4. How about other taxes?
Property taxes may help determine where you relocate, since they fluctuate from state to state. And many states will tax your estate.
All in all, says Hannon, it's a smart decision to move from a high tax state to a low tax one.
5. Buy or rent?
It's easier to rent, and it requires less of a commitment from you. But you may want to set up your home the way you want to, and perhaps leave it as an inheritance to a family member. Consider whether you'll have to sell your current home before you move to a new one. Or would it make more sense to keep it and rent it out? That may mean hiring a management company. "Have a plan for your first house," Dorrell says.
6. What's Mother Nature like?
This is far from trivial, especially if you dream of coastal living. "People worry about hurricanes in Florida, dust storms in Phoenix and earthquakes in California. Think about your destination," Dorrell says.
Consider, too, whether your health would do better in a warmer or cooler place. While there's no scientific proof, some arthritis patients say their joint pain waxes and wanes based on changes in climate.
7. What about doctors?
Don't plan on traveling a long distance to go to a doctor you like. Make sure you're moving to a place that has a reputable medical community close by. And check your insurance coverage to ensure it's accepted.
Two good places to find information on a particular community's medical care are the federal website Medicare.gov and the website of the state's department of insurance, Hannon advises.
8. Can you get a decent part-time job?
You may want or need to work in retirement to supplement your income. If the cost of living of your new place is lower, your wages will be, too. If you're going to work part time, where will you get an acceptable paycheck doing what you want to do? Check it out in advance.
9. How far will you be from your family?
"A lot of retirees I talk to in Florida love it for the benefits, but they go up north a lot to be with the grandkids," Dorrell says. "It's an added cost." Keep this in mind as you plot your potential retirement spot. How much will you spend for car, bus, train or plane for holidays and other Hallmark moments?
Stacy Julien is a staff editor and writer at AARP.org.
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