Should You Relocate for Retirement?

Ryan discusses the financial benefits of relocating during retirement for a lower cost of living. He uses a hypothetical scenario of a retired couple, Bob and Ann, to illustrate the financial implications of staying in a high-cost area versus to relocate for retirement to a place like Knoxville, Tennessee, where the cost of living is significantly lower.

Through a Monte Carlo simulation, it’s demonstrated that by reducing expenses through relocation, the couple could increase their probability of financial success in retirement. Ryan emphasizes the importance of understanding current living costs and potential future costs in different areas to make an informed decision that allows retirees to maintain their lifestyle while potentially stretching their retirement savings further.

Should You Relocate for Retirement?

Are you like many retirees who are considering moving somewhere else, maybe for a cheaper cost of living in retirement? This is a common topic of discussion among retirees, and for good reason. The idea of stretching your retirement savings by relocating to a place with a lower cost of living is appealing. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of relocating for retirement and help you make an informed decision about this important life transition.

The Allure of Relocating for Retirement

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to acknowledge that many retirees are drawn to the idea of relocating for retirement. Lower living costs, better weather, and a change of scenery are just a few of the reasons retirees consider moving. In the age of digital nomads and remote work, the possibilities are even more enticing.

Ryan shared an interesting story about a couple who relocated to Ecuador and lived comfortably on their social security income. They not only enjoyed a lower cost of living but also experienced an improvement in their health. This story illustrates the potential benefits of choosing the right location for retirement.

The Case Study: Meet Bob and Ann

To better understand the implications of relocating for retirement, let’s examine a hypothetical case study involving a couple named Bob and Ann. They are both 60 years old, in good health, and plan to retire in three years. Their primary goal is to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement. Here are some key details about them:

  • Retirement savings: Bob and Ann have a million dollars in retirement funds.
  • Investment allocation: Their funds are currently invested in 70% stocks and 30% bonds.
  • Annual savings: They are contributing $100,000 per year to their retirement accounts.
  • Home ownership: Their home, valued at $500,000, is fully paid off.

The Current Situation

If Bob and Ann choose to stay in their current location, their annual expenses are estimated to be $80,000. Using a Monte Carlo simulation, which tests their financial outlook in various market scenarios, we can assess their situation. In the worst-case scenario, they would have only $670,000 left in retirement, which is not an ideal financial position for later years in life.

Relocating to a Lower Cost of Living Area

Now, let’s consider the option of relocating to a place with a lower cost of living. By moving to a location where their annual expenses decrease to $64,000, Bob and Ann can significantly improve their financial prospects. The Monte Carlo simulation shows that in the worst-case scenario, they would still have $150,000 left, a much more secure financial position.

In an above-average market scenario, which, as Ryan suggests, is somewhat rare, they could have as much as $8 million in assets. However, it’s essential to focus on the more conservative estimate to ensure financial security. The goal is to increase the probability of success, meaning the likelihood of having enough money to last throughout retirement.

The Benefits of Lowering Your Cost of Living

The core advantage of relocating for retirement is the opportunity to reduce your living expenses while maintaining your current standard of living. By spending less money on housing, groceries, healthcare, and other necessities, your retirement savings can stretch further. This financial freedom allows you to enjoy your retirement without constantly worrying about running out of money.

Additionally, a lower cost of living can lead to a more stress-free retirement. Fewer financial concerns and lower expenses can lead to improved overall well-being, including physical and mental health.

The Key Considerations

While relocating for retirement can be a promising prospect, it’s essential to consider some key factors before making such a significant life change:

1. Research Your New Location

Before relocating, thoroughly research your potential new home. Investigate the cost of living, quality of healthcare, tax implications, and cultural aspects of the area. Ensure that the place aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.

2. Stay Close to Loved Ones

Consider the proximity of your new location to family and friends. Staying connected with loved ones can significantly impact your happiness and support system during retirement.

3. Think About Healthcare

Access to quality healthcare is a critical consideration. Evaluate the availability and affordability of healthcare services in your chosen destination.

4. Understand Tax Implications

Different locations may have varying tax laws, which can impact your retirement income and savings. Consult a tax professional to understand the financial implications of your move.

5. Consult a Financial Advisor

To make an informed decision, consult a financial advisor who can help you assess your current financial situation and create a tailored retirement plan that accounts for your relocation.


Relocating for retirement is a significant decision that can have a profound impact on your financial well-being and overall quality of life. Bob and Ann’s hypothetical case study demonstrates that, with careful planning and consideration, a move to a lower cost of living area can improve your retirement prospects.

Before making the leap, take the time to research potential destinations, consider your personal preferences and priorities, and consult with financial and tax professionals to ensure you’re making the right decision. By doing so, you can enjoy a comfortable and secure retirement in a location that aligns with your dreams and goals. After all, retirement should be a time of fulfillment and peace, and strategic relocation can help make that vision a reality.

Also read: Which Retirement Accounts Should You Withdraw From First?


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