Just about the time we think we’ve made a decision on where we would like to live in retirement, we change our minds. It doesn’t seem like this decision should be that hard, and for some people, it’s not. If it was just hubby and me, it would likely be an easier decision. However, we will be retirees with kids still at home and we have to keep them in mind when making this decision.
So where do we go? What state and city will best meet our needs in retirement while also meeting our needs as a family with children? Why do we want to live there? When do we visit? How long before we move? Who do we know that lives there already?
We had been looking at retirement primarily from a financial standpoint. Which states were least expensive in retirement? Which states had the best tax benefits for retirees?
We also considered places we enjoy visiting, so when putting those two things together we settled on Florida. The Sunshine state seemed like a good choice for us as it has been and still is for millions of other retirees.
But recently we realized that we were leaving out some other important factors when deciding where to live.
- Culture – Are there good opportunities for art and entertainment such as museums, music concerts and events, theater, restaurants, etc.?
- Health care – Does the state rank well for quality healthcare?
- Diversity – Being a transracial family with a child from Guatemala and Ethiopia, living in an area that provides good opportunity for our girls to be part of their home culture is important. So do those areas we are considering provide those opportunities?
- Quality of life – Will we be happy with the weather? Will it be easy to travel by plane or vehicle to visit family and friends or have them visit us? For us specifically, will it be a good home school environment for me and the girls? Does is provide the scenery we enjoy? Activities we enjoy? Is the state or city of interest in line with our political and religious beliefs? Is it an area that is good for raising kids?
Once we began looking at retirement from a different vantage point, we realized that Florida was not a good fit for our family. It’s a great vacation spot and does provide wonderful benefits to retirees, but it didn’t tick off enough of the other boxes. Ultimately, we didn’t feel like we would be happy living there and we need to live in an area that meets all of our needs and interests, not just a select few.
After hours and hours of more research (because we do look at decisions analytically) we were able to narrow down our choices to three states. We have a #1 contender and our next step is to visit. Because we are a COVID cautious family, we won’t be planning a trip right now, but when COVID numbers begin to drop and/or our youngest is able to be vaccinated, we will be planning a trip.
I won’t say where, but will give some hints along the way.