Once you have defined your Best Life the next most important issue is  where do you want to live.  Beyond the profound emotional significance of one's home, housing is the largest financial expense in retirement, costing far more than the much publicized cost of healthcare. There are three important aspects of housing to consider:

1) Where – Where depends on what do you want to do  there and what you like.  Do you want to be near certain people, close to recreation, rural/country, different climate  stay where you are, move to a new house, different state, different geography.  Another current option is small college towns are very attractive draws for a portion of boomers in transition.

2) What - The right kind of housing for your needs: small/large, one story or two, should you include universal design?, small yard?, do you want to be free from upkeep responsibilities or do you like to maintain the yard and do small  maintenance chores on the house.

3) Financials – Many potential issues to consider including:

  • Should you pay off a mortgage before retiring if  possible?  (…a hint.   It is often more of a personal choice than a financial choice)
  • Does it make sense to downsize or move to save money?
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit?
  • Reverse Mortgages?
  • Refinancing

Go-Go vs. Slow-Go

This refers to the Go-Go early retirement vs. Slow – Go middle retirement years.  A very important housing complication is that in your eighties and perhaps nineties your housing needs will typically be very different than in your sixties and seventies.  Any choice you make in your more active sixties should be made with an eye towards differing needs when physical limitations show up as you age. 

Some people believe that by age 75 you should be in a living arrangement with long-term viability for most contingencies of latest period of your life short of any skilled nursing needs.

Read more from the links to the right or proceed to Step 3.