Retirement is supposed to be a time when people move to Florida to sip drinks on the beach or settle down in Arizona to play endless rounds of golf.
But in reality, a huge percentage of Americans are happy to remain right where they are. A 2018 AARP survey found that more than three-quarters of people age 50 or older prefer to stay in their current homes as they age, as we reported in “5 Home Improvements That Help You Age in Place.”
In fact, there are many good reasons for remaining in your hometown after retirement. Following are some of the best.
1. It’s cheaper to stay put
When you buy a home, you’ll typically pay between 2% and 5% of the purchase price in closing costs, according to Zillow. That means that if you buy a $150,000 home, you could shell out up to $7,500 for the privilege.
And those costs don’t include the price of moving your belongings halfway across the country.
Plus, unless you are paying cash, you likely will need a mortgage. Rates on such loans fell to historic lows during the Great Recession, but they have risen quite a bit since then — and may continue to do so. That means your next home loan could be more expensive than your current one.
2. You might pay less in taxes
Perhaps you are sick of the rainy skies of Seattle or the cold prairie winds of South Dakota and long for the sunny coastlines of Hawaii or California. If that’s your dream, by all means, make it a reality.
Just remember that the price for following your bliss can be steep.
In Washington and South Dakota, you pay no state income taxes, as we report in “How All 50 States Tax Your Retirement Income.” But in Hawaii, individual income tax rates soar as high as 11%. California’s top rate is worse, at 13.3%.
The lesson: Know the tax and other financial implications before you make any move. It might pay off to stay firmly rooted at home.
3. Your current doctors know you well
Seeing the same physician for years can pay big dividends.
A 2017 British study found that people ages 62 to 82 who remained with the same doctor longest experienced 12% fewer hospital admissions compared with those who remained with their doctor for a short period of time.
4. You’ll be closer to family and friends
As we age, opportunities to meet people and socialize can dwindle. Perhaps that’s because we are no longer working, or because health problems prevent us from getting out and about. Or maybe we just don’t have the energy to make a bunch of new friends.
Remaining in your community gives you access to people who have known you for years, perhaps even a lifetime. It’s even better if you have family members nearby. Having supportive loved ones close at hand can be crucial as you age and must rely on help more than ever before.
5. You won’t have to face life’s sorrows alone
Few of us like to think about the reality, but life does not go on forever. As we age, mortality grows ever closer.
If you suddenly lose a spouse after moving across the country, you might end up feeling isolated and depressed. This is especially true if such a sad turn of events occurs soon after you have relocated.
6. You’ll keep your network intact
Some people find that retirement does not live up to their expectations or feel that they quit working too early. Others discover they need to return to work when unforeseen circumstances leave them dipping into their nest eggs sooner than expected.
If you stay close to home, it might be easier to find work. Perhaps your old employer will bring you back part-time or on a freelance basis. Or, perhaps you can tap into the network of people you have worked with to find opportunities.
7. There is no place like home sweet home
If you’ve lived in a place for a while — maybe an entire lifetime — chances are good that you like it. Perhaps you grouse about the Northern cold, but love to ski or ice skate. Or you love the rhythm of the seasons and can’t wait for another autumn to arrive.
Or maybe you just have great memories — meeting your spouse, raising your children — that are indelibly tied to the place you call home.
Life in an exciting new place has its appeal. But one of the joys of getting older is having the wisdom to appreciate what you have right here, right now.
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