Where Should You Live in Retirement? Part II

Utah

Dan and Edna, loved the American Southwest, they spent most of their vacations exploring New Mexico, Arizona, and the entire Four Corners area.

They loved the climate, the culture, and had a passion for the geography and history of the area. When they retired, he as an aerospace engineer and she as a commercial chef, they made the decision to move from Northern Virginia to “somewhere out west”.

Tired of big city living and congestion, Dan and Edna, narrowed their choices to St. George, Utah and Santa Fe, New Mexico. They had visited both places frequently while on vacation and liked the vibe they discovered in each. There was very little crime, but plenty of restaurants, and culture to be had. Neither city had a beltway or its daily traffic snarls. Dan and Edna rented a house in each city for extended periods so they could get the feel of what it was like to live there. Unlike their vacations, this time they visited the local grocery stores, churches, and hospitals. They spoke with realtors, insurance agents and even visited a barber and hair salon. They made a point of talking with their neighbors. In the end their choice was clear to them, they would move to Utah.

Four months later they said goodbye to their friends and family in Northern Virginia and moved their life 2200 miles west. This is not meant to be a cautionary tale, and Dan and Edna remain happy in their new hometown four years later. They had done the homework necessary for a seemingly successful move. Life happens though, sometimes unexpectedly. A few months after leaving Virginia, Dan slipped in his back yard and ruptured his right Achilles tendon requiring surgery. The nature and severity of the injury dictated a specialist. St. George has a fine small hospital, which Dan and Edna had visited while scoping out the town on a previous visit. They made the decision however, to seek out a specialist at the nearest major surgical hospital in Las Vegas, two hours away.  The surgery in Las Vegas was a success, but Dan’s recovery left him in a cast or boot for eight months and required frequent visits to Las Vegas. Leaving their support system behind in Virginia, all of Dan’s needs, from transportation to entertainment, were left to Edna. After eight months, Dan had fully recovered, but the injury took its toll on both.

Where Should You Live in Retirement? Part II

Edna and Dan’s story turns out well. Because of the time and homework they did in making their decision, they have found a new home, one that suits them. But it also illustrates some points of consideration that can be overlooked:

  1. How much healthcare will you need? – As we grow older our medical needs change. When looking for a place to retire, consider not only your current health, but what it might be like ten, fifteen years from now. Everyone wants good trauma care, and basic wellness, but what about, joint repair and surgery, diabetes treatments, even Alzheimer’s care. No one can tell the future, but we can make reasonable assumptions about how our needs will change as we grow older.
  1. How will I get around, when I can’t get around? – Dan was fortunate to have Edna. She could get him to the hospital for his regular visits, took him to the physical therapist, and got him out and about to the movies and a ball game. He never had to rely on public transportation. What is the public transportation like in your proposed new town? Is it safe, affordable, and accessible; or will you have to spend extra dollars on taxi or rideshare services?
  1. What happens when it’s just me? - When Dan and Edna left their home in Northern Virginia, they packed the clothes and furniture they wanted, sold some of their belongings, and gave other to charity. They thought that they had everything that they would need in their new home. What they couldn’t pack was their support system – their friends and family. Dan’s injury was certainly unexpected, and it happened soon after they arrived in St. George. Too soon for the couple to develop a strong support system and too far away from their old friends to be of any help. Edna was taxed, but she was able to manage. In fact, she reached out beyond her comfort zone to new friends and neighbors, asking for advice and assistance when she needed it. They do miss their old friends but now feel part of their new home.

Finding information on desirable places to retire in the United States is relatively easy. Publications from Forbes, US News and World Report, and the website: www.bestboomertowns.com, will provide the nuts and bolts of communities suitable for retirement. Here you can discern tax advantages, climate, demographics, restaurant scene, etc. However, it’s the intangibles which are hard to quantify and that’s where personal reflection and patience play a key role. You may find starting anew in retirement an exciting adventure, but ultimately find that adventure in your own backyard.      

 

About FAI Wealth Management, Inc.: Located in Columbia, Maryland, FAI focuses on helping clients create the financial future they desire by protecting their wealth, making the most of their assets, and planning for life's uncertainties. The firm combines fee-only, fiduciary-driven guidance with highly personalized, consultative financial planning and investment services that enable individuals, families, and businesses to navigate complex life transitions. Founded in 1987, FAI currently manages more than $350 million in client assets nationwide. For more information about FAI Wealth Management, please visit the website at https://www.faiwealth.com or call 410.715.9200.

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