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Sea changing, tree changing, downsizing, moving on?
Making a sea change? All the above seem to be considered, in one combination or another, to be a natural progression for those planning retirement, or already retired. Of course the reality is different for some retirees who choose to ‘retire in place’. Whatever your choice, I don’t think I am overemphasising it to say it is a critical choice.
Why do I say that? Well perhaps because we got it wrong and it was a painful experience both emotionally and financially. Neither of those are resource we can afford to squander in our later years.
But this post isn’t about me, or us, instead it is designed to help you make the right decision when you contemplate moving on (or indeed staying put).
There are many reasons you might choose to downsize; if this is your choice it is essential that you are clear on your motivations.
Are you downsizing because you have substantial financial resources tied up in your principal place of residence and you wish to realise those resources to help fund your retirement? That can be a great motivation and it was certainly ours when we sold our home in Melbourne. We knew that we effectively owned a home that ‘we could no longer afford to live in’. That is, the value in a rising market was so great that realising our capital gain would make a huge difference to our retirement. And of course, as our principal place of residence, that capital gain was tax free – bonus! However, if you choose this option and you are on a pension, do inform yourself of the full implications of receiving a tidy sum of cash.
It was a relatively easy decision for us because much as we loved our home and our neighbourhood we had only lived there for a relatively short time and our friends and family were spread all over Australia – indeed the world.
Another reason for downsizing might be that your current residence really is too big for you, is on a large block or that it is multi-storey, and you can see that it presents physical challenges either now or potentially later in life. We are both very able still, but having lived in two multi-storey homes, one in a hilly area, we are so happy to now be settled in a single level home, on a small block, in a flat area close to facilities. Even though the house is bigger than we might need later in life it will still be manageable.
It is imperative that in choosing a new location to live in you give serious consideration to how you see your life in the near term and the longer term.
It is so easy to fall in love with a location which offers natural beauty and a relaxed lifestyle. Perhaps you are considering moving somewhere which has been your holiday location of choice for many years, or maybe you have visited once and just fell head over heels. In either of these situations I caution you to hasten slowly.
It’s time for you to step back and think about how your life will be on a day to day basis. Will there be enough to fill your days if work is no longer part of your routine? And indeed, if work is still going to be part of your routine are the facilities available to support that work – if you need the internet is there adequate broadband, where do you go for technical support if needed, are there additional business facilities available close by – printing, binding etc. if you need them. Where will you buy supplies for your business and perhaps most importantly, where are your customers?
If you are retiring in this location and you feel comfortable that there are enough facilities and activities to keep you happily engaged (and many small communities do have lots of activities) make sure you also consider your ongoing interaction with family and friends. How easily can you get to them or them to you? Do consider the possibility that choosing an isolated location might mean family and friends are less inclined to visit. Is there an airport close by or regional rail services?
What of the future too? What if the worst happens and you become unwell? What if you are no longer able to drive? What if one or both of you needs to go into care? Are there services in place to cover those needs? Is there public transport, medical facilities, aged care facilities? None of us really want to contemplate these realities but having lived in a remote location we witnessed many examples of older community members being forced to move out of the town to other locations for advanced care or indeed even hospital care. How sad to find yourself in that situation after spending time building up relationships in a new area.
I know that all sounds negative and I don’t want to pour cold water over your dreams, far from it. However, I do want you to think carefully and pop your rose-coloured glasses aside for a little while before committing your time and your money.
With some thinking and planning and careful consideration of your very own checklist you will be able to find your perfect location for the next phase of your life, whatever that might be. Our later years really can and should be the best time of our lives, I want you to make sure that is the case. Here’s to lots of beer and skittles, or tea and biscuits if that’s your preference.
This was a guest post written by Jan Wild and Rowan Rafferty who blog over at Retiring not Shy!, where they discuss a broad range of topics related to retirement lifestyles, including choosing where to live, wise spending habits, maximising your resources, travel, time management, wellness and exercise. You can find out more about Retiring not Shy! HERE
A big thank you to Jan and Rowan for writing this very pertinent article.
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.
The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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