The Essential Retirement Relocation Checklist: Your Guide to a Stress-Free Move

The Essential Retirement Relocation Checklist by Riverbend Wealth Management

Retirement marks a significant transition, offering many individuals the opportunity to reshape their lives in a setting that better suits their aspirations and needs.

Each year, approximately 1 million Americans choose to relocate following retirement, seeking environments that enrich their newfound freedom. The decision to move, especially to a region like the Carolinas, brings with it numerous advantages, from favorable weather to diverse recreational opportunities. However, this decision also requires careful consideration of various factors.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive retirement relocation checklist to help guide you through the essential steps and considerations involved in relocating to another state during retirement.

What is a Retirement Relocation Checklist?

A Retirement Relocation Checklist is a practical tool designed to assist individuals in preparing for and managing the transition of moving to a new location during retirement. This checklist typically includes various aspects to consider and tasks to complete, so the process is as smooth and well-organized as possible. Key elements of a retirement relocation checklist might include:

  • Financial Planning: Assessing cost of living differences, managing retirement funds, and budgeting for relocation expenses.
  • Research: Investigating potential retirement locations based on climate, healthcare facilities, recreational opportunities, and proximity to family or friends.
  • Housing Needs: Deciding whether to buy or rent, evaluating types of housing such as retirement communities or assisted living facilities, and considering downsizing options.
  • Legal and Administrative Tasks: Updating legal documents like wills, power of attorney, and healthcare directives. Managing address changes for banking, insurance, and Social Security.
  • Healthcare: Evaluating the healthcare services in the new area, transferring medical records, and finding new healthcare providers.
  • Social Integration: Looking into community activities, clubs, or groups to join to maintain a social network and build new relationships.
  • Logistics: Planning the physical move, hiring movers, and scheduling the transportation of belongings.

Using such a checklist can help ensure that all necessary steps are addressed, making the transition into retirement smoother and more secure.

Riverbend’s Retirement Relocation Checklist

Finding a New City to Call Home

Relocating during retirement involves more than just selecting a new home; it’s about carefully integrating into a new community and lifestyle. To help facilitate a smooth transition, it is crucial to immerse yourself in the potential new locale and thoroughly prepare for the move.

This section outlines suggested steps designed to help you gain a deeper understanding of your chosen area, evaluate your living options, and manage the practical aspects of moving.

From visiting your prospective new home at different times of the year to handling the logistics of relocation, these steps are crafted to help support you in making informed decisions and setting up your new life with confidence.

  • Visit the location you have in mind during different times of the year. You can get an idea of what the area is like during peak and off season.
    • Make an extended trial visit. Staying for a longer period of time will get you more accustomed to how it is to be a local. This will also give you a chance to narrow your choices of neighborhoods of where you want to purchase your home.
  • Subscribe to the local paper to get an idea of what is going on in the community.
  • Request information from the local Chamber of Commerce about state and local taxes, including property and sales taxes. A good real estate agent should provide you with information, as well.
  • Request a list of housing options from your realtor. Visit different neighborhoods and retirement communities to get a feel for what is available. Make sure that you are near the activities you want to do most.
    • If you are borrowing money to purchase a home, be sure to check a variety of lenders.
  • Understand how you want to live your retirement life and how to fund it.
  • Make sure you know and can cover all social, medical, financial, and legal obligations. We can help with this.
  • Contact a moving company to get a packing and moving estimate.
    • Decide how your pets will travel.  Also consider boarding care for them if you decide to travel during retirement without them.
    • Declutter. Decide what to keep, what to give away, what to sell, and what to throw away. Being honest with yourself on what to keep can be difficult.  Our sentimental value to our things, usually won’t transfer over to our children or others.  Work to simplify your belongings.  It also saves on moving costs.  If you donate some of your belongings, keep a list for tax preparation purposes.
  • Pick up plenty of change-of-address cards from the post office. Send cards to:
    • Accountant
    • Attorney
    • Banks
    • Credit card companies
    • Church
    • Dentist
    • Doctors
    • Friends
    • Relatives
    • Your financial management companies
    • Social Security office
    • Insurance companies
    • Utility companies
    • Voter registration
    • Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Internal Revenue Service.
      • You will need to send a letter. They will NOT take change of address card.
  • Establish a local bank contact and get checks with your new address.
  • Arrange to have your phone and utilities turned off on your old home and turned on at your new home.

