Where to Retire: 7 Questions Before Making Your Move
Welcome back to the latest in my new monthly series of guest blogs, where I invite inspiring people from my community to feature their work on my site. This month, we have Rosemary Bointon, who helps older people work out what to do now to live longer, in better health with more fun and adventures. You can find on her blog or contact her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Rosemary, over to you…
Where are you going to live when you retire? Decisions, decisions!
It’s so exciting when you’re thinking about the fun you’re going to have when you retire. How are you going to cram in all the things you want to do?
Moving might be one of them. But buying your forever home, that’s a big decision. It’s all too easy to make mistakes. You don’t want to end up trapped into a home that doesn’t deliver the lifestyle you promised yourself. Here’s some questions for you to help you dodge the biggest booby traps.
Question 1: Why move when you retire?
That exciting new lifestyle is enticingly teasing you.Can it only be achieved by moving your location? Take a good look at why you want to move before you start.
It may be because you want to live near your grandchildren. Or it’s for your health.
Or your favourite hobby is skiing and second favourite is hiking so it’s the mountains for you. When you know why you’re moving, it’s time to focus on the where.
Question 2: What can’t you live without in the place of your dreams?
So now you’re getting down to the where. Exciting! But hold your horses! What’s essential for you in the place you want to live in retirement?
Maybe it’s the climate – you want it cold or hot or dry or a little bit humid. Or do you want a place with plenty of jobs to keep on working? Your ideal might be climate AND affordability.
For me, being near an airport was essential because I want to go travelling and see my children regularly. (Well I did before the pandemic.)
Question 3: Where in the world will you settle?
You don’t have to live in your home country when you retire. You can pack in the travelling you yearn for and head for warm climates. Will it be Thailand, Mexico or the south of Italy or will it be Florida?
Some escape to a remote island like my friends Jean and Paul who moved to the Orkney Islands. You’ll head for the city if you’re a Bright Lights, Big City type like Margaret who is an art galleries and museums fiend.
You’ll need to get to grips with a foreign bureaucracy and a new language, which isn’t everyone’s dream retirement (although it’s absolutely mine)! Round the corner from where you used to live in a small low maintenance flat can transform life from stressful to perfect.
Question 4: Who are your dream companions?
Maybe it’s daily hugs with the grandchildren that entice you to move. (Or is proximity to family your worst nightmare?)
Whether near family or friends, look for communities with good facilities, such as retirement communities, associations, clubs and other places where you can meet like-minded souls.
Finding a safe neighbourhood, where you’re near your old friends or can make new friends, will pay you retirement dividends.
Question 5: How will you finance the cost of moving?
OK, you’ve worked through all those questions and you know where you’re going. What about financing the costs of moving?
Downsizing is the solution for many people. Others rustle up the money by drawing on some of their retirement funds so that they can find their dream house.
If you don’t want to move, then consider whether you need to do the renovations you’ve been longing for in your current house. Or gain financial peace of mind by paying off your mortgage.
Question 6: Have you thought about future-proofing your new lifestyle?
You can stay or go. But before you leap, double check the costs of moving against the costs of staying where you are. Which is the most affordable place for that dream lifestyle? If it’s neither – look somewhere else!
Choosing a home where it’s more likely that you could get work, could make it all add up. Don’t forget to account for taxes, the cost of healthcare, currency risks or the unexpected bite of any other financial risk (such as unexpected pandemics).
Whilst it’s good to keep the emergency fund topped up, don’t lose sight of the dream: it isn’t only about making the sums add up!
Question 7: Have you considered the long-term?
Imagine that you’ve moved. You’ve had a great time. But now you’re facing different problems, the slowing down of your older years. You or your partner aren’t so mobile and need care.
Does your dream home still work for you or will you have to move? It’s the small things that matter. Like living close to shops and doctors’ surgeries when you can no longer drive. Or being close to friends and family who’ll give you a helping hand to get your prescriptions from the pharmacy.
Where to Live: Decisions that Deliver Your Peace of Mind
None of us wants to think about the miseries of life if we don’t age well. But imagine that you did all that thinking before you decided where to live.
Imagine that you thought about the costs, the healthcare, the location and all the issues that go along with moving house. You managed to reconcile the potential downsides of later life with your dream retirement lifestyle. And boy, you’re having such fun!
You’re revelling in the sun or the snow, the ballet or the local folk dancing. You’ve got your finances taped. At the same time, you know you’ll be looked after if your health takes a turn for the worse.
Be proud of yourself for having taken all the right decisions about where to live. The decisions all that time ago that carry on paying the dividends of peace of mind, whatever lies ahead.
Books by George Jerjian
Dare to Discover Your Purpose is an innovative new online retirement course designed to help you change the way you feel about this important but often misunderstood life stage.
Rosemary Bointon helps older people work out what to do now to live longer, in better health with more fun and adventures. She’s a certified content writer.