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Where will You Spend your Golden Years?

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By : M Shane    99 or more times read
65 is a number with quite important meaning in North American society. It is the traditional age for a person to leave the work force behind, and to enjoy their golden years in a warm locale. Retirement is a reward for decades of hard work, and is a time of life that many people look forward to.

Deciding where to spend those golden years however, can be a difficult decision. There are several questions you need to ask yourself, including: would you prefer to live near family and friends, or do you want to start fresh in a new area?

For most Americans, being within a short drive of children and grandchildren is the number one priority in terms of choosing a retirement location. Now that work is no longer restricting your movements and using up your time, you're free to spend your days as you wish. For many people, this means spending quality time with their grandkids.

Other seniors seek adventure and new opportunities in their retirement, so they opt to relocate to the community of their dreams, regardless of where it is in relation to family members. These folks want to get to know themselves all over again—as individuals rather than just as parents and grandparents.

Another question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to live in the city or the country? Do you feed off the energy of crowds, or do you prefer being isolated from the noise and the hurried pace of city life? It's important to know ahead of time where you'll feel most revitalized. Perhaps it's in a small coastal town that is within a short drive of the city—essentially giving you best of both worlds.

What kind of lifestyle are you looking forward to having when you retire? Are you active, and plan to stay that way well into your eighties? If so, you'll want to move somewhere that offers lots of recreation options. Swimming, hiking, cycling, and golf are just a few activities that you may want to indulge in, so be sure to find a home in an area that has all the activities you're looking for.

You may also want to find out if there are community or senior centers nearby that offer classes and workshops. Now that you're retired, this is a great opportunity to explore new interests.

Climate also plays a large part in a person's happiness, and older bodies tend to be more sensitive to temperature swings. If cold weather makes your joints ache, and rainy days bring your mood down, then move somewhere that is mild and sunny throughout the year. Your body and spirit will thank you.

As soon as you have the general geographical locale for your retirement, you need to whittle down your choices to just a few communities.

Look for places that are home to quality medical facilities, so you won't have to travel far if you become ill. Make sure that there are services and amenities within easy reach of your home, and that public transportation is reliable and fast. Remember that you won't always have the same mobility as you have now, so plan ahead when you select your new neighborhood.

Visit any towns or cities you're considering in person, to get a true feel for the community, and talk with residents if you can to get their take on the neighborhood.

Gated communities are becoming quite popular among retirees because they're generally safer, quieter, and better maintained than non-gated residences. These neighborhoods also tend to be close-knit, and offer 24-hour security in case of emergency. You're also likely to find neighbors that share your interests and background, which is a great comfort for people of any age.

After you've decided on a community, it's imperative that the home you buy is accessible to you at any age. Make sure that there are few (if any) stairs to navigate, and that entrances are wheelchair accessible. You don't want to invest in a retirement home only to find out a few years later that it isn't appropriate for you any more. Certainly buy a home that suits your needs now, but make sure that the home will be appropriate for you well into the future as well.

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