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Should You Move Before You Retire? The Answer is, “Maybe”

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If you’re approaching retirement, you’ve no doubt started considering a host of choices, from medical plans to recreational opportunities to Social Security. But one of the biggest choices retirees have to make is often the hardest – and that is whether or not to move.

Here at AgingOptions, in our seminars and on our radio show, we get this question frequently: “Should I move before I retire?” For that reason we were interested in this recent article on the popular financial website The Motley Fool. To the question, “Should I move before I retire,” the answer from the article mirrors the response we typically give – namely “It depends.”

We like the article because it gives a balanced set of reasons why moving before retirement could be a good idea, or a bad one. If you’re trying to decide which options seem best, this analysis might give you some food for thought.

Let’s consider the positive option first – in other words, reasons why you should move before you retire. The first on the list of positives is the most obvious: finances. If remaining in your present home will prove too much of a financial burden in retirement, you might choose to relocate to a less expensive place within your present town – or you might want to choose a brand new place to live, somewhere with lower housing costs and lower taxes. The Motley Fool article gives some striking state-to-state comparisons in property taxes: compared with the average U.S. property tax bill of just under $2,100 in 2015, homeowners in, say, Illinois paid an average of nearly $4,000, compared with the South Carolina average of less than $1,000 annually. That’s a huge difference.

There are other reasons to move that have little to do with money. Many retirees choose to move to places they’ve always wanted to live – places with better weather, for example, or college towns with cultural opportunities and walkable neighborhoods. As for timing, if you do decide to move, doing so when you’re younger is usually better: not only will you have more energy for the challenge of packing and unpacking a houseful of stuff, but you’ll also find it easier to make new friends, find new stores and join new groups – all the things that are important as you settle into a new town.

But what about the other side of the coin? What are some viable reasons to stay put when you retire? The first consideration, says the Motley Fool, is emotional: leaving the familiar for the unfamiliar when you retire can leave you feeling lonely and isolated, missing family, friends, church activities and all the surroundings you’ve come to know and love over the years. This new reality can be compounded by financial shock, because even though you moved to a state with lower property taxes, you might find that other costs such as utilities are far higher. It pays – literally – to do your homework. Settling into a new locale might be harder than you think.

Another thing that might be harder than you think: moving. Yes, this seems like a no-brainer, but if you haven’t moved in a while or bought and sold a home you can forget just how much hassle and expense can be involved. “Moving,” says the Motley Fool, “might prove to be more trouble than it’s worth.”

There’s more to this important article, and once again we suggest you click here to access it. We should also point out that there’s much more to retirement planning than the question of housing. At AgingOptions we take a multi-faceted approach to helping you develop a personalized LifePlan for your retirement years: along with housing choices, we deal with financial planning, legal affairs, health care coverage and family concerns. With a LifePlan in place, you can make informed choices and look ahead to retirement with excitement and peace of mind.

If you’re ready to begin the planning process, we invite you to attend a free LifePlanning Seminar. It’s a wonderful way for you to learn how the process works, in an information-rich session with no obligation whatsoever. For information and registration visit the Upcoming Events tab on this website. We’ll look forward to meeting you soon.

(originally reported at

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