Sooner or later when you near retirement, the subject of where to live pops up. So many things to consider. Perhaps for the first time in many years you have a choice rather than a mandate of where to live. Those working in some professions may have been able to chose their home city. Big corporations, however, are notorious for selecting where employees live…and it may not always be in a city or town of our choosing. Because jobs are the key to earning a living, workers are compelled to follow the paycheck trail.
Happily, the Retirement Era opens many doors, allowing us to make our own decisions. But it is up to us to give serious thought about our Happy-Ever-After location. Take your time and contemplate the whole picture. Make a list of the pros and cons of making a move or staying put. Think carefully about what you want to gain or what you are willing to sacrifice if you move. Remember, for most people, retirement is a big adjustment in itself.
First thing to consider is how much income you will have each year. Compute your annual expenses based upon where you currently live, such as the cost of maintaining your house or condo, the cost of living, your taxes, your insurance costs, etc.
If you decide that you can afford to stay put, decide if you like the weather. Many “Yankees” head south during the winter months to Florida or Arizona or even the Caribbean. Some lucky people can afford to buy another house and keep their main residence where they may have lived for many years. However, many retirees do not have overflowing bank accounts.
Carefully consider the future as you age and realize that your health may become a problem. Do you live in a place offering excellent medical facilities and retirement homes that are well staffed with trained professionals? When you are newly retired, you may feel young and vibrant, and that is great. However, times change, hips give out, knees may need replacement, to say nothing of requiring heart surgery or cancer treatments. A healthy mind and body are paramount to quality living.
Many people think that if they move closer to their grownup children their lives will be easier and simpler. Never forget that as much as parents and children love each other, our adult children have busy, active lives of their own. In today’s world, they are not meant to be our caretakers. They are meant to enhance our lives and live their own lives. We are meant to provide for ourselves as best and as long as we can. Decide if your supportive network of friends can nurture you BEFORE you sell your home, uproot your life and zip off to live next door to your daughter or son.
Choose where to live according to how it can impact your interests. If you love the theater and the symphony, don’t move to the hills of Montana or the backwoods of Maine. If you love to learn, consider auditing classes at the art museum, a city college or university. If you like to volunteer, be near good hospitals or charities that will gladly welcome your services. Consider how vital it is for you to remain independent and vibrant for the foreseeable future. Concentrate on how important it is to give of yourself and your own talents as long and as generously as possible.
Remember how blessed you are to have earned the freedom and flexibility of retirement years. Appreciate how lucky you are to have the option of making choices. Embrace how exciting it can to be to continue to Live, Love and Learn. Mostly, remember how wonderful it is always to help Spread the Joy of being alive!
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