Wheres the best place to retire

Do you ever daydream about where you’d most like to live after you retire?

When you visit beautiful places on vacation, do you ever think, “Wow… It sure would be great to retire here!”?

Do you ever think that surely there must be some place out there that’s just right for you?

It’s fun to think about where you want to retire!  After all, once you no longer have your job tying you to a particular area, there’s no reason not to move to a place that’s more to your liking if you want to.  Perhaps you want to move someplace warmer, someplace where the cost of living is lower or someplace closer to the water.

But once you start to think more seriously about where you want to live, it becomes more complicated and perplexing than fun.   There are so many factors to consider:  cost of living, weather, taxes, how close you want to be to your friends and family, whether an area has the amenities you desire…  It can get overwhelming fast!

With so many factors to consider, which ones are truly important? 

...continue reading "Where’s the Best Place to Retire?"


A lot of people, both retirees and those who are still working, enjoy vacationing on cruise ships.  I have taken ten cruises that have carried me to Europe (four times), the southern Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, Tahiti, South America, and New Zealand/Australia.  I have enjoyed them all immensely, especially the last three.

Recently, I saw a meme on Facebook about a woman who eschewed living in a retirement home in favor of living permanently on a cruise ship.  When asked by the unidentified author, she claimed that living on the cruise ship was cheaper than living in a nursing home.  The author went on to enumerate ten benefits to retirement on a cruise ship.

Of course, this meme had me scurrying to Snopes.com, where I expected to find this urban legend thoroughly exposed and debunked.  In fact, some of the claims made in this story are inaccurate or entirely false.  But I was surprised to learn that there really are people who live almost full-time on cruise ships for years at a time (and I’m talking about paying customers, not the ship’s crew).

Just think - you could travel the world, meet new people, and never have to cook or clean!  Could this be retirement utopia for you?

Could living on a cruise ship really be less expensive than other options?

Do people really do this?

...continue reading "Smooth Sailing Through Retirement: Could Living on a Cruise Ship Be Your Utopia?"


You know it’s out there somewhere – the perfect place to retire.  A place that's comfortable, classy, rich with amenities, and located in a beautiful area with perfect weather and scenic views.

Could such a place actually exist?  Or is there always going to be someplace else where the grass is greener?

Of course, no place is perfect.  And what may seem like Retirement Utopia to you might be completely undesirable to someone else.

But I recently visited a place that had so much going for it, I found myself wondering if I had found Retirement Utopia.

...continue reading "The Quest for Retirement Utopia:  Could This Be the Place?"

Map with Push Pins

The internet is consumed with list-mania!  It seems that top ten lists (or twelve, or twenty, or…) are the magic formula to attract viewer traffic.  Some web sites are comprised of nothing but top ten lists, and some major news web sites publish lists frequently as well.

There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of "Best Places to Retire" lists on the internet.

Can you trust them?

With so many contradictory lists, how are you to make sense of it all?

...continue reading "Best Places to Retire Lists – Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy?"


It’s December in Phoenix.  Our daily high temperatures reach into the upper 70s, and our nighttime lows are in the lower 50s.  The days shift between sunny and partly cloudy;  it rains only occasionally.

The freeway traffic is heavier, the restaurants are more crowded, and the grocery check-out lines are longer.  Why?  The snowbirds are here!

Retire Fabulously Snowbirds Crowded Freeway Heavy Traffic Retirement
Snowbirds add millions of dollars to the local economy, but also clog the freeways, restaurants, and check-out lines.

Snowbirds are people who migrate from colder regions of the United States and Canada to sunny spots in Florida, Arizona, and other Sunbelt states every year.

But to the millions of people who migrate every year, it offers the best of both worlds – an opportunity to maintain ties to your family, friends, and the familiarity of the place you’ve called home for much of your life, as well as an escape from cold, wintery weather and a change of scenery.

Why is seasonal migration so popular among retirees?  What are the drawbacks and the costs?  What do you need to plan for, and what challenges must be confronted?

...continue reading "The Best of Both Worlds: The Pros and Cons of the Snowbird Lifestyle"


The Old Home

Are you planning to move after you retire?  While top ten lists of retirement havens are a staple of today’s list-happy internet, there are still many people who plan to retire right where they are.

My 2014 reader survey indicates that over 60% of respondents are considering moving or have already moved.  Only 15% say they aren’t planning to move, and the rest are unsure.

