July 23, 2024
44 S Broadway, White Plains, New York, 10601

You Retired . . . Where?

I recently read a couple of articles about the best places to retire. For example, U. S. News rates the best cities for retirement. (Hint: most of the top ones are in Florida or, believe it or not, Pennsylvania). Wallethub focuses on the best states for retirement. (Virginia is Number 1, Florida 2, Pennsylvania 14.)

These lists are typically based on statistics about climate, income, life expectancy, access to health care. But all these are theoreticals. I wonder what people really care about when they decide where they’re going to live after they retire.

We had neighbors who didn’t know where they wanted to retire. So they sold their house, rented an RV and spent a year traveling around the country, searching for their retirement haven. They ended up in Raleigh, NC. Why? I don’t know. But for them it was the place to be.

We have friends from New York who retired to Charleston, SC. They told us they had always expected to move to Florida, “because that’s where New Yorkers go.” But they never found a place in Florida where they truly felt comfortable. Then they stopped off to see a friend in Charleston, SC. “We fell in love with the city immediately,” they said. Two days later they agreed to buy a townhouse. And now, seven years later, they’ve built a life there . . . and their daughter has moved to Charleston as well.

Then there’s my sister-in-law who lives in Seattle. She and her husband are retiring later this year, and they’re talking about moving to Costa Rica. They took a tour last fall, specifically designed for Americans who are thinking about retiring in Costa Rica. We’ll see if they actually go through with it.

I have two sisters. One moved to Florida in her 30s. And she’s still there. The other worked all around the country. Her last job was in Phoenix, and so after she retired that’s where she stayed.

What’s your story? Where did you move when you retired? And what led you to go there? Or, if you never moved at all, why not?

My wife and I moved from New York to Pennsylvania. We were both born and raised in the Northeast and realized we would never be comfortable living anywhere else. Florida? The Carolinas? The West Coast? Great places to visit. But not to live. At least for us.

We might have moved to be near our children. But we have four children between us, and they are spread out all over the country. So that wasn’t in the cards.

Still, we wanted someplace less expensive than our pricey New York suburb. We considered Cape Cod. Too cold and dreary for nine months of the year. We visited Delaware . . . kind of blah.

We looked at half a dozen towns in New Jersey, including Cape May. But we found out it would be less expensive if we moved across the state line into Pennsylvania. So that’s what we did.

B does have some family in Pennsylvania and nearby New Jersey. That was a draw. And now, we’ve made plenty of new friends . . . a few of them fellow retirees from New York and New Jersey.

That’s our real-life retirement story. What’s yours?

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