It is easy for a blog like this to focus primarily on all the amenities that are available to the people who move somewhere new after retirement. We have covered a variety of options including different home builders, retirement communities and locations around the world that are attractive to retirees (see the indexes of articles at the end of this post). Some of these locations have been selected because they offer a luxurious lifestyle; others were chosen for their affordability; a few were selected for their exotic locations. However, not everyone is prepared to uproot themselves from their friends, families and homes in order to move to a new location. Before you decide to relocate, there are certain issues you will want to consider.
Retirement Planning Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are some questions you should consider before you move somewhere new:
Will you be lonely if you live far away from your children, grandchildren, and friends? While many people easily make new friends after they move, I have also known retirees in our retirement community who have become lonely and depressed. Rather than joining clubs and taking part in new activities, some people isolate themselves. If you are one of these people, you may not want to make a change.
Will you be comfortable with the new climate? We have some friends who recently moved from the Napa Valley of Northern California to a small town near Lake Michigan. They have suffered through several blizzards and had their electricity cut off during freezing weather. They moved there in order to be near their youngest grandchildren. However, they are both in their 70's and this harsh climate has been hard on them. Extreme winter climates are not the only consideration. Some people find that they have difficulty dealing with the heat in popular retirement locations like Florida, Arizona and Palm Springs, California. You may want to rent a home in a potential retirement area for a year or two before you decide if you are going to be happy living there permanently.
Are you willing to travel long distances to visit your current family and friends? My parents moved from Missouri to Florida when they were in their early 60's. Now they are in their 80's. They used to enjoy the road trips they took to go back to Missouri and see the rest of the family. Now they don't want to travel at all any more, whether by car or plane. It has been four years since they went back to Missouri for a visit. This is an especially important issue to consider if you decide to move overseas where it could also be difficult for your family members to visit you.
If you lose your spouse, would you still want to be in your new location? If you don't think you would want to stay in your new community permanently, you may want to consider renting rather than buying your retirement home. In some cases, people even decide to become Snowbirds. They keep a small home or condo in their current location and rent or buy another condo or home at their retirement destination. In this way, they maintain their connections in both places.
You also need to consider whether this is a place where you would want to live alone. As one reader pointed out, if you move to a new location to be near your children, would you still want to live there if your adult children moved away because of a job change? Would you want to remain in the new location if your spouse died? You need to think carefully about these issues before you pack up your belongings and move to a new location.
If you decide to move to another country, are you prepared for the legal complications? You may want to read "Why Retire in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or Guam." It explains some of the legal issues to be considered in moving to another country, and it suggests that you may wish to consider living in one of our exotic US territories, instead. It is currently the most popular article ever written for this blog.
If you need extended medical care or a nursing home, where would you want it to be? Health problems can cause sudden changes in your retirement plans. We had some friends who were house hunting in Ecuador when the wife had a brain aneurism. Fortunately, the doctors in Ecuador were able to save her life (which says a lot about the medical facilities there). However, once she recovered, they came to the realization that they did not want to be that far away if something else happened in the future. They decided to return to the small Texas town where they had both grown up and where they would be near family and friends.
Finally, where do you want to be buried? Although most of us do not want to think about this, it is something we should consider, especially if we decide to move overseas. Do you want to have a funeral in a location where few of your current friends or family members will ever go? Would you want your body to be returned to the United States for burial? Will your heirs be left with enough money to do that?
Once you have considered all these issues, you will be better equipped to make the decision that is right for you. If you do decide that you prefer to age in place rather than move to a new retirement location, my next blog post will cover some of the resources that are becoming available to people who decide to remain in their current neighborhoods after retirement.
If you want to learn more about the options that are available to you after you retire, check out the articles listed in the index links below. Click on the category that interests you and it will open up to an introduction with a list of articles on that topic:
Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships
Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas
Great Places to Retire in the United States
Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers
Money and Financial Planning for Retirement
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