Navigating Medical Care During Your Move

Transitioning to a new location in retirement requires careful consideration of your healthcare needs to maintain continuity and access to medical services.

It’s important to verify that your health insurance benefits are transferable to your new home and understand any changes in costs. Additionally, connecting with new medical professionals, transferring medical records, and ensuring an adequate supply of medications are critical tasks to address before your move.

This part of the checklist focuses on the necessary steps to manage your health insurance coverage and establish a new network of healthcare providers.

  • Check with your health insurer to make sure you retain benefits in your new location.
    • Both private health insurance for younger retirees and Medicare Advantage plans have specific service areas.
    • Retirees moving out of the service area will need to find a new plan, which could mean more expensive premiums and increased out-of-pocket costs.
  • Establish connection with medical professionals who take your insurance.
  • Request a written medical history from your current physician and dentist. This is handy when you start working with medical staff at your new location.
  • Have a list of your prescriptions and note the side effects. Have at least two months supply before moving.

Financial Considerations for Retirement Relocation

Managing financial aspects effectively is crucial when relocating for retirement. This section of the checklist provides guidance on evaluating the financial implications of your move. It includes reviewing the tax consequences with your accountant, comparing insurance rates in your new location, and establishing banking arrangements.

Additionally, if you’re considering purchasing a home with a loan, it’s important to explore various lending options to find suitable rates. By taking these steps, you can help facilitate your financial transition and support your move to a new community.

  • Check with your accountant to determine the tax consequences of moving, the sale of your home, or any other meaningful changes.
  • Get rates from your insurance company.
    • IMPORTANT: rates can vary wildly, especially on the coast. Be sure you get a few quotes. Click here to request a quote.
  • Establish a local bank contact and get checks with your new address.
  • If you are borrowing money to purchase a home, be sure to check a variety of lenders to make sure you get the best rates.

Addressing Legal Considerations in Your New Location

When relocating to a new state during retirement, it’s important to address legal considerations that may affect your existing documents. Laws can differ significantly from one state to another, impacting how legal arrangements like powers of attorney and wills are interpreted and enforced.

This section outlines the necessity of consulting with a qualified local attorney who can review and possibly adjust your legal documents to comply with the laws of your new residence. Ensuring that your legal bases are covered will help support a secure transition to your new home.

  • Consider working with a local qualified attorney. A good attorney may not have to rewrite all of your documents, but they may make adjustments to account for different laws in the new state.
  • Click here to setup a call with an attorney. Make sure you have the following reviewed:
    • Power of attorney
    • Durable power of attorney
    • Guardianship
    • Living will
    • Medical Power of attorney
    • Healthcare power of attorney
    • Life estate
    • Trust

Organizing Important Documents for Accessibility

Keeping important financial and legal documents easily accessible is essential, especially when relocating for retirement.

At Riverbend, we provide each client with a secure digital vault where these critical documents can be stored and accessed from any location. This arrangement not only ensures security but also integrates seamlessly with your customized retirement plan.

This section will guide you on which documents to keep in your digital vault, including contact information, insurance policies, legal and financial records, and details about personal property and military benefits. Proper organization of these documents ensures that they are readily available in an emergency and helps maintain order during your transition.

  • Your contact information
  • Emergency contacts and neighbors
  • Employer address and phone numbers
  • Insurance policy information
  • Legal, financial, and estate contracts and contacts.
  • Personal property details
  • Military benefits
  • Beneficiary information

Navigating Your Golden Years with the Retirement Relocation Checklist

Clearly, preparing for a retirement relocation involves much more than just packing up and moving to a new location. By following the comprehensive retirement relocation checklist provided, you can address the essential aspects of your transition — financial, legal, medical, and logistical — to help facilitate a smooth and successful move.

Each step, from securing your important documents in a digital vault to establishing new healthcare and financial services, is designed to give you peace of mind and confidence as you embark on this exciting new chapter of your life. Remember, careful planning and attention to detail are the keys to making your retirement relocation both enjoyable and fulfilling.

When we work with clients, we do comprehensive financial planning, which covers many of these issues.  Always feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. Click here to schedule a 15-minute phone appointment.

Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor; DBA Riverbend Wealth Management.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Riverbend Wealth Management. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stratos Wealth Partners and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.


More Content from Riverbend

Get Your Free Download

Submit the form and a member of our team will email you a copy of the Retirement Ready Checklist. 


Retirement Ready Checklist

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content