This is the question that inevitably comes up when you start looking at your personal finances and budgeting for your new life. All the images of retirement shows smiling people, on sandy beaches doing a lot of nothing.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The day you step into retirement is just like the day before you made the plunge. Your kids still need you to help with your grandchildren, your same doctors are still in place and your friends still want you to go out on Friday nights. The best advice is to only make changes that will benefit your standard of living and makes you feel happy about where and how you live. Make sure your choices come from a place of what is best for us and our circle of love.
Retirement today is not like what it was for our parents. We have options. They had responsibilities or so they thought. Actually what they had was a FEAR of letting go and trying new things. We don’t have that. Because we changed jobs, relocated four or five times. Change was our friend and in retirement it will be again.
Yes, downsize and relocate if you wish. You don’t need to hold open your children’s bedrooms – they left. And so should you. Find a living situation that suits your new lifestyle. Think warm and efficient so your tax bill, HVAC bill and your house cleaning bill all begin to tumble. Encourage your kids to visit and to also use some of those travel points to expose their kids to a Marriott sleepover rather than a stay at Grandma’s Sardine Inn. Let’s all be comfortable. It’s a new day and the faster your kids embrace it the faster you will get rid of your abandonment guilt.
Now with downsizing comes a great responsibility it’s called throw everything that doesn’t bring you joy away and donate as much of your furniture as possible because it never fits or looks good in the new place. Don’t drag all your wall hangings with you from your first sixty years. Replace, renew and refresh the look so that new dwelling sings to you each day as you rise and travel through it.
So, where to live? Think long and hard about this one as you need to go into it thinking it has to last several years. Newer is better so you don’t get caught in the deferred maintence trap at 75 when you can least afford it. Also if you buy into a Condo association be sure they have well financed reserves as those out of the blue “special” assessments can cripple you. Geography is also a big deal. South and Southwest is warmer and cheaper. You will have lots of friends to choose from. Word to the wise look for places that are newly developing as those domiciles tend to attract people new to retirement so you all get to grow old together. If you move into an established community and you are the “New Kids on the Block” and everyone else is in their 80’s guess who gets to become their doctor and shopping transportation service. It’s tough to ignore the really needy!!
The final anecdotal thing I have noticed over the past five years is people relocating back from whence they came. Oh sure they had fun in the warmth of Florida or Arizona or Texas but now their health is beginning to fail, they long to get closer to their kids and grandkids and in the end some feel a solemn call to return to the nest as they want to there “last hurrah” to be where people know them so they will not be forgotten.
In the end it’s all about Legacy and having a circle of love to share it with.