When our parents got down to choosing where to live out their years of retirement bliss, they based that decision, generally, on the following criteria:
- warm climate
- lower taxes (particularly for those in the Northeast)
- affordable, senior-friendly communities
- golf (or other favorite sport like boating)
Not in that order particularly; perhaps even equal in importance.
Then came Boomers’ turn to choose retirement Eden, and I predict – or hope, or both – we will include one key factor; for some of us, it may even trump one or two of the others on our list:
- political & cultural climate
That portion of our youth, activism and strong political/social views, just might influence where we finally settle down to live out our last 30+ years. After all, that’s almost 1/3 of our life, so we’re wanting more than early-bird specials and Jai-Alai.
As the country becomes ever more polarized (thanks to us…we started out polarized and remain so in our current dual roles as powerful voting block/generation in charge both legislatively & industrially), we will want to live in a place that shares our views governmentally & socially, from gun rights to health care. Boomers who lean left politically will choose states like New Mexico and California. Boomers who lean right to far-right will love places like Arizona & Florida run by the Tea Party and the NRA, where their views are embraced by the populace and the leaders they choose.
The importance of these factors as we determine our retirement move is driven by the role cultural & political comfort plays for us (far more than it did for our parents): Culturally we care greatly about such things as quality elder care for our parents and then us, a supportive environment for mid-age & older workers/entrepreneurs as we pursue our “second act,” affordable health-care options (as we live longer and more active lives than our parents did), and 55+ communities’ emphasis on healthy lifestyles; politically we are not comfortable in a place where we would be surrounded & governed by those whose world view is the opposite of ours – and if we can’t move to a state that meets the criteria, we will at minimum find safe haven in a city/county that does.
So, states wanting to woo us, play this socio-political ace in your deck to attract our lucrative generation to your shores.
Boomers, pay close attention to this key ingredient when you make this very important decision. I can tell you from personal experience; living in a state far removed from your cultural/political sensibilities is very painful indeed.