How do you choose a place to retire? I've already made 1 mistake and don't want to make another.

Regular Contributor

My personal criteria are cheap and warm. I suggest you use one of the "retirement places rated" resources such as sperlings

Bit dig into the criteria for each place to see what gets them the high rating.

Also google this "retirement places rated" for a bunch of other rankings.

A source I really like (it may have a small fee) is

It gets into the data by zip code as to crimes rates and the type of people who live in the zip code (income levels, occupations, ethnicity, etc).  It is very good granular data.



0 Kudos

Sorry meant Las Vegas😊

How is it to live in Las Gegas??

You can narrow your search criteria down and make a list of the top 3 or 4. But there is NO substitute for living there day to day. I'd look into sublets or house-sitting, or even house-swapping. Visit senior centers and start talking to people. Most are happy to tell you what they like and don't like about various parts of the region. They might even be able to suggest looking somewhere nearby you hadn't even thought of.


I'd visit several times over the course of a year to see what it's like in all seasons.


We personally have no interest in moving. We have climate, healthcare, a vibrant and lively regional culture, mountains AND ocean, family, and our favorite hobby--going out to dine at the many fabulous restaurants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.


We're planning on moving to a local CCRC when we finally decide to sell our SFH. Takes a lot of upkeep and eventually the home & garden work will be too much. The CCRC we've selected is very much an 'active urban senior' community and is nearby, so family and friends will still be around (if they stay in the area; people move around a lot these days). 


Although we enjoy Boomer music, our best friends are Millennials. We're not real geeks or gamers, but a lot of our interests are general enough that age is no barrier to social conversation. We're perfectly happy to talk about the new iZombie series on CW or a new paranormal fantasy e-book we want to share. 


It's a big decision to move. We moved my MIL to a different CCRC after more than a year of researching nearby options. We made multiple visits, asked 'the hard questions', and picked the one whose social atmosphere seemed the best fit for her.


After my spouse and I checked it out a couple of times, we took her there three different times over the next few months to make sure she saw how nice it was and how friendly the people were. The food is very good and had lots of variety. We took her to view several different units so she could pick the one she wanted (choice of Bay view or hillside view, both equally sunny).


She loved it there and that made all the time/effort worth it. But finding the facility wasn't quick, nor was making the move. Going slowly and carefully was the key. 


Access to nearby quality medical care


It's important to know about state laws, which is why anyone shouldn't even drive through NC, and definitely not choose to live or retire there without knowing about this archaic common law.


Please read from this safe site about my experience after relocating myself and my business to NC, thinking that it would be a good place to retire as well.


I don't think people should have to loose everything they've worked for because a state supports a common law that corporations without character use to the disadvantage of people they harm.


Good luck in your search, Meg Conway, formerly of Asheville NC




Has anyone considered to Laramie, Wyoming? Its beautiful country with no state tax. That's all I really know. I prefer cold weather to hot and humid. Thoughts?

Number one for me is proximity to family.

Regular Contributor

Each individual is different.  I first researched tax free and property tax requirements for a given state. But, climate was more important.  Small towns were my second interest, then location of the towns.  If you want to work, realize small towns (2000 population for us) have few jobs available.  The quiet non-human made noises was important.  The ability to actually see the stars at night.  The sounds of nature.  Availability of medical and dental services.  Once you gave a location in mind, go there and look it over.  Visit it at different times of the year.  Look at prices of homes if you intend to buy.  If married, be sure both of you do this together so that both are happy at where you end up.  All of these and more we looked at.  We have lived in our Oregon coast very small town for six years and love it.  We've traveled and lived all over the world.  We've lived from California to Virginia to Washington state to Florida and many places in between.  Sure some places didn't turn out as we planned.  But, we kept trying.  We found it.  Good Luck!


Just curious, what small Oregon coastal town are you in? I grew up in Eureka, Ca and am considering the Oregon coast. I haven't lived by the coast for a long time but I can not get it out of my system.
Gold Conversationalist


Where do you live now? 



