The hubs and I recently went away for a romantic getaway to California's Napa Valley to celebrate our milestone birthdays. It was the longest we’ve been away from our two girls and we relished in every moment: full conversations without being interrupted every few minutes, eating a meal at a normal pace, lounging in the sunshine without the need to entertain someone else.
We were living life as we once did before kids. So, naturally, it got us thinking about retirement.
Sure, there’s still many years ahead of us before we can fully retire, but as so many friends remind me: the days are long, but the years are short. In all the chaos of raising a family, it’s sometimes hard to imagine that our little ones will spread their wings and leave the nest empty.
When they do, what will our life be like? What will we want to do? Where will we want to go?
How about you? Have you thought about when you’d like to retire? Do you plan on working longer so you can rely on your savings for income? Are you looking at this stage of life as an opportunity to reinvent your life or launch a second career? Or perhaps you want to slow down a bit, working part time before you come to a complete stop.
Do you plan to downsize, live close to your family or head to a sunny destination with plenty of beaches, natural attractions and recreation? Or are you more of a city person interested in culture, convenience and variety? Are you considering factors such as the cost of living, tax rates, healthcare, crime rates, climate and amenities?
That long-term vacation or permanent out-of-office notification is closer than you think, so write a letter to your future self ( the one you'll become 20 or 30 years from now) and consider this list of best places to retire in when you do.
Venice or Sarasota, Florida
If beaches, favorable tax laws, activities for seniors and lots to do for grandkids score high on your retirement list, consider Venice or Sarasota, Florida. Venice — named after Venice, Italy — has canals and rivers that run through it and boasts architectural influences from the Italian Renaissance. In close proximity to the beach, Venice has parks, golf courses, calm traffic and relatively low prices — meaning a calm and peaceful retirement is guaranteed.
If you’re interested in that Florida beach vibe on a budget, Sarasota is the place for you. Homes here are cheaper than Naples and Palm Beach, two other popular retirement destinations. Residents here are mix of young and young-at-heart; there’s plenty to see and do all on retirement savings.
Palm Springs, California
Who wouldn’t love sunshine 350 days a year? It’s no wonder Palm Springs is one of the world’s most famous retirement communities. Breathtaking landscapes and a rich culture draw people from all around the world. Active retirees can enjoy the golf scene and the nearby Joshua Tree Park. A word of caution, though. Summers are extremely hot so it’s best to spend those days in the air conditioning.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
A huge stretch of sandy beach, trendy shops and restaurants, quality medical care and lots of arts, theatre and culture to keep you entertained. Do you need any more reasons to consider retiring in sunny Myrtle Beach?
If you’re an energetic retiree interested in activities to keep you busy and engaged, Austin is your dream retirement home. This cultural hub offers you a thriving economy, warm weather, plenty of museums, galleries, art theatres, live music and markets. Discover new interests by volunteering and seize the opportunity to be part of a scene.
Love the outdoors? Boise is a great retirement destination for active adults. Rated as one of the best cities to live and ride, invest in a good bike and explore the many mountains, rivers and adventures at your doorstep. Planning on staying local? Head downtown for the diverse shopping, eating and cultural opportunities. The city’s low crime rates mean you can be at ease enjoying its many walking paths.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Are you interested in sunshine and a livable, walkable city? Santa Fe is the place for you. Gallery hopping, shopping and museum explorations are aplenty. Expect sun for most of the year as well as good company; seniors 65 years old and over make up nearly 20 percent of the population.
For history buffs looking to enjoy the slower pace of life, consider affordable Savannah for its cobblestoned streets, architectural scenes, gardens, and thriving arts community.
Interested in warm weather sans humidity and plenty to do? Then, Sedona is the place for you. Enjoy affordable housing, annual film festivals, local artists, art galleries and nearby forests, canyons and trails. Add that it’s one of the most tax-friendly states in the country and the deal is pretty much sealed!
Victoria, British Columbia
Considering a move outside the country to a friendly, welcoming and neighboring nation? Consider Victoria for its mild climate, ample outdoor offerings and well-developed infrastructure for a great quality of life.
If wine is your thing, you could head to Napa Valley, or you may want to consider the less expensive option in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. There, you'll find a mild climate and quaint town filled with tasty restaurants, galleries and historic sites.
So, where will you want to go?
Lisa Durante is a working mama who believes in the power of AND. She offers strategies and insights, as well as resources and programs to help you design a career and life that works for you as a working mama. Get new tips and free resources every week at LisaDurante.com.