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Where to Live in Retirement? The Halfback Movement Returns

Last update on: Jan 27 2020

In the first edition of The New Rules of Retirement I talked about the halfbacks. These are people from the northern part of the U.S. who retired to Florida or Arizona and then decided they didn’t like various aspects of living in those traditional retiree havens. But they didn’t want to back to where they started. So, they moved to areas about halfway between Florida and the north.

This article (subscription probably is required) talks about the current state of the halfback movement. It said the movement stalled after the financial crisis, because many Florida retirees couldn’t sell their homes for reasonable prices. Now, with many home prices having recovered, they’re selling their first retirement homes and moving to Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee. They still have warm weather most of the year plus lower taxes and other living expenses and less congestion.

Census data show that from 2010 to 2017, net migration to retirement-destination counties in Appalachian regions of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee increased 169%, the same percentage of growth for retirement destinations in Florida, according to Hamilton Lombard, a University of Virginia demographer who has tracked the halfback phenomenon. During the same period, net migration to all U.S. retirement-destination counties increased 67%.

In Georgia, many of the mountain counties experienced an increase in the 65-and-older population, including Blue Ridge’s Fannin County, up to 27% in 2016 from 22% in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.






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