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Crucial Tips for Moving to a Different State in Retirement

Summary: Many older adults choose to move to a different state once they’re in retirement. Whether you want to move to another state due to climate or cost of living, there are many important considerations to make before doing so. Below, we’ll cover crucial tips for moving to a different state in retirement, including choosing a suitable location, budgeting, and other important considerations. Estimated Read Time: 8 min

Table of Contents:

  1. Create a Moving Budget
  2. Consider the Climate
  3. Choose a Home That Suits Your Needs
  4. Find a Community That Suits You
  5. Be Aware of Local Activities and Resources
  6. Keep Your Healthcare Needs in Order
  7. Consider Transportation Options
  8. Research the Housing Market and Living Expenses
  9. Consider any Helpful Home Upgrades
  10. Be Aware of Tax Differences

Without a job keeping them tied to one location, many older adults choose to move once they enter retirement. There are many reasons retirees choose to move to a different state including climate, cost of living, communities, and taxes. Moving from one state to another is a big undertaking and there are important considerations to make before taking the plunge.

Strategically planning your cross-state move can help ensure you move to an area that works for you, your budget, and your health. Below, we’ll discuss ten crucial tips for moving to a different state in retirement.

Create a Moving Budget

Budgeting your expenses becomes increasingly more important as you enter retirement. Moving expenses can vary greatly, especially when moving out of state. This is why it is important to establish a moving budget and begin getting cost estimates for moving.

According to the website Angi, moving across the country costs and average of $4,616. Your costs will be impacted by a variety of factors including your home size, how far you’re moving, and which moving services you require. To create a moving budget, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need to hire professional movers?
  • How far away am I moving?
  • How much stuff do I have?
  • When do I want to move?

Once you have answered the questions above, you can begin getting estimates from moving companies. Also consider any additional services you may need, such as furniture assembly/disassembly, or having a cleaner come out for a moving clean-out. You will also want to ensure you leave space in your moving budget for emergencies or unforeseen expenses.

Consider the Climate

There are many considerations to make prior to moving to a different state in retirement, and climate is an important one. It’s not uncommon for older adults to consider moving to a Sun Belt state after retiring. Snow, ice, and other hazardous weather in colder states can become increasingly difficult to deal with as we age. Warm and sunny climates allow people to spend more time outdoors, which can have a positive overall impact on health.

Warmer weather isn’t for everyone, and some northern states like Michigan have become a popular destination for retirees. Cooler summers and changing seasons can be a nice reprieve for those who spent most of their lives in hotter climates. Climate preference will be different from person to person, but it is a significant factor you should think about prior to moving to another state.

Choose a Home That Suits Your Needs

For those who move during retirement, it’s important to choose a home that suits your needs. Whether you’re planning to rent or buy, you should consider your needs and limitations when it comes to your home. Common characteristics to look for in a home include:

  • Accessibility – does your new home have stairs? As we age, stairs can have a significant impact on our ability to get around our home. You may want to consider a home with a few or no stairs.
  • Maintenance – does your new home have a manageable yard? If you enjoy gardening and doing yardwork, having a yard may be a must-have for your new home. Smaller yards can be easier to manage while still allowing plenty of space for outdoor hobbies.
  • Technology – is your new home equipped with smart devices? Smart home devices are growing in popularity and can provide added convenience and security. If you’re comfortable using smart devices, you may consider looking for a home that has smart devices already installed.

Each person’s needs will be different when it comes to choosing a new home. Moving is the perfect opportunity to identify things in your current home that no longer meet your needs and look for a home that remedies those issues.

Find a Community That Suits You

According to the CDC, social isolation and loneliness in older adults is a serious health risk that impacts more than one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older. When retirees are moving to a new state, it’s important to not only choose a home that suits your needs, but also a community that suits you.

You may want to consider the demographics of a community. For example, it may be easier for you to connect with your neighbors in a 55+ community compared to a new neighborhood full of young families.

Also consider which amenities a community offers. Libraries, gyms, and community centers are all great opportunities to connect with your neighbors and get involved with your community.

