Thursday, July 11, 2013

Starting Over in New Retirement Destinations

Many Baby Boomers already have a vague idea of where they would like to live after retirement, whether that means Florida, South Carolina, Southern California, Arizona, some other region of the U.S., or even another country.  However, if you are within ten years of retirement, have you actually taken steps to narrow things down to a few specific retirement destinations where you would like to live?  After all, simply saying Florida or Ecuador is not very specific if you really want a smooth transition to retirement.  You are going to have to put some effort into picking a specific location and then making the transition happen.

Choosing the Best Retirement Destinations

Long before you are ready to move into a retirement home, you have to begin to search for the right community that will work best for you.  This is true whether you are looking at places within the United States or in a foreign country.  Here are some steps you should take:

Years before you expect to move, you should begin to take trips to various retirement destinations.  Be open.  For example, if you think you want to retire in Florida, take some vacations there.  However, you should also spend some time in nearby areas such as Georgia, South Carolina and along the coast of Alabama. Take into consideration issues such as how far you would be living from family members, such as grandchildren or elderly parents.  Compare the distant retirement destinations with a few retirement communities that are located in the same region where you currently live.  Since there are now retirement communities located throughout the United States, there is no reason why you should have to move far away from your loved ones unless you really want to.  This is the time to explore all you options, so enjoy it.

When you go on vacation, try to rent a place to stay that is in or near the retirement communities you are considering.  If you contact some of the newer communities in advance, many of them have special programs that allow you to spend a weekend in their community, take a tour and use some of the amenities.  If this is not an option, call a Realtor in the area and ask if they would show you some of the available homes in the neighborhood during your vacation trip.  Both of these are excellent ways to see which communities might work for you.

In addition to visiting during your annual vacation, I suggest you tour your favorite retirement destinations in the off season.  Go to Arizona or South Florida in mid-summer.  If you are considering retiring in Seattle, Pennsylvania or rural Michigan, go in the middle of winter.  You want to know the worst.

Read up on a variety of retirement locations.  There are many that you may not have heard about.  In addition, there may be negatives about certain areas that the property managers and Realtors will not tell you.  Read the articles in this blog (see the index articles at the end of this article to find links to dozens of articles about specific retirement destinations), and do research on other websites, as well.  You want to be fully informed.

Make a budget for your housing and stick to it.  Don't be persuaded to overspend.  It will only make you regret your housing decision.

How to Make the Transition to Retirement Easy

Even before you make the move, you need to begin to get ready for the change.  The first thing you may need to do is downsize your belongings.  This is a great time to give your children some of your possessions that they would like to have and you no longer need.  In addition, if you are storing things to give your children someday in the future, now is the time!  Three of our four daughters have items that came from our previous, larger homes.  When we go visit our kids, I jokingly tell them that I am "visiting our furniture."  It's important to accept that you are really giving these things away.  Do not get distressed if your old items are not treated with the same care you once gave them.  These items are gifts.  Let them go.

Once you have downsized your belongings, you are ready to actually prepare for your move.  Once you are within a year or so of making the change, put your current home up for sale, particularly if you find yourself in a "hot" real estate market.  That may not be the case in another year, so take advantage of strong real estate markets, when you can.

 If you sell your home sooner than planned, and you are still a few months away from retirement, you can rent a small apartment or home temporarily.  Many apartment complexes will let you rent month-to-month if you know you are going to be there less than six months.

Once you are ready to move to your retirement destination, if you are still uncertain whether it is right for you, lease a home in your chosen community for a year.  After that you will be better prepared to commit yourself.

Starting Over In a New Location

After you have moved and gotten settled, you cannot simply sit at home.  If you do, your new location will eventually stop seeming like your dream retirement.  In Laguna Woods Village, where we currently live in Southern California, there are dozens of activities going on all day long, every day of the year.  No one could possibly participate in a tenth of the activities offered.  However, I know that there are people here who are lonely and never participate in anything.  You will have to make the first move by getting out of the house and becoming active in your new community.  That is the only way to meet new people, which is important at any age.

Get involved.  Join a club, church or sports league. 

Sign up for a class, whether you want to learn bridge, photography or art.  Many community colleges, and even some four-year colleges, offer special Emeritus classes for seniors.  I take several free exercise classes through the local community college, and they are great for me both physically and socially.  The same community college also offers a wide variety of free classes in art, computer applications, history and other interesting subjects, both academic and non-academic.  Have fun learning new things!

Go to the gym or the swimming pool in your community.  Nearly every retirement community has both.

Make an effort to find friends.  Reach out to others.  Many of your new neighbors will also be transplants from other parts of the country, so they may be open to new friendships, too.

Expect some moments of homesickness.  Fortunately, today it is easy to stay in touch.  Call the people you miss and occasionally Skype with them.  In addition, periodic visits back to the old neighborhood can help keep the homesickness at bay.

If you are nervous or worried about meeting new people, you may be interested in this direct link to Amazon books about how adults can make new friends.  With very little effort, you'll soon be much happier in your new home.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the interesting retirement communities that are available, as well as getting other types of retirement information, click on the index articles below.  Each one contains an introduction and links to a number of helpful articles.

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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1 comment:

  1. These are excellent ideas, especially visiting an area that interests you in the off season.


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