As a Wealth Manager, one of the questions I ask my clients is “Are you considering moving when you retire?” If you are thinking about moving or downsizing when you retire, there are a few basic things that you may want to consider:
- Do you want to move to be closer to family? This is a classic reason why clients think about moving. Recently, a client told me he is considering moving to Maine and/or Arizona in 2022 when he retires. Why? Because one daughter lives in Maine and the other daughter lives in Arizona. Remember that moving to be closer to family doesn’t guarantee that you will see them more often or that they will be there to help. In many cases, they have their own lives and their own famvilies, and the assumption that they will be there to be there as you age is not a promise.
- What about public transportation, or is it a walking community? As we age, driving may no longer be a good option. Do you want to be in a place that has good, accessible public transportation, or one where walking is an option? Having to drive 10 minutes to get milk may be all well and good when you are 68, but perhaps not the best option when you are 85. A friend who retired about eight years ago refuses to consider leaving Washington, D.C. because he knows that when reaches the age when he should no longer drive, getting around town will be very easy (Metro, buses, or walking).
- Do you want to move to be closer to good, high-quality medical care? For many people, this is a big consideration. Being nearby to at least one good, high quality hospital is a necessity. If there is no hospital nearby, you may not want to consider it. You want to know that if you need care, you don’t have to drive (or be driven) 50 miles to find it.
- Does the place that you are moving to offer the activities that you enjoy? Moving to Maine to be near your child may sound great, but if you are a theater lover and the nearest theater is 45 minutes away, that might not be a good fit. People have heard me say many times that I won’t retire to Rehoboth where I’ve had a second home for more than 20 years because they don’t have any of the cultural activities that I enjoy. Not a good fit; I love being there, but I couldn’t live there.
- What type of property do you want to move to? As you downsize, does that mean going from a single family home to a townhouse, in a community where they mow the lawn, plow the snow, and take care of the maintenance? Does it mean staying in a single family home but moving to one that is all on one floor? Does this mean moving to a condo? Does this mean moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) where you can start in independent living but know that if you need more care, you can move to another wing/building in the same community? There are many options to consider when thinking about what type of retirement residence is best.
No matter what your answers are to the questions above, here’s an important final point: The last thing you need to consider is time. In other words, give yourself time to think about your options. Don’t rush into making a decision. Planning now helps because you don’t want to wait until you have to make a decision. It’s much better to make these choices while we are healthy, active, and able.