Many Boomers have dreams of relocating when they retire, but that doesn't match reality. Data cited by Mark Miller in "Stopping Work and Then Staying Put," his excellent article for The New York Times, indicates "only six-tenths of 1 percent of Americans over age 55 moved across a state line in 2015."
Still, Boomers are adventurous and interested in other parts of the country and the world, so as Miller points out in his article, there are plenty of sources proclaiming the best places to retire. The Milken Institute, for example, considers 381 U.S. metropolitan areas and ranks them for retirement suitability. The annually published Global Retirement Index ranks twenty-four leading countries for retirees.
Retirement expert Bert Sperling tells Miller there are some 40 surveys done of best places to retire, but he advises Boomers that they may not be picking a place and staying there forever. "There are really three stages," Sperling says, "a 'go-go' period where you're very active and seeing the world, then a time when you're slowing down and need more health care resources, and then a third where you really need to be cared for."
My wife and I, after more than thirty years of living in Boston, Massachusetts, decided to relocate to Asheville, North Carolina. We did so just as our daughter was going to college. We were tired of the Boston weather and wanted to downsize. After eleven years in Asheville, we have been happy with our choice. Just about everyone we've met in Asheville, most of them Boomers, relocated from somewhere else.
Relocation at retirement is obviously a very personal decision, and some of the reasons for relocating can be compelling. Some Boomers relocate to move closer to adult children, other family, or life-long friends; others move to change their lifestyle; still others may want to experience an entirely different culture by moving to another country. Before we made our move, we did consult a source of "best places to retire" and carefully evaluated cities and towns in the U.S. based on our needs and wants. For us, Asheville kept coming up to the top of the list.
Whatever your decision, do your research and make several visits to potential retirement locations so you really get to know the area before you commit to a move.