Hi   We chose Crossville TN  for many reasons.   The climate has seasons so not as boring.  The area is mountains so it cools down at night and warms up during mid day.  Many trees and parks are free.  We pay for state parks in WI.  I wanted to be in an over 50 community, not subdivision.  So Crossville has two and the yearly fee is 230.  yearly.   No state tax and the prop tax for 165000 on a small lake is 650.   That is with 3 lots.   Compared to 40000. we now pay in WI..  Lake Tansi has nice warm indoor pool and outdoor pool.  3 lakes and we can rent a pier on the big lake   [Our lake is electric motor.]  Does get hot in summer and can be humid.  Spring starts in March and winters are mild.  Does have ice storms and can have high winds. Nowhere is perfect but TN is centered for travel.  Has theatres for plays and such.  Prime rib at the cafe is 12.00.  Gas is .20 cheaper.  Food is the same but purchase tax is 8%.  We bought our home and will move in 3 years.  We go down 4 times a year or so.  I love the  huge waterfalls, Gatlinburg is 2 hours away....  Hope this gets you thinking of what to look for.  robin

Social Butterfly

Where family is.
Honored Social Butterfly

"......2Papa wrote:  Where family is.....".

  Yeah. I don't want to live in Midwest and travel pretty extensively so I can 'get out of town'. But DW and I won't move because family is here.  Doesn't apply to everyone, of course. There are some DelWebb,

over-50 complexes, built in the Midwest as the developers discovered other seniors had the same idea. DelWebb traditionally built in the sunbelt areas, but realized that many seniors, even though they don't like the midwestern winters, will stay because families are around.

"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
Periodic Contributor

I have absolutely no idea. Since a "financial planner" took all our money, which included my retirement, I guess I don't have a plan. Good planning, huh?


Gold Conversationalist

Dear Connor207,

I hope you can recover most of your losses.  Have you taken steps to get your money back?


Regular Contributor

My wife and I were living in Bulverde, Texas.  We had been living in the San Antonio area for about 20 years while our careers were winding down.  We were retired when in 2013, August, I think, we had 45 days of 100+ degree weather, hardly any rain all year, we were in stage 3 water restrictions most of the year.  We had been receiving letters from the water company threatening to turn off our water if we didn't cut back on water every month.  We had a pool, hot tub, and thousands of dollars of landscaping.  We were in a pickle.  The pool would evaporate about 6 inches each week and if we didn't top it off, the pump wouldn't work right.  We decided we had enough. 


We pulled out a map of the US and started looking for a new place to move.  We knew that most of our friends that had retired were living or had plans to move to the East coast so we focused on that.  We didn't want to go to far North because I'm a Texan and I don't like snow.  So, never having been to the state, we picked South Carolina.  We contacted a realtor, made flight reservations and came to South Carolina, near Hilton Head.  We looked on Hilton Head but they just had too many restrictions.  Our realtor said there was a small town just across the bridge that was a great place to live.  We went to Bluffton and loved it.  Shopped around and found a small gated housing development, picked out a lot, and picked out a building plan.  The next day we picked out all the colors, flooring windows, countertops, you know all the stuff.  We moved in June 2, 2014.


We absolutely love Bluffton, SC.  It is so much like the small town we lived in in Texas.  Very friendly people, small town atmosphere but everything you need is available.  Savannah is like 30 minutes away.  The beaches of Hilton Head are 9 miles away.  The May River is across the street and we have our own lagoon next door complete with an alagator.  And the best thing... it rains here.  Everything stays green.  The temperatures are so much nicer.  We are here to stay.


We are doing the same research and getting frustrated. We have looked at Texas, wonderful people, but not very pretty, sorry. We live in Idaho and are used to mountains, lakes etc. we like green, but we are hoping to find a place with mild climate, no 110 degree summers and no below zero winters, especially, no snow. We recently went to the Florida panhandle and thought it was very pretty but as we are more seriously researching it, we find that the cost of homeowners insurance, auto insurance and other cost of living factors would be high. But, I can't seem to get a good sense of what 'high' means. Maybe it would still be affordable to us? If anyone can provide more details or websites I can visit, it would be appreciated.

