Retirement isn’t something that we think about on the regular, but it’s actually a huge part of life for us all.
When you think of retirement you probably have a negative image of sitting in a chair day in, day out, and knitting endlessly.
And while there’s nothing wrong with doing that, due to more of us living longer and retiring later (still full of beans and raring to grab life by the horns) retiring needn’t be a gloomy topic.
After all, it’s an opportunity to rest, unwind and enjoy your golden years to the fullest by doing the things we love most.
Seeing family. Making new friends. Going to the beach. Heading on countryside walks. Going out for coffee. And soaking up what life has to offer in the slow lane.
With more retirees relocating in their later years, the UK has seen a huge surge of demand for retirement homes across over the last 12 months.
But what are the reasons behind the yearning for moving area?
Well, new research from Lottie has analysed several lifestyle factors crucial later in life.
From popularity of the area, to affordability for day-to-day living, investment prospects, air pollution and crime rates – it has now been exclusively revealed to Metro.co.uk the happiest retirement locations across the UK.
Nick Jones, head of retirement living at Lottie, says: ‘From safety and security to wellbeing and affordability, there are lots of factors that determine the perfect retirement location – and this is different for us all.
‘For example, locations popular with retiree’s offer great opportunities to socialise and build friendships later in life.
‘Affordable locations can help make it easier to live comfortably on a fixed income, while good investment prospects can help your pension pot to go further – as we face a rising cost of living.
‘Researching the air pollution of an area can help determine how beneficial a new location may be for your overall health and low crime rates offer a sense of safety and security.
‘Our new research shows that locations offering a balance of affordability, community spirit and security are the happiest places to retire in the UK in 2022.’
Here are the top seven happiest locations to retire in the UK, according to the new research:
According to retirement experts, Wiltshire is the happiest place to retire in the UK – and has an overall score of 27.
With beautiful countryside, outdoor adventures and historic towns (Stonehenge is less than a half hour drive away) and cities filled with quaint cafes and tearooms – Google searches for ‘retirement homes in Wiltshire’ have surged by 150% over the last 12 months.
Wiltshire is the perfect place to move if you’re looking for low air pollution and crime rates, great affordability, and a laidback atmosphere.
It’s worth pointing out that house prices in Wiltshire have an average price of £330,189 over the last year.
With a score of 26, Buckinghamshire comes in second.
Famous for open countryside, historic houses and landscaped gardens, Buckinghamshire is the second happiest place to retire in the UK.
The research also found that retirement homes in Buckinghamshire offer ‘one of the best retirement living investment scores’ – making it a great place to relocate to for your golden years.
Properties in this area have an average price of £493,472 over the last year.
Dorset is the perfect place to retire thanks to its sprawling selection of coastline towns.
From Poole to Sandbanks and Bournemouth to Christchurch – there are a whole host of towns that suit the retiree perfectly.
Dorset scored well in each wellbeing factor when assessed – perhaps down to the perks of living by the sea (fresh air, long walks etc).
With low crime rates and air pollution, safety, and security – Dorset is the ideal place to unwind in later life – with house prices on average around £387,233.
With sandy beaches, open countryside, green woodlands and bustling towns and cities, it’s no wonder Somerset is a popular spot for retiring.
Great for investing in a home – thanks to house prices increasing – Somerset has seen them increase over 10% in the last 12 months. The average house price in the region is around £299,912.
If you’re wondering what to do with your savings and looking to settle down in the country, investing in property in Somerset is a great option to consider.
5. West Midlands
Coming in fifth is the West Midlands, which has one of the most diverse cultures in the UK.
Full of heritage, countryside, and cities – it’s a great spot to enjoy activities galore.
From shopping, luxury dining, exploring the outdoors and waterways of the UK – there’s plenty to do in later life.
Boasting of affordable house prices (around £266,646 on average) and a strong wellbeing score, it’s a great place to consider moving to.
If you’re not a fan of the slow life in the countryside, then Manchester might be the place for you.
With the perfect mix of a bustling city centre and leafy suburbs, Manchester is near the Peak District and Lake District – which is perfect if you fancy a bit of of time away from the city.
Research also revealed that Manchester has the highest retirement affordability score in the top seven – meaning you won’t have to sacrifice price or location.