Just like with a home, think about what you like or dislike about your current community. This is a great way to establish a list of must-haves for your new community when you move.

Be Aware of Local Activities and Resources

Once you find a home and community that look like a good fit for you, take time to research local activities and resources. Local activities such as book clubs, walking groups, and fitness classes can help you find people with similar interests and give you an opportunity to participate in different hobbies and activities.

Look into local resources that may be important for supporting your individual needs, especially if you’re a retiree who lives alone. These resources can include senior centers, public transportation, Meals on Wheels, and more. Senior centers offer plentiful programs and resources for older adults including fitness programs, public benefit counseling, and transportation services.

Keep Your Healthcare Needs in Order

Reviewing new homes and communities can be fun and exciting, but don’t forget about your healthcare needs. Some ways you can keep your healthcare needs in order when moving to a new state include:

  • Identify the closest hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices in the area you wish to move to. Is care easily accessible?
  • Apply for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. If you don’t already have Medicare, the application process is quick and easy. Medicare Part A and Part B provide the same benefits regardless of which state you live in.
  • If you already have Medicare, make sure you understand how Medicare rules differ from state to state. Your current state’s Medicare rules may differ from the state you’re moving to.
  • Review your Medicare plans if you are enrolled in any. Medicare plans, including Medicare Advantage plans and Part D drug plans, do not move with you. Once you leave your plan’s service area, you will be dropped from that plan. You will need to apply for a new Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan that provides coverage in the area you’re moving to.

Consider Transportation Options

Transportation allows people to access healthcare, food, social activities, and more. Your transportation options may change when moving from one place to another, and this is an important consideration when deciding where to live. For example, a rural town may not have any options for public transit, and you may need to rely on having your own vehicle to get around. A city, on the other hand, may have buses and subways that make getting around without a car easy.

Having multiple options for transportation can be beneficial for individuals who are in retirement. Walkable towns and cities can help with staying active, while having access to public transportation can allow those who are unable to drive to still get around independently.

Research the Housing Market and Living Expenses

Living expenses and home prices will be different depending on where you are looking to move. It’s important to research these expenses to ensure you can afford to live in the area you are interested in. Forbes has a cost of living calculator that can help set expectations before you move.

Housing markets can be difficult to navigate alone. If you’ve narrowed down the area that you want to move to, consider getting in touch with a real estate agent who can help you find the right home. You can also get in touch with a relocation specialist, who can help you with all aspects of moving to a new state including setting you up with professional movers.

Consider any Helpful Home Upgrades

Does your current home make certain tasks more difficult to do? Moving is a great opportunity to consider helpful home upgrades that you can implement in your new home. Helpful home upgrades can improve your quality of life in several ways. Upgrades that improve mobility, such as handles or ramps can make getting around your home easier and safer.

Some other helpful home upgrades for retirees can include smart technology such as a doorbell camera, upgraded storage options to keep spaces decluttered, and user-friendly lighting.

If you’re a retiree on a fixed income and need assistance getting upgrades in your home, there are resources available. Modification and repair funds can be provided by your local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). You can find resources near you, or near your new home by using the Eldercare Locator.

Be Aware of Tax Differences

When moving states, it’s important to be aware of any tax differences between your current state and the one you’re moving to. State sales tax, income tax, local property taxes, and excise taxes can differ greatly from state to state. For example, Florida has no personal income tax, while Delaware does not impose state or local sales taxes.

For many retirees, the difference in income taxes between states will be one of the most important factors to be aware of when moving states. If you are receiving retirement benefits, you will also want to check if the state you’re moving to taxes Social Security benefits. There are currently 12 states in the U.S. that tax some or all their resident’s Social Security benefits.


  1. How Much Does It Cost to Move Cross-Country? [2023 Data], Angi. Accessed November 2023.
  2. Top 5 States Where Retirees Are Moving, AARP. Accessed November 2023.
  3. Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed November 2023.
  4. States with the Lowest Taxes and the Highest Taxes, Turbotax. Accessed November 2023.
Thomas Liquori

Thomas Liquori

Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Supervisor and Licensed Medicare Agent
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Supervisor for ApplyforMedicare. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.