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May 03, 2011

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I think the most important thing to consider in retirement is the climate. When you're old, your body gets brittle. DO NOT live in a winter wonderland that is filled with ice that can deliver you to an early grave! Plus, no one wants you driving cautiously through the roadways. You're too slow and dangerous.

Proximity to quality healthcare facilities.

I know that this column is money based. However, I believe that being near family, friends, and a well-established support system is worth its wait in gold. Also, factor in a paid for home. I live in New Haven, CT. My three-room apt-condo will be paid for by retirement. While CT is not a retirement haven, New Haven is a small, easily negotiable town with world class medicine, arts, less than two hours from NYC, less than three hours from Boston, and near mountains and water. There's public transportation just outside my door, and I have a wonderful group of supportive friends and church community. I'm not going anywhere. Also, with many states in financial difficulty, who's to say how long so-called "low cost" states will remain that way.

We'll likely split time between Europe, Australia/NZ, and possibly back in the USA. Arguably we'll spend the most time where the money goes the farthest. As the health wanes it will like be Aus/Europe where we would qualify for free healthcare.

As far the kids, we're anticipating traveling to where our kids live/work. We'd do this irregardless as the kids will be starting their own families, career, etc and won't have the money, time, or flexibility to travel like we'll have.

Out of curiosity, what is it about a condo that makes it easier to travel from than a house? I've never lived in a condo, but it seems to me that it's basically a house plus HOA fees. The only benefits I see are that exterior maintenance is kept up by the HOA and that you likely have immediate neighbors who will notice if something is wrong while you're gone. Are these the reasons a condo keeps you more mobile?

Jonathan - A condo can make it easier to travel because you generally don't have to worry about anything while you're gone. Assuming there is a door man, your mail/packages are taken care of, you're probably less likely to be robbed, etc.

Undoubtedly CLIMATE is #1, period.

Yesterday, my 52 year old daughter moved permanently to MAUI to live. She telecommutes so her income isn't affected. Her husband is a home builder and has lost money on the last two homes and won't be building anything for quite a while so he will have to find work doing something else.

They had been living in the Winter Wonderland of Lake Tahoe for many years and this winter was a "Doozy" in terms of heavy snowfall and she finally reached the breaking point. So, yesterday they, their two adopted 2 and 3 year old girls, and two dogs arrived in Maui after several months of preparations. One car is already there, the other is on its way.

It was an expensive move but fortunately they are in very good financial shape. I started managing her SEP-IRA in May 1992 when it was $64K - as of yesterday it was $1.58M. Their trust account is over $250K and they just inherited $400K when the husband's father died. They also just sold their home in Tahoe that was free of debt and have leased a home on Maui for 6 months while they search for a home they like that someone else desperately wants to sell.

Personally, for a lot of reasons I would have moved somewhere else in California but Maui was her choice, not the husband's however, so he's going to have to put his skis away and break out his wind surfing equipment.

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