During your working life, your job normally dictates where you live. The closer you are to the office, the less time you spend commuting each week.
But once you retire, your options expand. You could choose to move somewhere quieter with less traffic, somewhere warmer with less rain, or somewhere smaller with a lower cost of living. Or maybe your dream is to head somewhere with a bigger community, more facilities and more to do.
Before you set your heart on a particular location, remember that there’s more to consider than just the weather and the traffic. Today, we’re taking a quick look at some of the important factors to include when deciding where you should retire.
If you’re planning to move somewhere that’s closer to family and friends, that’s great. But if you’re heading somewhere where you don’t know anybody, be aware of the potential for social isolation. To ensure you’re not lonely in your new home, look for locations with vibrant seniors’ communities and be prepared to make an effort to get out there and meet new people. Consider joining clubs, classes or volunteer groups. Community and friendship is a vital ingredient of happiness.
Access to Healthcare
Unfortunately, as we age, the chances of suffering from certain health problems (such as degenerative diseases and cancer) increase. If you’re thinking of moving somewhere more rural, check what kind of healthcare facilities are nearby, and what measures are in place for treating serious illnesses. Specialist facilities are often located in larger hospitals, so if you need treatment, you might have to travel to a major city and even stay there for a while, which can be expensive.
Cost of Living
Once you are no longer receiving a regular paycheck, you might want to make lifestyle changes that reduce your cost of living. Moving to a smaller city and away from the main centres can save you a significant amount of money – but not always! According to Nomadlist, a crowdsourced website that analyses over 250,000 data points to rate cities around the world, retiring in Queenstown or Wanaka will cost you $600-$750 a month more than staying in Auckland, while moving to Dunedin will only save you $144 per month. Be sure to check out fixed expenses like rates, electricity and petrol prices, and factor in things like increased fuel consumption if you move somewhere more rural, or greater power usage if you move somewhere colder.
International Transport Links
One of the great joys of retirement is having the time to travel. If that’s something you’re keen to do, being close to a major international airport will make your trips much easier and more pleasant – and will also make it easier for friends and family to visit you, too! If you choose to retire somewhere far from the main centres, be sure to check what the domestic connecting flights are like from your nearest airport (in frequency and cost), or consider whether you’re prepared to drive a significant distance before and after every trip.
Which Area is Best?
In 2018, the New Zealand Herald performed an analysis of the best places to retire, based on a combination of property prices, rates, sunshine hours, burglary rates, access to healthcare and the size of the over-65 population – here’s their top 10:
- Napier City
- Timaru District
- Whangarei District
- New Plymouth District
- Horowhenua District
- Tauranga City
- Waipa District
- Kapiti Coast District