Where are the best retirement locations? This question I encounter more and more frequently. Which are the best retirement cities?
A short answer is impossible. No one can answer that question for you. You’ll have to find the answer yourself. Simply because your criteria and constraints are totally different from the next person’s.
I have seen so many people make a move, based on the well meaning advice of others, just to regret and complain about the move. And often the cost of another move would blow a retirement budget out of the water.
'Knowledge is cheap. What’s expensive is ignorance.'
The above quote remains true whether you want to set up an offshore structure and retire in Switzerland, or you just want to set up a global business on the Internet that you can run from anywhere in the world while you search for that elusive 'best place to retire'.
Reality number one
What is the one reality that eventually gets to every retired person? It’s boredom. 'I've got nothing to do'.
Well into his eighties my father, who always seemed to find something to do, complained about it. So did my uncle. A former neighbor, in his seventies, moves with the seasons between three residences in Mallorca, Switzerland and Belgium. And he complains about boredom too! Somehow women seem to be less affected.
If you have an active social life and many friends it helps a lot. But if you see friends too often you find that true soul-mates are rare. The people who seem to cope best with retirement-boredom are those with a hobby, or a passion, or running a small business that keeps them busy.
When you love to do something, you do it better, for longer, and with greater enthusiasm than any competitor. For some retirement business ideas please click here. The page opens in a new window.
If you already have a successful business you could use it to set up a structure that would allow you more retirement freedom and options.
But even if you have a successful business the time will come that you’ll want to take it easier but still have something to get up in the morning for. Again, nothing beats your own small global business on the Internet to fill that gap. It takes time to build, but it’s most rewarding and you can manage it from virtually everywhere in the world.
Reality number two
If you’ve achieved financial independence you’re one of the 'lucky' few. In fact, it has got nothing to do with luck. It’s about taking control of your financial future. The sooner the better.
Reality number two is that you probably realize by now that your provision for retirement has been inadequate. All the years of contributing to a pension plan seem wasted when you look at the expected return today. Years ago, seen together with the rosy picture your advisor painted, it looked a lot better!
Your own small business on the Internet can bring you financial independence. It might take a few years, but it will grow. And if you enjoy what you are doing you’ve got the best retirement imaginable. I discuss on a separate page the topic 'Your Business at Home'.
Reality number three
We often hear the statement: 'Oh, when we retire we are going to travel and see the world!'
Now, the reality is that travel is hard work. If you haven't traveled before, and enjoyed it, then retirement is not the time to start. Keep in mind that business travel is very different from retirement travel. Invariably your retirement travel budget is a fraction of the business travel expense account you were used to.
My wife and I love it to travel. But we've traveled the world now for more than thirty years. Some basics are second nature to us, but it takes years of travel to know what to avoid, and what works.
Former neighbors bought a camper when they retired and fitted it out with all possible gadgets. But when they started to travel they hated it. They sold the camper after some six months. I suppose they enjoyed the fitting out and the anticipated freedom, but it would have been more prudent to hire a fitted camper for a few trips to test the water.
If traveling is not your thing then the best place to retire is right where you are now or where you went regularly for holidays. Anything else would be a risk.
Ready for the best place to retire?
Only when you’ve achieved all these things, when you can have something meaningful to do wherever you are, when you’ve achieved financial independence, and you’re an experienced traveler does the question about the best retirement locations start to make sense.
It could be tremendous fun to go look for that place. Spend a month, or two, or three in a rented furnished apartment when you find someplace promising. Move on. Come back later during another season. Buy only when you are comfortable to stay for life - only then will it be the best retirement location. The best place for you!
But that's my opinion. How about you?
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