House prices for the region are considerably cheaper than the south too, with properties coming in around £279,454 on average.
Nottinghamshire is the seventh happiest place to retire in the UK, according to the findings.
Home to scenic countryside, iconic landmarks, such as Sherwood Forest, and quaint villages – it’s the ideal place to slow down in later life.
Google searches for ‘retirement homes in Nottinghamshire’ has recently increased by a whopping 200% – proving that the area is in demand.
Due to its demand, house prices have increased 12% since last April (2021), meaning that it’s a great place to invest in. The average property in Nottinghamshire is now £239,960.
What else to know
‘Choosing where to retire is a huge decision – so it’s crucial to plan ahead and do your research, so you can avoid making any costly mistakes,’ explains Nick.
‘With life expectancy increasing and the cost-of-living crisis, it’s more important than ever to avoid costly pitfalls in your retirement.’
Nick has now shared the biggest mistakes to avoid when relocating in later life.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to avoid any expensive errors and move to a home that’s perfect for your unique lifestyle goals.
The five biggest mistakes retirees make when choosing their new home:
Forgetting to consider all relocation costs
‘A costly mistake many people make when moving to their dream location in retirement is forgetting to factor in all relocation costs to their budget,’ explains Nick.
Even though the location you might want to move to may be a cheap area to live – it can be the moving costs that really cause the price to increase.
He add: ‘To avoid being caught out by expensive retirement relocation costs, plan ahead and include any relocation expenses in your retirement budget.
‘This can also help you to decide on the best retirement location for your wellbeing and budget early on in your retirement planning.’
Deciding on your retirement location too quickly
Don’t be too hasty when it comes to choosing the perfect retirement home.
Just like you wouldn’t buy a house after just looking at it online – and not seeing it in person – you shouldn’t do this when you retire either.
It’s important to really get a feel for the place before making the decision to move.
‘It’s a great idea to plan a few trips to visit your chosen area: you can explore the neighbourhood, see what activities are nearby, how close it is to transport links, and whether there’s any hotels close-by for your family to visit,’ Nick says.
‘Some retirement homes also have guest suites – so it’s worth asking if you’re considering moving into a new community or village.’
The team Lottie highly recommends taking the time to get to know a new place before making a decision.
Ensuring you know the area will not only help you decide whether it’s a good fit, but it will also help you pick exactly where in that new town or city you might like to live.
Failing to research all your retirement options
From down-sizing and renting to retirement villages and communities – there are plenty of options to explore, and all too often people jump head-first into one without exploring all.
‘Take the time to consider how you’d like to spend your retirement, and most importantly, where you want to be in your later years,’ Nick urges.
‘Many retirement homes offer independent living in safe, social and comfortable environments.
‘Retirement looks different for us all. While there’s no one way to plan for your golden years, it’s important to take the time to explore all your options.’
Choosing a location far away from support networks
Although upping sticks and relocating may sound tempting, there are still things you want to consider – like your support network.
Make sure you consider the distance of your new home from family and friends, because if you move too far from them – you might not see them as often as you might like.
It’s nice to have your own space, but you really want to avoid becoming isolated.
‘Staying connected is an important wellbeing factor later in life,’ Nick affirms.
‘While there are lots of transport links across the country, as you age your health and finances may not allow for the same ease of travel as now.
‘Discuss with your loved ones your main motivations for your relocation. Together, you may be able to find the perfect location that meets all your needs and allows you to stay connected to those closest to you.’
Basing your decision on price rather than location lifestyle
One last thing you shouldn’t do when picking a place to unwind is opt for a cheaper price point over the location.
The team also urge us all to avoid a making costly mistake when relocating in retirement, by basing your final decision solely on the affordability of a location.
‘Retirement should offer you the opportunity to enjoy your golden years to the fullest,’ they say.
‘While you may be on a fixed income, it’s important to maintain hobbies and activities that are important to you.
‘This will help to keep you happy, fit, and healthy throughout your older years.
‘You might enjoy spending time outdoors or a morning coffee at your local cafe. Start by making a list of your lifestyle must-haves and then spend some time making sure the places on your list of possible locations can meet those requirements.
‘While retirement should be affordable it should also be enjoyable.’
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