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Pros & Cons of Retiring Somewhere Else

Whether Close to Home or Faraway, Your Perfect Place for Retirement Awaits

Article by Kimberly Blaker

Photography by Michael Beightol

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

Millions of Baby Boomers retire each year, but in 2020 the number of retired Boomers increased more than in prior years, according to a Pew Research Center. In the third quarter of 2020, about 28.6 million Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – reported that they were out of the labor force due to retirement. That’s 3.2 million more Boomers than the 25.4 million who were retired in the same quarter of 2019.

If you are nearing retirement, 2021 may be the year for a new and exciting chapter in life. You no longer have to dedicate time and energy to a job. For many retirees, this means a return to focusing on your own wants and needs.

One of the most significant changes new retirees often consider is moving to a new city or state. The idea of relocating is an exciting way to embrace your new life. But it's also a big decision you should consider carefully, especially if it means leaving family and friends behind.

Living Where You Love or Someplace More Affordable

During earlier adulthood, people often choose to live where they do because of a job or the best location to raise a family. Retirement provides the opportunity to pick a place to live because that's what you want. There are many reasons retirees choose to relocate. Most often, they want to live in a place that offers a better way of life.

A significant factor retirees consider is choosing someplace where they'd love to live. Maybe after years of living in SW Lake County you’re ready for the excitement of downtown Chicago. Maybe the idea of another Midwest winter has you longing to hike in the desert, enjoy the mountains or experience sunsets at the beach. After you retire, you're better able to prioritize your personal preferences when deciding where to live. Think about what things you enjoy and the type of environment that makes you feel your best to help narrow down options.

Another important factor to consider is affordability. If you're thinking about moving after retirement, you may want to simply downsize locally. If kids are grown and gone, you probably don't need as much space. Your changing needs may be better served with a smaller home.

For most, retirement can mean you’ll have a smaller income than you did when working. So, having a smaller mortgage or rent payments, lower property taxes and insurance, and less maintenance and repairs can save a bundle. If your home is paid off, you’ll have a nice nest egg when you sell.

The Pros and Cons of Relocating

Deciding to move away from family and friends is a big decision. Creating a list of personal pros and cons is a helpful tool to process all the factors. Everyone has their own unique pros and cons based on various aspects. The ones below may help you get started. Be sure to add your own.

Pros

  • Leaving behind obligations, old drama, or bad memories.
  • Getting a fresh start.
  • Finding a more appropriate place for your stage of life.
  • Finding a new community with whom you have more in common.
  • Leaving an area that has a younger population and a family focus.
  • Saving money by downsizing or living in a less expensive area.

Cons

  • Being away from familiar and special places.
  • Having to develop new routines.
  • Missing seeing family and friends regularly.
  • Starting over new takes a lot of effort.
  • Making new friends and finding new social outlets.
  • Moving can be difficult and stressful.

Managing Family Relationships If You Move Away

A big hesitation about relocating is that it may take a retiree away from their kids and grandchildren. If you're used to living close to them and enjoy the benefits of being nearby, leaving family behind can be difficult. You may feel relocating is right for you, yet you're still worried about living so far away from loved ones. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep relationships strong, even from a distance.

Moving away from family and friends is easier than ever before because of all the technology now available for keeping relationships close through virtual connection. You can now easily see your kids or grandchildren at the tap of a button.

Through Social Media, you can follow them to get regular updates, photos and videos of important things happening in their lives. It's just as easy to have direct communication at any time using text messaging and phone or video calls. One thing we learned from the pandemic is that Zoom can give us the feeling we’re right there with our families. At the pace technology is advancing, long-distance communication will continue to get better.

In some ways, living away from your family (and friends) can make seeing each other in-person even better. When you live near family, you may not put as much effort into seeing each other or the quality of your time together because everyone's lives are so busy. If you live further away, the time you spend together will be more focused, special and memorable. You can travel to each other's locations or meet for vacations together for a fun change of pace. The time leading up to visits can be fulfilling, too, with countdowns or planning together as time for a visit gets closer, and excitement builds.

How to Make the Most of Your New Life When You Move Away

When relocating the best thing to do is go into it prepared. You'll want to begin by figuring out precisely what you want out of your new home, town, and life to narrow down the places that make the most sense for you. Even if you already have a dream location in mind, know the reasons why you want to live there and that it will meet your expectations for retirement.

It's a good idea to visit any new place you're seriously considering. Check out the more mundane aspects of it, like places to run errands. Talk to locals, particularly those at a similar stage of life, and get their perspective. Realtors and librarians are excellent resources for getting more information about what your potential new hometown has to offer.

Once you've relocated, look for ways to get involved and become a part of your new community. Leaving your old home also means losing the relationships and routines you were used to. At the same time, as a new retiree, you may have a lot more time on your hands than you're accustomed to. So, find healthy and fun ways to fill that time to ensure you're taking advantage of new opportunities.

Look for group classes that align with your interests or offer the opportunity to try something new. There are often classes specifically for senior populations where you can meet other people to build new relationships and enjoy retired life together. Both the local library and city recreation department are helpful resources for finding these classes and groups.

You can also go online to Meetup.com to find various social groups with a broad array of activities and interests. It's a great way to do the things you love and make new friends with whom you have something in common.

Retirement is a time of change that can be both wonderful and daunting. So whatever path you're considering, weigh your options carefully to find the best situation suited for enjoying your new life.

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