South Carolina is on our 'interest list' as well, and in fact Bluffton came up on some research. I would appreciate your insight on that as well. It's refreshing to hear that someone in our situation found "their ideal location".
Honored Social Butterfly

@gspds wrote:
We are doing the same research and getting frustrated. We have looked at Texas, wonderful people, but not very pretty, sorry. We live in Idaho and are used to mountains, lakes etc. we like green, but we are hoping to find a place with mild climate, no 110 degree summers and no below zero winters, especially, no snow. We recently went to the Florida panhandle and thought it was very pretty but as we are more seriously researching it, we find that the cost of homeowners insurance, auto insurance and other cost of living factors would be high. But, I can't seem to get a good sense of what 'high' means. Maybe it would still be affordable to us? If anyone can provide more details or websites I can visit, it would be appreciated.

South Carolina is on our 'interest list' as well, and in fact Bluffton came up on some research. I would appreciate your insight on that as well. It's refreshing to hear that someone in our situation found "their ideal location".

Check out  and just google...  there is tons of info out there.  What do you want to know about Bluffton? I have been there more than once.. it is great  .imho but it depends on what your factors are.


Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
Trusted Contributor

 Hi nyadm - - Just want to let you know, in case NC is on your interest list, do NOT come here. I thought I'd done due diligence after making 5 different trips down to NC over 4 years to spend 10 to 14 days in each area I was contemplating retiring to - going to local markets & events, exploring old newspapers in the library, talking to local people at restaurants, stores, etc., using realtors to look at housing, etc. - so I made the move 12 years ago. All I can say is that many things have changed since I first moved down here, plus there are some things I didn't discover until I became a homeowner.


First, income taxes have changed dramatically for retirees - getting worse, not better, if you get a pension, which didn't use to be taxable, but now is. Even though "taxes" may be going down, "fees", which are really nothing but taxes, have gone up even more than the taxes have gone down, plus, the fees are now on even more products & services than they were when I first moved here. Once you reach age 65 there is a property tax discount you can apply for, but until then, the property tax has gone up to be about where I remember them being for me when I lived in western NY.


Second, while the weather was temperate during the first 10 years I was here (an occasional day over 100F in the summer & maybe one snowfall of around 3" during the Winter), the last 2 years here have made me decide to move back North. We had over 42 days this past Summer where I waited until 11p.m. to walk down my driveway to get my mail, or go to the store to shop for groceries because I could hardly breathe in the high humidity & heat of the day. The high heat & humidity also seemed to make the insects larger & more aggressive. What's the difference if I hibernate in the Winter in the North, or in the Summer in the South? At least if its cold I can wear more layers. There is only so much I can remove if I get too hot. This Winter our 4th snowfall is predicted for tomorrow - the 4th week of March, after many plants are already in bloom due to the 70F temperatures we had 2 weeks ago.


Third, unless you're extremely religious, be prepared to be bowled over by the zealousness of people who can't seem to stop themselves from trying to convert you with every breath they take. This also leads to a lot of prejudice and discrimination from local retailers. I couldn't believe the attitude of some clerks in stores where I asked about purchasing lottery tickets. Yikes!!


Fourth, while Southern hospitality and politeness are nice - to a degree - after awhile you understand that someone saying "aren't you sweet" or "bless your heart" with a southern drawl, isn't a compliment. Don't depend on service from retailers to be the same, even in nationally known stores, as it was where you used to live. The majority of NC employees I've run into don't know what you're talking about when you say things like improvement opportuities, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, the customer is always right, or even that a customer has rights. I'm not sure if its a matter of inept training, not wanting to be trained, laziness, or what, but I've been very disappointed and sometimes stressed to the max, by employees and sometimes even management, in many stores. I now do almost all my shopping online due to this ineptitude.


I'd always planned to move into a CCRC around the time I was 70, so that's the plan I've started to put together now with hopes of being settled into one back up North by 2020. Not sure with the way the real estate and stock markets are currently performing if I'll be able to swing it or not, now. I might have waited too long to make the move. We'll see. 


