How to Choose the Best Retirement Community

by Robert Borges on January 25, 2024

How to Choose the Best Retirement Community

Whether it’s imminent and involves a calendar countdown, or a not-too-distant goal with the official date TBD, retirement is a milestone to eagerly anticipate. The point is to relax and live our ideal lifestyle, whatever that may be. No more work. So why then, can it seem like so much work to prepare for retirement and research retirement communities? Rest assured it doesn’t have to be.

Consider these tips when deciding on the best place to retire and you’re bound to end up in a retirement community that checks all your boxes. Let’s take the process from daunting and painstaking to pleasant and enlightening!

The Best Place to Retire

That’s a pretty subjective headline, but let’s face it—we all have our own Shangri-La. When deciding how to choose a retirement community, here are the main factors to consider:

  • Recreation. You’ve finally got the time and freedom to do what you want, when you want. The best retirement communities offer a variety of schedules packed with social, recreational, and cultural activities that make leading an active retirement lifestyle stress-free and fun. Pickleball, anyone?
  • Medical care. A high priority on many retirees’ lists is available medical care. Regardless of your current health status, finding a retirement community that can give you detailed information and meet your needs when it comes to area/onsite medical providers, necessary specialists, and quality primary care physicians is crucial.
  • Lifestyle. A key to independent living is finding a community where you won’t sacrifice your comforts. Most retirement communities have set rules and regulations, and pets are just the beginning. Be sure to dive into the details so there are no surprises if you can’t set up your grill, enjoy an after-dinner cigar, or plant that garden you’ve always wanted.
  • Maintenance. Chances are your relocation to the ideal retirement community won’t include you handling much maintenance and repairs. Find out who takes care of your property when things need upkeep, fixing, or when you’re away. Is it all covered by your monthly fee, or are you charged per project?
  • Weather. If you’re retiring in another state where you may not be as familiar with the climate, take some time to research the weather. For permanent relocations, be aware that even places like Arizona, California, and Florida have more seasonal weather swings than you may have anticipated when you visited once for a few days last spring.
  • Budget. No surprise that affordability is often the most significant factor when choosing a retirement community. Entrance fees. Monthly fees. Hidden fees. Also the income, property, and estate taxes may play a huge role in considering your location in relation to your finances and long term savings. Look at all the details, talk with a trusted individual or even an attorney if you have questions regarding the financial aspect of your big purchase.

Researching Retirement Communities

When you begin researching retirement communities, the best place to ensure you cover all the above factors is with a search on the PCR website. It’s your one-stop-resource with details and breakdowns of every desirable and important category you can think of. From 55+ and age-restricted communities to golf, fishing, skiing, gated communities, and dozens more—PCR guides you on a step-by-step journey to find your lifestyle.

The Decision: Where to Retire

It’s universally understood that spending at least a week “test driving” a prospective destination before deciding on your final retirement home is critical. Multiple trips throughout different seasons is even better. “You should go when the weather is worst, to Vermont in the winter and Florida in the summer,” says travel writer Clark Norton, who writes a boomer travel blog.

You’ll acclimate before you relocate not only to the weather, but to the area, your potential neighbors, and all the nuances of an exciting new experience. Many communities offer all-inclusive coordinated visits that allow you to take it all in, uncover potential deal breakers, or positively confirm your fit—most famously with PCR’s popular Discovery Packages.

Retirement means different things to different people, but in the end, it should be the first day of the rest of your life. And we’re here to help you choose your dream community.