When you decide to take your first step to retiring, I would recommend that you sit down and type up a list of available resources to help you along the way. And always keep in mind that in order to retire successfully, you need to gather copious amounts of information, so be prepared to ask for help each step of your journey.
When I opened my real estate firm in the Fall of 2006 along the southeastern coast of North Carolina, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that said 70% of all real estate purchases were influenced by the internet. Today, one must believe that this figure is comfortably 90%. That means America knows how to use the internet and is doing so in record numbers.
The most common websites you will find when you search on “retirement” will be financial institutions or real estate developments catering to the masses. Once you have selected an area or more specifically a town, you will have your homework cut out for you because there is so much more to retirement than selling your nest egg and building a new home somewhere warm.
Here are some important searches for you to perform once you have narrowed down your geographic search:
- Medical and health related services and hospitals
- Cultural Events
- State and local taxes
- Proximity to VA Hospital and medical services
- Shopping & Dining
- Places of Worship/Churches
- Local Service Organizations – Rotary, Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, etc.
- Distances to major cities/attractions
- Transportations Services – Airports, trains, local transportation/buses, etc.
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Clubs – hiking, biking, singing, cars, dining, boating, sailing, horseback riding, sewing, etc.
- Sports – golf, fishing, tennis, running, exercise, etc.
Today you can research just about everything imaginable and unimaginable on the internet however, there are other good sources of information for you in areas that you are researching. Here are several for you to consider:
- Chamber of Commerce – a great source for maps, magazines, coupons and more
- Local Libraries – still hard to replace as they often have significant references for you
- Town/City Halls – good source for tax information, economic development, jobs, etc.
- Realtors – a good Realtor that has a lot of firsthand knowledge and personal contacts can be invaluable
- Residents – if you have narrowed down your search to a particular development or two, go drive around and talk to the residents. Ask them what they like/dislike about the community, developer and or the area
- Books – there are some good books on planning for retirement
The quality of the information you receive in your search is something you have to decipher. More often than not, bad information can be useful if you use it in the correct manner. An example would be if someone says there are a lot of restaurants in the town you are considering settling in. Well, on further firsthand review, while there are a lot of places to eat, many are not the type of restaurants you are accustomed to. Therefore, the information provided to you made you go out and do some firsthand research, and the results are that perhaps this is not a good town to settle in or nearby to.
Once you begin your quest for retirement, it would be advisable to purchase a medium to large file that you can be mobile with, as when you do your traveling to explore the various areas on your radar, one never knows when they will need a specific bit of information you have encountered. Organize your information into several subjects, such as:
- Real Estate
The most important aspect of securing information is setting aside the time to read it. Prepare for your retirement. Get organized and take this on like a project at work because you hopefully only retire once!