The real estate market is holding strong with double-digit annual growth and extremely low interest rates. It has many questioning whether they should cash in. For those who are retired, it may seem like the perfect time to make a move. Many retirees are still very attached to one traditional retirement goal: selling the family house and moving to a beachfront condo, a golf and tennis community, or another dream retirement destination.
Before you start scouting for a new place to call home, you and your spouse should discuss these four important questions:
How will we fill our social circle?
The people who live in or near your home can be every bit as important as the home itself. A big, beautiful yard or a waterfront deck are so much more enjoyable when you have loved ones nearby to share them.
If you’re moving closer to friends and family, be realistic about how much time you’ll be able to spend with them. As much as they love you, they may be working, going to school, playing sports, pursuing their own interests, and raising their own families.
If you’re moving further away, think about all the little ways that your loved ones and neighbors are part of your daily routine right now. Who will you grab a cup of coffee with? Who’s going to come over to watch the big game? As you and your spouse age, whom will you call when you need help with yard work or can’t drive to your doctor anymore?
What does the new area have to offer?
Perhaps you’re planning to build a new social circle around your favorite activities. Weekend golfers who want to spend more time on the course in retirement should investigate leagues and clubs they can join. What are the shops and restaurants like? Are there parks where you can keep taking your morning walks? Will you be near museums or theatres you might want to support? Are the local amenities going to keep you and your spouse active and engaged, both separately and together?
What are the costs of moving and living?
Many retirees overlook some of the smaller but no-less-significant costs that come with a major move. Whether you’re buying or renting a home, it’s likely that your current budget will need to adjust to local sales taxes, utility prices, and other costs of living differences. Depending on your health care needs, you might need to change your Medicare coverage. If you move to a new state, the amount of taxes you pay on your retirement income could be different. How much will it cost you to ship your current belongings to your new home and buy whatever new furnishings you’ll need? Are gas prices or public transportation costs going to affect how you get around?
Would traveling be a better option than moving from your home?
Building a new life in a new place can be an adventure that makes retirement feel fresh and fulfilling. But relocating also costs time, effort, and money — three things that you could spend on traveling instead.
If your current home is in good shape, close to loved ones, and part of a community that you enjoy, your retirement routine might just need a little more variety and an occasional change of scenery. Talk to your spouse about creating a travel schedule that mixes big bucket list vacations with fun weekend trips and visits to family and friends. You might find that by being a little more thoughtful about your schedule and resources, you can change your life in retirement without giving up the familiar comforts of home.