Finding a Great Place to Retire

Benjamin Haas |

Some people are rooted in their current place. It’s the home they’ve lived in their whole lives and it’ll be the one they live in for as long as they are blessed to be on earth. Many of my clients fit this bill and I suspect this will be my parents as well. Some are rooted in a location, if not the same home, based on relationships; proximity to family, friends, caretakers, familiar healthcare providers, etc. Many of my clients fit this category too.

Then there are those who plan to adventure somewhere, land in a new spot and take up new roots. Moving to Florida has been a popular move for several of my retired clients. In fact, according to the annual U.S. News and World Report, Fort Myers, FL and Sarasota, FL ranks as the number two and number three “best places to retire” based on high “overall happiness of its residents.” The location of my college alma mater (Franklin & Marshall College), Lancaster, PA actually ranks 1st! due to “housing affordability and overall happiness of its residence,” but also because of low retiree taxes and high-quality health care. Austin, Texas and Pittsburgh, PA round out the top five.

The U.S. News writes that these rankings are based on a series of factors including housing affordability, desirability, retiree taxes, the happiness index, job market and quality of healthcare1. As I read this article I thought about some of my clients. And wondered how helpful these indexes would be in helping them consider their retirement. And then I got to thinking. What does one do with this information?

Maybe it’s not about relocation for you, but what about the other variables? In many ways, the factors in this article outline the types of conversations we look to have with our clients when planning their retirement. Think about your plans. Have you figured out your housing plans? Are you looking to age in place or downsize? What about some sort of work in retirement? Do you want to still be actively working and earning something, starting a side business or volunteering your time? Or are you content with you current income options? How are your taxes going to change? What is your healthcare going to look like? I think this article brings up several things all pre-retires should be thinking about, whether they plan to relocate or not.

But it may also be fun to think about the possibilities of relocation. I often write about the financial planning process and how strongly we feel about everyone “having a plan” for their future that considers a wide array of scenarios. Putting the puzzle pieces together could go a long way in developing confidence around your future plan, wherever you land. And that, is what planning should be all about!


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