Relocation

Millions of baby boomers will retire outside the state where they currently live. A Del Webb survey recently found that 59 percent of boomers plan to relocate. As we mentioned earlier, this is up from 31 percent when boomers were surveyed in 1999. With 59 percent of baby boomers currently planning to relocate for retirement, we can anticipate huge shifts in population and wealth.

A total of 26 percent of boomers surveyed plan to stay in their current homes immediately after quitting their jobs. On the other hand, 24 percent plan to move to their new retirement locations prior to their actual retirement. The other 9 percent plan to move to a new home as soon as they can after retirement.

Florida remains the number-one destination for retirees. In the Del Webb survey, a full 21 percent of the participants said they were planning to retire to Florida. Other top choices included Arizona (18 percent), South Carolina (10 percent) and North Carolina (10 percent).

Money Magazine lists the "Money Best Places to Retire" annually. These top picks offer the best in affordable housing, multiple leisure activities, plentiful cultural options, sunny weather, good health care access and low taxes. For a listing, refer to Money.com or the Idea Library on this Web site.

Money Magazine has a terrific interactive Web site at www.money.com that provides reports and in-depth statistics on more than 700 potential retirement cities. Additionally, www.money.com lists the top 25 cities in the following categories:

  • Affordable homes
  • Health care (number of hospitals within 30 miles)
  • Oldest (highest median age)
  • Biggest 50+ populations
  • Biggest growth in 50+ populations
  • Most golf played
  • Most tennis played
  • Most country club members
  • Most educated.

Where to Retire Magazine is chock-full of advertisements promising help in finding your retirement haven. Builders like Levitt & Sons boast of having built 200,000 homes in 14 adult communities designed for people age 55+. They claim their houses are low-maintenance and in communities for people with active lifestyles. Del Webb's ads talk about lifestyles for those who want to play hard or savor tranquility. Some of their communities offer resort-style amenities, including a calendar of social events and opportunities to pamper yourself. Del Webb is big on state-of-the-art fitness centers, impressive clubhouses and walking trails. Ultimately, Del Webb claims, "We build more than homes--We build communities."

Sorting through these offerings can be overwhelming. Take some time to decide what kind of community best fits your life. The Del Webb survey found that not everyone wants to live in an age-qualified community. As seen below, many people contemplating retirement relocation prefer more age diversity.

Community Composition Preferring

Community mix of all ages 75 percent

Community mainly composed of individuals' age 45+12 percent

Age-qualified community of retirees7 percent

Other type of community 6 percent

Your future retirement home needs to be tailored to your lifestyle and individual preferences. Sorting out those preferences ahead of time will make the search easier and faster.

Many publications and Web sites report offer information on the where to retire. For a list of relocation considerations and planning resources, read Florida Or Bust chapter of What's Next In Your Life.

Finding your retirement community will take research and time. Do your homework. Once you've identified target communities, spend time there. If possible, stay for an extended period--three months or more--to make sure you'll be comfortable living in the community. There are vacation properties available in many of these areas for short-term and long-term rentals. Check out www.homeaway.com where 60,000 vacation properties are listed.

Some 350,000 Americans have retired outside the United States. Some of the more popular destinations include Mexico, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Portugal. Retirees give a number of reasons for choosing these destinations, such as climate, lower cost of living and a desire to live in a more exotic environment. To learn more, you can order "Retiring Outside the United States" online at www.WhereToRetire.com.

Many RV owners plan to spend more time on the road after retirement. Some of them plan to roam the country as full-time RVers. These lucky people can chase the good climate and share in the experiences of many different communities.

Some retirees look for relief from the northern winter chill without permanently moving to the Sun Belt. Snowbirds migrate to warmer climes from northern cities each year around the holidays. The average stay in the south for snowbirds is five months. The most popular destinations include Arizona, California, Nevada, South Texas and Florida. For many people, this yearly cycle solves the climate problem while letting them spend time near family and friends back home.

Baby boomers have the world at their feet. Compared to their parents' generation, they have many more retirement options. Baby boomers are looking for active retirements that suit their individual needs. With proper research and planning, your "second half" destination promises to support your desired lifestyle.

Top 10 Places to Retire
— U.S. News & World Report September 2007

  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Concord, New Hampshire
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Hillsboro, Oregon
  • Peachtree City, Georgia
  • Prescott, Arizona
  • San Francisco, California
  • Smyrna, Tennessee
  • Venice, Florida

—To find out more about these locations click here