08/21/2014 10:15 am ET Updated Aug 21, 2014

How To Pick The Perfect Retirement Location

Eugenia Chaikina via Getty Images

When Don and Dot Thomas were in their late 50s, they took a class on preparing for retirement. They lived in Elm Grove, Wis., at the time, and decided that they were going to move south after Don retired from his job as a manager for Miller Brewing.

"We knew we didn't want to stay in Wisconsin because the winters are too severe," says Dot, 80. So for three years, they took vacations to Florida, the Carolinas, Arizona and Arkansas to look at retirement communities.

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