As you approach retirement, you may be looking forward to time to do as you choose, travel or visit family and friends. And you may be like most American Boomers who plan to work well beyond traditional retirement years to maximize the money you have set aside. And you may resemble those who plan to make a housing change during retirement years.
Boomers and retirement
The challenges of retirement in the 21st century are not for the faint of heart. Many people reaching retirement age do not feel the economy has rebounded, and thus have adjusted their expectations for life during retirement. A February 2017 study, “10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered,” by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement notes, “Only about one-third (31%) of middle-income Boomers feel well prepared or very well prepared for retirement, down from four in 10 (41%) before the financial crisis.” The study also discovered that half (48%) of the Boomers surveyed expect to work at least part-time during their retirement.
Image Credit - Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions (Link)
Moving to a new home for retirement
When it comes to housing, where will you live in retirement? Sixty-four percent of retirees have moved or anticipate moving in retirement per Merrill Lynch and Age Wave in their recent survey on retirement. “Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions”. Of those who change houses, 30 percent of retirees buy bigger homes in retirement.
During their retirement years people feel freed from traditional home requirements and therefore have increased freedom to live where and how they wish. Termed the “Freedom Threshold”, people envision themselves with fewer constraints and choose to live life on their own terms. Newly freed of the old shackles, people move to be closer to family and choose larger homes to accommodate guests who come to visit. If this sounds like you, what should you know about choosing your new retirement home and location?
Make a short list of towns and explore every aspect of them
Make a short list of the communities you are considering for retirement. Evaluate each of them for factors including:
- Housing cost
- Access to medical care
- Work opportunities
- Housing costs
Retirement lifestyle factors to consider
Most of us will focus on lifestyle first, choosing communities with interesting things to do. For a majority of folks, this includes getting outside. People choose to move to the Lowcountry due to our proximity to the ocean and the beautiful rivers and waterways which lend themselves to an active, outdoor lifestyle. For citizens of the Charleston area, with five beach towns within a short drive, putting your toes in the sand and soaking up the sun is within everyone’s reach. So is paddling on the Ashley, or the Cooper River.
There is a subset of people who are move to central business districts of larger cities at retirement. They are energized with the options living in a larger city brings them. Restaurants, museums, cultural attractions, educational institutions, and events are all more frequently found in larger cities. The greater Charleston area fills every one of these needs for folks who want an enriched community. With three universities and beau coups cultural organizations, our Lowcountry cities are prime for living a life of mental exploration in your retirement years.
Climate is often a factor in your new community selection too. It’s very common for people from colder climates to relocate to the greater Charleston area due to our temperate, sub-tropical climate. We don’t have too many sub-freezing days here.
We all expect to be healthy, however reality tells us that we will have health challenges as we age. Being near medical centers where there are research institutions such as the Medical University of South Carolina may be a factor in your retirement choice. Charleston is well-served by several highly ranked medical institutions and has many excellent health-care providers.
Economic lifestyle factors to consider
Because most of us will work (at least part-time) in retirement, be certain that employment is available in your desired industrial sector or service area. In a recent survey from the Milken Institute, Charleston and North Charleston were reported to have an unemployment rate of 30 percent for those 65 and over.
Look at the other economic factors of living in the city you’re choosing. Unless you’re really wealthy, you’re going to be carefully managing your finances to make them last as long as you do. Make sure the city you select has a cost of living you can support. Consider real estate taxes, local or county personal property taxes, insurance rates as well as the cost of living. Remember to check electrical and gas rates for the utility company serving your preferred town because that is another essential expense. Charleston’s economy is growing rapidly. Learn more about living in Charleston from the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.
To cipher how much it is going to cost you to pay taxes, insurance, etcetera, you can multiply your home’s worth by 3.25%, a figure Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research determined is needed to pay taxes, insurance, upkeep, and utility bills. These typically run about 3.25% of the value of a house.
Image Credit - Del Webb: Del Webb Charleston
After choosing your retirement community, go visit
Don’t simply play tourist when it comes time to make your choice of where to retire. Rent something short-term, and get right into the life you envision. Hastening into your move, may leave you with buyer's’ remorse. If you spend time in the town you hope to move to, you’ll begin to make connections, learn your way around and get a sense of whether this is a place which will fulfill your retirement dreams. Search for your retirement home in Charleston.
Retirement planning is about shaping the life you want, rather than allowing life to shape you. Whether you choose to downsize both your home and lifestyle or relocate to a larger home in a new town, you can make your life what you want, but plan, evaluate, research, visit and then, enjoy!
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