According to a study by Merrill Lynch, a significant shift occurs about age 61... when where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like.
I work with a lot of people approaching retirement, and their decisions on where to live are as varied as the people themselves. Sometimes having the freedom to live wherever you want makes the decision even more difficult, but don't let that paralyze you from considering your options and making a conscious decision.
STAY WHERE YOU ARE
For some people, staying where you are makes a lot of sense. You like where you are living, you have a strong social network, your family is nearby, it makes financial sense. If you decide to stay where you are, consider whether you should make some modifications to allow you to age in place... if so, now is a good time to do it... so it is already in place when you really need it.
MOVE TO A DIFFERENT HOME IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Maybe you choose to stay in your community but move to a home with a different arrangement of space... not necessarily downsizing, but right-sizing to match the way you live.
- from your 2-story house to a one-level house...
- from your house with a big yard to a townhouse where yard work and snow removal is done for you...
- from your house in the suburbs to a more urban setting where you can walk or take public transportation and don't need to depend on your car as much...
- from your house on a small lot with lots of small rooms to a home with more gathering space inside and out for family to come together for holidays, vacations, reunions and extended visits....
MOVE TO YOUR DREAM LOCATION... at the lake, someplace warm... or both!
For people living in the Minnesota Land of Lakes moving to a lake home for the summer and to a home in a warm destination for the winter is a solution many embrace. We have a neighbor who actually has 3 homes... in Arizona, at the lake, and a townhouse in the metro which is a great 'landing spot' that feels like home and is easy for family from Chicago to visit.
MOVE CLOSER TO FAMILY
The top motivating factor for making a move in retirement is to be closer to family, especially grandchildren. I find myself working often with people moving both into and out of the metro area for this very reason.
Living close to family can be a wonderful thing... but if you move closer to them it can be important not to overwhelm your family by expecting too much from them... and they too much from you. Plan to also build a social network of your own... don't expect your family to be your sole universe. Before moving close to family after living for years apart ask lots of questions and make sure you are moving for the right reasons.
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
Don't feel locked into your decision and feel you have failed if you change your mind. Give yourself permission to make changes before you even get started. Maybe you decide later that all your friends and family are gone and you no longer want to stay in your home. Maybe you find that moving to your dream location isn't all you hoped it would be... or that you want to move back to see more of your grandkids... or you want to move closer to help your parents... or....
The old saying that life happens when you are busy making plans is only too true. This is your life you are living, and when you cross the freedom threshold you have the right and obligation to be true to yourself... which means you can change your mind... more than once.
TWO-THIRDS OF RETIREES SAY THEY ARE LIKELY TO MOVE AT LEAST ONCE DURING RETIREMENT.
Savor your first housing decision... but give yourself permission to move again when that time is right. The top reason for moving, and the one which we personally also find the most common reason for Baby Boomers making a move is wanting to be closer to family... followed by wanting to reduce home expenses.
Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results - Baby Boomer Realtor