Ten Best Places to Retire
Affordable Places to Retire
Best Places to Retire Overseas
These articles and even whole books seem to be appearing with increasing frequency. They rate various locations based on a range of factors, including cost of living, taxes, home values, climate, crime rate and amenities available in the area. Want to be free of snow shoveling? Try the Sun Belt. Want to live cheaply, try Costa Rica. Want intellectual stimulation? Pick a college town.
To my mind, they all miss the point. The best place to retire is where your friends, family and social support network reside. I am not talking about Facebook! Research has shown over and over that people with strong social networks are happier and healthier as they age. One study found that having friends was even more important than having grandchildren. This makes some sense. Grandchildren are great when they are little, but they grow up and go about living their own lives, and may come back to visit the grandparents infrequently.
Many retirees who previously moved to the Sun Belt or to Florida are now moving back be nearer to their families and friends, and creating the ‘boomerang’ effect. Should you move? That is a very personal decision. But I suggest that you consider long and hard before moving away from a life time network of friends. They may be your greatest asset.