Should You Move in Retirement?

Most people stay put after age 65

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It’s fun to dream about retiring to the golf course or deep in wine country. If you are feeling practical, it is apt to contemplate downsizing to a smaller house in a more affordable part of the country to give your nest egg a quick boost. But most Americans don’t move in retirement. Of the 36.8 million people age 65 and older, only about 1.4 million retirees moved last year, according to new Census Bureau data released today.

Among the 3.7 percent of retirees who traded residences between 2007 and 2008, most stayed in the same state (3 percent) and even the same county (2.1 percent). Only about 224,000 Americans age 65 and older moved to a different state and 50,000 moved abroad. The likelihood of trading places further decreases as people age. While 5.5 percent of those age 50 to 59 found a new abode, the number decreases to 4.7 percent of 60 to 64 year olds and 3.9 percent of those age 65 to 74. After age 75 the number of movers levels off at 3.5 percent.

When you are no longer tied to a job, there is definitely fun to be experienced by picking out a part of the country where you can finally ski, hike, or otherwise truly enjoy living. (You can create a personalized list of Best Places to Retire using this new and improved search tool.) Trying to minimize your taxes and housing expenses so your fixed income stretches farther is also certainly prudent. But there’s also something comforting about already knowing the best car mechanic in town, keeping the dentist you’ve known for years, and running into people who already know your name while you’re running errands downtown. It can also be difficult to keep up relationships with family members and especially grandchildren from a distance. While an exciting new place may liven up your retirement years, personal connections must be forged again from scratch without the help of new coworkers.

Tell us, are you planning to move in retirement?

For more, read:

  • 8 Tips for An Affordable Retirement Abroad
  • 10 Affordable Places to Retire
  • 10 Great Places to Retire for Wine Lovers