Approaching retirement a few years ago, Joanna and Roger Beam began searching for a new home by looking in the usual direction: south. But instead of following other snowbirds, the Beams moved north, buying a house in Exeter, N.H., in order to remain close to their granddaughters, now ages 3½ and 6. Family typically trumps warm weather and low-cost living for people heading into retirement. As such, the choice often isn’t about comparing lifestyles in, say, Florida and New Mexico, but rather considering the advantages of the places near family.
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