There are good places much closer for you to retire that have scenic beauty and are affordable. Washington was once senior friendly, but in recent years housing cost rose rapidly. Now the housing is more stable but the state government has raised energy taxes and is pushing hard to raise taxes again. That is becoming senior unfriendly but there are still small communities who welcome seniors and are senior friendly yet close enough to metropolitan facilities to be attractive. If a warmer climate is desired, then look at the Gulf states but selecting should be preceeded by some time there.

Regular Contributor

gspds,  I hope you have seen my responses about Bluffton, SC.  Bluffton is a small town with a small town attitude.  It has everything you will ever need but the actual town is very small.  The US278 that runs just outside of downtown is the only acces to Hilton Head Island (9 miles) and you can find anything there.  Quite busy dury summer.  There are two Tanger outlet malls near the bridge to HHI.  There are hundres of golf courses, tons of fishing spots, lots of wonderful restaurants, you can get fish and seafood right off the boats, and there is a Thursday market on Calhoun street where you can get fresh from the farm produce.


The weather here is exceptional.  Summer is usually mid to high 80s and no winter freezes (or very few).  Last time it snowed here was 1989.  Very rarely involved in hurricanes.  Bluffton is protected by the curvature of the coast and then there is HHI between us and the ocean.  Much of Bluffton is not in the flood plane - only if you are on the water.


We have found that our insurance for cars and home are about the same as Texas.  Utilities are lower, but that is compared to Texas.  It usually rains enough that you don't have to water your plants/yard.  Beautifully green most of the year.  Lots of large green trees.  We are in what they call the 'low country.'  It's flat.  Western SC is the 'high lands' and has the mountains.  Greenville, SC is a nice spot if you want mountains.


Hope that helps.

Gold Conversationalist

Dear EasterlingK1104,

You live in a Del Webb community?  Which one?

Thank you.




Regular Contributor

We do not live in a Del Webb community.  However there is a very large one in Bluffton, SC.  We volunteer at several places and meet up with other volunteers.  Some are from Sun City, the Del Webb community.  Everyone we have talked to just love that community.  I guess they have a very active community organizer that has many activities available and sets up lots of tours and what not.  Had we looked there when we were looking for a home here, we probably bought in there.  Too bad.  We will stay here for a few years and maybe sell and buy at Sun City.  Nice homes and a reasonable price.

Gold Conversationalist


Thank you for responding.  Sounds like you are enjoying retirement!

I don't want to MOVE...but it only makes sense financially and being in a community where seniors are #1 ...:) 

I've been searching for years and now am ready to make a decision.

Heading to Florida for a visit's a mecca for seniors.


Be sure to keep us up to date on your activities. 



Regular Contributor

You should give Bluffton Sun City a visit.  I believe you can even stay there for a visit.  Their numbers 843.560.9310 or 888.976.2343.They have a website

Good luck with your decision.


Super Contributor

For us & most people on a state or Federal pension, the issue is either we stay in our home state or move to a state that is income tax free.  I've researched & there are a few states that don't collect income taxes, however, the property taxes or sales taxes or both make up for it.  Further states like New Hampshire or Alaska is off the list just for the long dreaded winters alone.  Florida is a definite but researched medical care & it's not the best. 

We currently live near NYC so even without income taxes taken out, we still deal with incredibly high property taxes & sales taxes + high cost of living.  With a reduced income, it's tough. 

Bottom line - I want to move but husband wants to stay.  Both our kids are nearby but that's a moot point.  Husband wants the conveniences of NYC & doesn't drive much meaning anywhere else will be difficult for him.

My attitude is I want to spend money, travel, etc. & with NYC's high cost of living, it's limited.

Regular Contributor

Goldye, Texas is a good option.  No state taxes and your government retirement isn't taxed.  That is made up by sales tax - 8.25%.  County taxes fund the county, local and scools.  Fairly high but I don't remember what it was.  Our $233K house with an acre of land was about $1,700 per year in taxes.  We lived just north of San Antonio.  It gets very hot and dry.  House prices are low per sq ft.


Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Need to Know

AARP LIMITED TIME OFFER: Memorial Day Sale. Join or renew for just $9 per year when you sign up for a 5-year term.

AARP Membership Memorial Day Sale

More From AARP