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Keys to Finding the Perfect Place to Retire

Just packing up and heading south when you retire isn’t the answer. We offer some smart guidance to finding your best place to retire.

By: Patricia Mertz Esswein

Three days after Cheryl Gremban retired in 2018, she and her husband Charlie, 67, who had retired 10 years before, sold their home in the East Bay area, near San Francisco, and moved to Carlsbad, Calif., near San Diego. The move wasn’t willy-nilly. Carlsbad had been on their radar screen for a few years.

Like many retirees, the Grembans wanted to live closer to family. Of their three sons, the nearest one lived in San Jose, an hour away on a good-traffic day. “We couldn’t really expect a lot of support if we needed it regularly,” says Cheryl, 65. Plus, San Jose’s higher home prices meant a higher property tax bill. Another son lived in New York, also an expensive place. The third lived near Carlsbad.

Online research revealed that Carlsbad was a sizable seaside city where homes were more affordable than in the Bay Area. Carlsbad had everything the couple needed — stores, restaurants and medical facilities — all with a small-town feel.

The Grembans wanted to be near the beach in a walkable neighborhood with residents of mixed ages and a community pool. When visiting family, the couple stayed an extra day to tour neighborhoods and houses.