Retiring Soon? Top 10 Locations Older Americans Relocated in 2022 To Save Money

Tender moment for senior couple on the beach at sunset.
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Americans looking for greener (or at least cheaper) pastures in retirement began to relocate at a slightly higher pace last year. As usual, the most popular destinations were in the Sunbelt.

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About 234,000 retirees moved to a different state in 2022, according to a new study from Hire a Helper that analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data. That was well below pre-pandemic levels, but still represented a 4% increase from 2021.

Many were motivated to move by the soaring inflation that swept across the country last year. More than two-thirds of retirees (36%) said their living costs were higher than expected, while 56% said they expect to keep working after they retire.

More than 12% of American retirees who moved in 2022 said they did so to find cheaper housing, the study found. That ranked second only to “other family reasons,” such as being closer to family. Retirement moves based on cost concerns are at their highest level since 2014.

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“Nobody really worried about inflation over the last decade, until this [past] year,” Jeremy Kisner of Surevest Private Wealth told the AARP. “Inflation really became noticeable, and I think it freaked people out.”

Not coincidentally, there also has been a sharp decline in retirement moves based on new and better housing. The desire to upgrade to a better home in a different market accounted for 10% of all stated reasons for a retirement move in 2022, down from 18% in 2019, before the pandemic.

Florida the Most Popular Place for Retirees on the Move

In terms of popular retirement locales, Florida returned to the top of the list after spending the previous two years in second place.

“Florida’s kind of got it all,” Kisner said. “They’ve got the warm weather, low cost of living and no [state income] taxes. A lot of people dream of retiring to the beach, and Florida still has affordable beaches, whereas, say, Southern California [has] no affordable beaches.”

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One state that apparently doesn’t have it all is Oregon. It ranked as the state retirees were most likely to leave in 2022, with 10% of retirees there saying they picked up and moved. Maryland ranked second on the same scale in 2022, with 7% of retirees there moving elsewhere.

The top metro area retirees moved to last year was Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida, which attracted 9.2% of all retirement moves. But sunny climes weren’t the only popular destinations. Columbus, Ohio and Worcester, Massachusetts tied for second as the most popular destination cities for retirees, with both pulling in 5.8% of those who relocated.

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Here’s a look at the top 10 states retirees moved to in 2022:

  • Florida: 11.8% of retirees who moved.
  • North Carolina: 9.6%.
  • Michigan: 6.6%.
  • Arizona: 5.9%.
  • Georgia: 5.5%.
  • Pennsylvania: 4.8%.
  • Washington: 4.6%.
  • Indiana: 3.7%.
  • Texas: 3.6%.
  • Virginia: 3.5%.

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Retire Comfortably

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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