rate in the country and draws retirees from all over the country with an active lifestyle encouraged by outdoor recreation and the state’s mild climate. The state is ranked 8th in the nation for good health by the United Health Foundation. Choosing to retire in Colorado means choosing health and wellness.

Some people know what they want to accomplish with their lives even as children. They are driven, are preparing for their future, and have chosen rewarding occupations. However, not everyone is that fortunate. Perhaps you aspired to be a doctor but were unable to pass advanced chemistry. Maybe you played football until you were tackled by a 300-pound opponent. Perhaps you didn't know what you wanted to do and settled for a job that was accessible at the time, paid the bills, and was rewarding enough to keep you going.

You don't have to work for a living after you retire. It's time to quit settling and start pursuing your hobbies in retirement. What if you don't have a passion or aren't sure what it is? Here are some simple tips to figure out what you actually want to do after you retire. Answer the questions honestly to aid in the discovery of fun ways to spend your time after retirement.

What aspects of your job did you enjoy and which did you despise? Perhaps you detested sitting at your desk but delighted in planning and attending meetings. If that's the case, your church or community center can benefit from your assistance as a volunteer who plans programs and trips. If you enjoy collaborating with people to achieve a shared objective, and if you didn't like to travel for work maybe consider hobbies closer to home.

What would you want to know more about? Obtain a catalog from your local adult education program or your community college's continuing education section. Take a look at the course descriptions. Maybe you've always wanted to learn more about history, yoga, technology, or another language. Even if you don't want to attend a course, this activity might help you figure out where your interests are and where you should focus your efforts.

Do you prefer to work alone or in a group setting? If you enjoy being a part of a group, you definitely don't want to spend hours writing your memoirs in your home office or doing crafts in your garage. Remember to organize social events on a regular basis, or choose a volunteer or part-time employment with a social component. If you love spending time alone, a schedule jam-packed with volunteer responsibilities is probably not for you.

Do you enjoy being outside? If you do, you might want to consider relocating to a warmer area where you can go hiking, kayaking, or play golf or tennis all year. Joining a league that provides a competitive outlet or helps you set a goal to focus your activities could be appealing. If you enjoy a four- or five-mile trek in your neighborhood park, the Appalachian Trail or the Camino de Santiago in Spain can be the perfect challenge for you.

Do you prefer physical or mental exertion? You are aware that you should exercise, but be honest with yourself. If working out isn't your thing, establish plans to obtain the bare minimum of exercise to maintain your health, and then focus your efforts on what you truly like. You might go for a stroll before going to a bridge or chess club, or after your volunteer work at the town historical society, you may go to a yoga session.

Do you enjoy assisting others? In retirement, there are several chances to volunteer. You may assist elderly with food or transportation, or you could tutor youngsters to help them improve their reading and writing abilities. Check your local listings on volunteermatch.org or ask around at your church or community center.

Do you prefer familiar surroundings or do you want continual change? If you've spent your whole life in one area and have solid roots in the community, chances are you'll be content to age in there. However, you may have a long-held longing to break out and explore new territory. You might rent a motor home and try out the RV lifestyle for a bit, or you could travel abroad to see whether you enjoy the adventure of seeing a new country.

Try out a few other hobbies. Take a photography class, go camping for three days, or volunteer with Meals on Wheels. Take note of what piques your curiosity and what makes you uninterested. Experimenting with several activities, particularly early in retirement, might help you discover your passion. And one pastime may not be sufficient to meet all of your requirements. In the afternoon, you may interact with a walking group before retiring to the solitude of your own house to snuggle up with a book or Netflix.

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