All of our lives, folks nearing retirement lived where the job was. Finally, for the first time in your lives, you get to choose a new city and craft a new lifestyle, and many of you have the means to do so. You get to turn your backs on brake-tapping traffic spread across six lanes. You get to say no to masses of humanity. You get to choose a city that is walkable, has a cool downtown, is near a big city and has a low crime rate. These factors seem to be universal says Annette Fuller of Where to Retire Magazine during a recent interview with USA Today’s Nancy Hellmich.

USA Today Interview

You can choose a master-planned community that nurtures organic friendships and has all the amenities you want. You can also choose a city that has antiques shops, dog-friendly parks, ongoing education classes or a massive classic car show each year. In other words, you get to decide what city is your Camelot.

Relocation decisions are as unique as the individual making them. So, many retirees look to the Southeast from Virginia, circling on over to Louisiana. A lot of affordable living is in the Southeast as well as beaches, friendly people and a mean glass of sweet iced tea. Plus, the mild climate and abundance of sunshine and blue skies is a welcome change from the harsh winters up north. Out West, Colorado is gaining popularity for its emphasis on fitness and the environment. If you love snow skiing, hiking, kayaking or knocking around in an all-wheel drive roadster, the West can sound out a convincing call.

Where ever you choose to move, make it a positive experience. Allow yourself to let go of items and routines, knowing that you have new options, time and new adventures ahead of you. Do your own research ahead of time. Visit the places you are considering and explore the surrounding areas. Talk to the locals and learn about the nuances of the area. If you are considering a planned development, meet the residents, find out about their experiences and listen to their suggestions. Hearing from people that have been in your shoes can often put a nervous mind at ease. Make your lists of “pros” and “cons”, write out your budget and determine what feels right to you. What area offers the most of what you want? Go there and find a real estate professional that can help you solidify your decision and find you the house of your dreams. Realtors are a valuable resource for area information, taxes, utilities as well as home and land searches.

Most likely your new lifestyle will be much different than the one you are leaving behind. Embrace the change and jump in with both feet. Say yes to every invite offered for the 1st year. Join groups and organizations that will bring you together with people that have similar interests. Non-profits, community politics, mentoring, art and entertainment organizations, animal rescues to name a few are groups always looking for volunteers and organizers for community events and fundraisers. Chances are you have experience and knowledge from your previous community or career that can be put to good use. If you are newly retired, it may be a comfort to have regular activities to look forward to since you have been following a schedule most of your life. Look at it this way, a new beginning means endless possibilities so make the most of them.