Choosing location; it may be harder than you think

thinking about relocating in retirement

Think you want to retire in a different location to your current home? Then it might be time to get out your crystal ball, or at least apply some ‘what if’ scenarios. Relocating in retirement can be a wonderful experience but it can also come with pitfalls. We certainly made a big mistake in choosing our initial retirement location.

Why do I say it might be harder than you think? Well, if you simply choose a place you enjoyed holidaying at, you might find it different to live there. Usually when we go on holiday we have a certain scenario in place which makes for an enjoyable time. We might want to lie by the pool and read all day then go out for cocktails and a delicious dinner. Alternatively, we might want to play golf every day for a week and enjoy a BBQ each night. A holiday is a wonderful restorative time after weeks and months of hard work. It is a time to ‘down tools’.

However, it is unlikely that your retirement can or will be one long holiday. Don’t get me wrong, one of the wonderful things about retirement is having management of your own time (although that too can have challenges – you can read about my experience here). Retirement is real life and you will not only find you have more time on your hands, you may also find that you wish to have different and more varied experiences than you would have on a 2-3 week holiday. I once read (unfortunately I can no longer find the source) about a client of a retirement coach. When the coach asked his client what he planned to do in retirement, the answer was “play golf”. The coach then suggested to his client that he take leave and play golf every day for a month. At the end of the month the client realised that there needed to be more to his retirement life than just golf, and so began the coaching process.

We need to plan for richness of experience in retirement. What are the things we want to do, who are the people we want and need to be with etc? Then choose your location based on those considerations, which apply whether you plan to relocate within your own country, or retire overseas. Another way to evaluate your possible retirement location is to consider whether or not you would be moving into an age friendly community.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What do I expect to be doing in retirement (full or semi-retirement)? Will the locations I am considering support those expectations, including part time work if you wish to continue employment?

Where are my friends and family located and how easily can I visit them and indeed how easy is it for them to visit me?

What support and health services are around for my later years – you may not need these now, but it is useful to project forward if your retirement location is to be your ‘always’ location.

What public transport options are there within that location and away from that location? What if for some reason you were no longer able to drive?

What communities of interest and hobbies will you want to be involved with – sporting, musical, other arts, crafts, church, etc.

Is there a gym, a heated pool, walking tracks, a beach, a water course for boating or kayaking? How will you get that essential exercise in a way that you enjoy?

Are there opportunities to learn something new, to keep your mental processes alert and healthy?

How will you manage your finances in that location? If you prefer to not do so online is there a bank, a government agency etc. that you will need to be able to access?

If you are planning to volunteer, will you find suitable opportunities to do so? Will your skills and talents be well used and valued?

To begin the process of choosing your location you might like to answer some of these questions and also to refer to the Wheel of Life.

Already chosen your new retirement location but daunted by the thought of moving house?

Have you chosen your retirement location yet? How is it working out for you? Is the best scenario for you to remain where you are? What will be the key factors for you in choosing your location? Tell us your thoughts.

Older and Wiser