The folks at Gather Little by Little have pulled up stakes and moved to the North Carolina mountains--20 minutes to the nearest interstate, 30 minutes to the nearest town and 15 minutes to the nearest gas station/store. They are not retiring, but planning to work remotely.
I, of course, am more interested in moving as part of a retirement plan.
Many of the books I've read on financially managing retirement have suggested leaving cities and populous states for more remote (and therefore, cheaper) areas.
It is an idea worth considering.
However, for the potential retiree, there are other considerations. A friend of mine and her 72 year old companion of the past thirty years, took a roadtrip last spring, checking out various locations. They were particularly taken with property in West Virginia.
But--there's ALWAYS a but, isn't there?
Like me, her companion has diabetes. The disease has been without complications so far, but the longer he lives, the more likely it is that her companion will face heart, vision, and circulation issues. Therefore, it is important to them to have a medical center within reasonable driving distance. Also like me, as my friend has aged, cultural activities, theatre and books have become more important. Ideally, they would like to live near a four-year college or university. And finally, they want friends, friends with interests in common with them. Whether a small town or living in the country can provide such friends depends a great deal upon the particular area they settle into.
Those are the big issues, but smaller ones exist as well. There is a 15 year age difference between my friend and her companion, so the assumption is she will always be able to drive in the event he is someday unable to do so. But who knows. As any of us age, the chances that we will come to depend upon others or public transportation to get us where we want to go, increase.
My friend and I grew up together in a town of less than 2000 people. She left at age 18 and never looked back. She now reflects upon small towns with affection. I, on the other hand, came back to that small town after graduate school. I lived and worked there for many years before moving to the big city 18 years ago. I was glad to leave, and the idea of going back, even with cheaper housing (in my case, really cheap since I still own a paid-for house in that town!), isn't all that appealing. Neither is moving to any other small town.
The truth is, 18 years in the city has made a happy urban dweller out of me. Having great public transportation relieves me of concern that there will come a time when I shouldn't be driving. I have libraries, stores, theatre and movies all within ten minutes of my home. There is a four year college in my neighborhood, and several others in the metro area including a major university.
For me at least, I'm thinking it unlikely that I will be willing to save the money I undoubtedly could save by moving away from the city. Guess I'll have to find other ways to cut costs during retirement.