5 Keys to Choosing the Best Place to Retire

Making the commitment to relocate once you retire is a big decision. With a roll of the dice you risk leaving behind all that is familiar and comfortable from that hole-in-the-wall local bakery to the car repair shop you trust to those neighbors who have in some cases become part of the family. Yet for many the call to move after they retire is strong. Some consider relocation in an effort to downsize now that the kids are out the door. For others the old neighborhood is changing so much that it feels like it is time to move on. Still others are looking for a new adventure to launch their second act. Whatever your motivation, finding that perfect place to call home can be one of the most important decisions you will make.

After almost three decades in the Bay Area, my wife and I recently pulled up roots and moved to a new area to retire. Before ultimately hitting the road we did our due diligence. We considered numerous states before settling on California where we currently reside. Then we studied likely regions across the state until we drilled down to a handful of candidates. Next we carefully researched the areas and visited multiple times to get a feel for neighborhoods and local amenities. Along the way we agreed there were certain things we required in a new home and neighborhood – our must haves.

Close to amenities that matter

Now that you are retired you have time to do what you really want to do. Part of the successful relocation equation is to put yourself near those things you love. For us walking distance to the local downtown was a biggie. Get your daily exercise while discovering the best restaurants and shops and meeting the locals. It is wonderful to stroll to your favorite coffee shop where you are greeted by the quirky owner who entertains you with endless stories while creating the perfect cappuccino to start your day. As you get older nearness to local medical facilities becomes increasingly important. Having qualified people you know and trust nearby makes life easier and safer. Access to public transportation can be a big plus greatly expanding your range of activities should driving become challenging. And for me it was important to be close to the beach where I imagine the retired me patiently wandering the coastline with waves booming as salt air mists in my face. With a bit of careful planning retirement can be a time to surround yourself with what you love.

Couple in Canoe

Supportive environment

Different neighborhoods cater to different people. Finding an area sensitive to the needs of seniors is a worthy consideration if not necessarily for this moment but rather down the road. Shuttles to get around, organizations to engage with, volunteer opportunities to donate time, pet friendly restaurants, all little things that can make retirement living more enjoyable and fun. Living near others of similar age and interests and background helps make for a smoother transition and quicker assimilation.

Variety of local attractions

Years ago a boss of mine shared his view that living near a college town was high on his list of must haves. “There is always something going on and the energy of the students keeps you young.” Having multiple options when it comes to local attractions is important. If you are hikers finding a retirement location near parks and mountains and oceans can be just the ticket. Should nightlife and the theater be your thing access to a big city is important. You need not necessarily live in the city just within a reasonable distance. If you like to travel consider where the nearest airport is located. We found ourselves in a newly developing relatively unknown wine region with a handful of tasting rooms within walking distance, handy when visitors show up at our door. The more activities available in your backyard the better equipped you are to avoid boredom.

Good weather

My wife thrives in sunshine and I have to admit as I get older I like the cold less and less. We love hiking on a sunny day through the woods and neighborhood so sunshine was a big part of our final relocation decision. We have friends who love to ski and so nearness to snow is an essential part of their retirement destination. There are even those who love the rain. When it comes to weather we all have our preferences. The key is to choose a retirement spot with weather that maximizes what you love and minimizes what you can gladly do without.

Age friendly design of the house

The house you retire to can be your friend or occasionally your enemy. While stairs are a non-issue when you’re twenty aging knees may rebel if required to ascend to the bedroom each night. The convenience of a single story home will be appreciated down the road. Little things also make a difference: cabinets with drawers allow access to things stored in the back; shelves not too high up; good lighting throughout; efficient heating and cooling to maintain a comfortable temperature; easy to use appliances that don’t require an advanced degree to operate; even handles on doors instead of knobs help. Little details can have big impact.

Being comfortable and safe in retirement is how we all hope to live. Having enough interests and variety in our day to keep us engaged and active gives us a reason to get out of bed each morning. Finding a retirement location that best fits your expectations while inching ever closer to your dreams is a step in the right direction.


Keep Those Neurons Firing in Retirement

Guest Post by Lisa Lozeau

It may not be something you’ve considered, but many people facing retirement or just entering that phase of life worry that they may become bored. You may be one of them, or you may have a long bucket list to keep you busy. Either way, experts agree that staying active is the key to an enjoyable retirement.

That means being active both physically and mentally. You made millions of neural connections and kept them sharp throughout your career by facing challenges, learning new skills, and calling upon knowledge and experience. It’s important to keep stimulating your brain to make new connections on a continual basis.

Suddenly stopping a routine you’ve followed for many years—going to work, interacting with people, solving problems and being needed—can leave you feeling a little adrift mentally. The lack of mental stimulation can become a very real problem if you become too bored or unmotivated to pursue your retirement dreams. According to a study by the Families and Work Institute, increasing numbers of retirees are embracing a work “encore” or “bridge employment” to strike the balance of wanting to retire and wanting to stay mentally engaged.

What is “bridge employment?” It’s a way to stay engaged with work while also enjoying retirement. It could be consulting part-time at the company you used to work for, starting a business based on a hobby, or trying something completely new. One great example is to retire and then work from home on a more flexible schedule.

There are a variety of work-from-home opportunities out there that can keep those neurons firing. It’s best to do your research to find an opportunity that is right for you. Consider your skill set, how much you want to work, and what you want to do. Beware of opportunities that seem too good to be true—they probably are. You’ll want to look for opportunities on established sites such as FlexJobs and Indeed. Double-check with the Better Business Bureau if you are unsure—you’ll be able to see complaints and resolutions. And make sure you carefully review all the details to make sure the work, schedule and company are the right fit for you.

One opportunity that is a great fit for many retirees is helping people as a home-based call center agent. All you need is a phone, computer with Internet connection, and a quiet location to get started. Companies of all sizes, in all industries, in all locations are looking for people to put the human touch back in customer service and other customer interactions. There are so many benefits to working from home as a call center agent, including:

  • Setting your own schedule, so you can still make time for that bucket list in addition to work.
  • Building on your prior work experience and even expanding your horizons with new skills to keep your mind sharp.
  • Connecting with people in a meaningful way and making a difference in someone’s day.
  • Continuing to bring in some income, so you can retire more comfortably.

If you’re already retired and feeling bored or unmotivated, now is the time to fire up those neurons and reengage in the workforce – even if it’s just part-time. If you’re not sure what you want to do in retirement, now is a great time to explore your options. Maybe you can even retire early if your work encore provides enough income. Best wishes in finding your work encore and making your retirement everything you want it to be!

Lisa Lozeau works on the Acquisition and Onboarding team at LiveOps. She helps connect talented individuals with independent contractor opportunities that allow them to work from home and provide professional call center services to LiveOps’ diverse client base. As a work-from-home mom herself, Lisa understands the value and importance of flexible work. She is passionate about helping people find greater work-life balance through professional work-from-home opportunities. For more information about LiveOps, please visit: join.liveops.com.