Deciding to move after you retire is a significant decision. Unfortunately, it’s also fraught with high emotion, which often leads to hasty or ill-informed decisions (not to mention being extremely costly as well).
Whenever I hear that a client desires to move after they retire, I encourage them to try their best to honestly answer the following questions:
What are the top three reasons why you are moving?
Have you envisioned what your new abode will look like and how it will feel? Additionally, do you understand how your spouse or partner feels about your vision?
Have you carefully created a new budget that aligns with your new home and location?
How much time have you spent in the new location?
What activities are available? Are you really willing to engage in them?
Is the weather tolerable?
What will your social life look like? Are there people in the same age group and with the same social activities and interests? Are you willing to put yourself out there and meet new people, and is this important to you?
How available/nearby are medical services, and are they of an acceptable quality to you?
Can you transfer your property tax base?
How will this decision affect people close to you, and is that a concern? For instance, if you are moving to a location away from your family members, how do you think it will affect them emotionally/financially?
Is it better to keep your current home, rent it out, sell, leave vacant and rent in the new location? If you sell, what will you do with the money, and exactly how much money will it be?
Have you honestly explored all these options and answered these questions?
Many of us have a dream of downsizing once we are retired (or semi-retired) and no longer need to follow the same routine as we have on the road toward financial independence. But like any dream that we intend to make our new reality, and have that new reality deliver consistent, stress-free satisfaction, we need to be honest with ourselves first.
In the list of questions above, there’s no one question that’s more important than the other. Here’s a good way to really put your dream to the test: Imagine the questions must all be answered as if you were going to present them to an objective person or group of people that would approve or prohibit your move.
Who will be the person to whom you present these questions and answers? It should be the wisest person you know. Maybe that person is a parent, grandparent, good friend, advisor or coach, or even God if you wish. I know, answering questions about property taxes to God may not seem very spiritual, but you get my point. Your wise mediator will be able to see through any half-truths you may try to pass off.
If you are intent on getting a second opinion, bring the questions and answers to that wise sage in your life. Let them know how you feel about them and how much you would value and respect their opinions. You never know, it may lead to some interesting and much better outcomes than you had originally hoped!