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For Retirees, Deciding Where To Live Takes On Major Importance

One of the heady joys, or possibly one of the headaches, of retirement is deciding where to live.

Once work no longer dictates location, people embarking on the next phase of their lives are free to choose another locale.

“Choosing where to live could be the single most important and difficult decision retirees will make,” according to a recent story in The New York Times. “While it’s not impossible to undo a wrong decision, making the right one the first time is far less painful, emotionally and financially.

“As baby boomers move toward retirement or plan for it, 4.5 percent of those ages 55 to 65 move each year, according to Margaret A. Wylde, president and chief executive of the ProMatura Group, a market research firm in Oxford, Miss., which specializes in older consumers. In addition, she said, 20 percent of people in that age group looking for a home want to live in a 55-plus community, 30 percent would consider it and 40 to 50 percent prefer an all-age community but might change their minds.”

The key to making the right choice, the article points out, is establishing what are the most important aspects of one’s setting.

“When considering a move, experts say, the most important things are to know the kind of environment in which you will feel comfortable, your needs and what you can afford now and in the future,” the writer states.

“Know yourself,” advised Susanne Matthiesen, managing director of aging services at CARF International, an organization based in Tucson that accredits services for older people. “Know where you want to live. Are you the kind of person who is looking to be in a community with peers?”

“Determine your priorities,” the story goes on to say. “Do you want to be near family members? What kind of climate would you prefer? Would you like to live in an urban environment? Do you want services like lawn and landscaping included in a homeowners’ association fee? Do you prefer amenities like indoor and outdoor pools, scheduled activities and clubs, tennis courts and a golf course nearby? Are a variety of classes, university or otherwise, more important? Do you prefer walking trails or a lake or other body of water?”

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