On the other hand, a recent article on CNN Money claims that 63% of Baby Boomers plan to stay in their own homes when they retire.  In the October, 2014 issue of Consumer Reports, 65% of retirees surveyed had not moved.

Of course, you can find statistics to prove anything.  Regardless of what some percentage of people is planning to do, what really matters is what you want and what makes the most sensible choice for you. ...continue reading "Not Planning to Move? The Case for Staying in Place"


For many years, Spain has enjoyed a reputation as a fantastic vacation destination. It’s warm climate, sunny Mediterranean beaches, history, art, and culture, as well as its friendly, easy-going, relaxed atmosphere, have delighted travelers for years.

More recently, Spain has emerged as a top-tier retirement choice. Let’s look at why.

The Weather

If warm weather is your preference, you’ll find most of Spain to your liking, especially along the Mediterranean coast.

MalagaMalaga at Night

All along the Mediterranean coast, summers are hot but not oppressive. Malaga (a coastal city in the south) records average highs of 30oC (86oF) in summer. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing in Barcelona (at the north end of the coast), coastal cities farther south never experience freezing temperatures, and it never snows. ...continue reading "Fabulous Places to Retire: Spain"

The small South American country of Uruguay, nestled between Argentina and Brazil, may be one of the world’s best kept secrets as a destination for both retirement and vacation travel.

Montevideo beach

I last wrote about Uruguay back on October 24.  Since then, Jeff and I had the opportunity to visit Punta del Este on February 24.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to visit Montevideo (we were at the mercy of a cruise itinerary), but we liked what we saw in Punta del Este so much that we have a return trip to Uruguay on our short list.  I've done a lot more research on Uruguay since then, too, and my impression of this country remains highly favorable.

Uruguay offers first-world living at prices that are considerably lower than many people in North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand are accustomed to paying.  Uruguay is more expensive than many places in Latin America, but still quite affordable.  Uruguay is one of the most politically, socially, and economically stable countries in South America.  Uruguay also has the safest drinking water, the best roads, the most reliable electrical system, and the fastest Internet in Latin America.

...continue reading "Fabulous Places to Retire: Uruguay"

Most “places to retire” web sites and articles include France at or near the top of their lists.

It’s easy to see why: the scenery is beautiful, the country is rich in culture and full of things to see and do, and the cuisine and wine are among the best in the world. Although the country is geographically diverse, most areas of the country enjoy a very pleasant climate throughout most of the year.

Beach in Languedoc-Roussillon

Beach in Languedoc-Roussillon

France’s health care system has been rated the best in the world.

French medical schools are among the best in the world, hence so are French doctors. France has one of the highest ratios of doctors to patients in the world, and most French doctors are fluent in English. Office visits are fixed at 23 euros, and most procedures are almost fully covered, with only a tiny co-pay. Of course, out-of-pocket costs are so low because the rest is covered by taxes, which are fairly high (totaling as much as 40%).

If you are a property owner in France, you qualify to participate in their health care system. Otherwise, you will have to have private health medical insurance when you retire there, which costs about $1500 per person, per year. You can look into reducing costs by buying insurance as a member of a larger group or association, which can reduce the premiums by as much as 50 percent.

It’s easy for retirees to immigrate.

You’ll need to fill out some forms, and provide documentation of your income, assets, and police record.

...continue reading "Fabulous Places to Retire: France"

Man on bench looking at ocean

[Editor's Note: An updated version of this article appears here.]

You are probably aware that the baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is now reaching the ages of 50-68, which means that we’re entering an era in which a lot of people are and will be retiring. According to Serena Worthington of the nonprofit Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), there are currently between 1.75 million and 4 million gays and lesbians over age 65. By 2030 that number is expected to nearly double.

Given these statistics, it seems reasonable to assume that there could be a boom in the need for LGBT retirement community options. Over the past ten years, many projects have started, but most never made it out of the planning stages. The recession and real estate bust that occurred in the late 2000s scuttled some projects. But the question still remains: how big is the need for LGBT-focused retirement communities, now and in the future?

When I polled readers of this blog in August, 2013, 30% of the respondents said they would seriously consider living in an LGBT retirement community, and 50% said they might consider it if the community was located in the area they were planning to move to anyway.

...continue reading "LGBT Retirement Communities – Unrealized Potential vs. Unclear Demand"