Relocating for retirement

Relocating for Retirement

Relocating for Retirement

David Stone
Updated June 10, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    Relocating for retirement


    Finding Your Forever Home for Your Post-Employment Years

    Most people dream of the day that they will get to retire. They have been saving and planning for it for most of their lives, so when the time comes it can be both exciting and daunting to plan for this next step in their lives. If you have been planning for your retirement and are starting to consider where you want to live, what size house you want to buy, and lots of other considerations, it might be starting to feel pretty overwhelming.

    This is a normal reaction to such a big change in your life’s circumstances and there is no shame in wanting to make sure that all of the details are right before you move or buy a new home. You will have lots of free time and freedom to make decisions, so you should make sure to take your time before you commit to any of the plans that you might have considered.

    If you are ready for some tips and tricks for relocating for retirement, read on for more information.

    Relocating for Retirement

    Relocating for retirement doesn’t have to be stressful if you do some research and plan ahead for your move. You should never just head out to Florida or some other place that has been recommended to you without doing some research and possibly checking out some information about living in this new state or location.

    Going blind into retirement relocations is a major cause for frustration and other difficulties that are experienced by people each year who have entered retirement without making any plans. You can avoid this heartache by checking out these tips and tricks before relocation for your retirement.

    1. Visit the Places You Are Considering Moving to When You Retire

    This is one of the best things that you can do for yourself before you plan to relocate for your retirement. You might think that you like tropical beaches but find out that you hate them once you have moved to a place that is always sunny and sandy. Maybe you think that you want to be close to a place to do snow sports, but you realize after you have moved that you hate shoveling snow.

    The best rule of thumb before relocating for your retirement is to spend a week or two in each place that you are considering moving to. You should rent a house if possible and try to just live the way that you would live during your day-to-day life. It can seem like a place is the ideal fit for your retirement move but once you live there you might find that it is not what you had hoped for.

    This is particularly true if you move to a place that is not in the US. It can be hard to come back to the US and create a new arrangement for your retirement, so you should be very careful about trying out locations that are not within the US before you commit to a move.

    2. Consider The Size of Your New Retirement Home

    While it might be tempting to buy your dream home complete with lots of bedrooms and a man cave for your retirement home, you should consider this purchase with long-term goals in mind. Things can change a lot after you retire. You might lose your ability to navigate stairs, or maybe a huge yard and a lot of property are not something that you will want to care for when you are older.

    Avoid jumping at the chance to own a huge property if you are not sure that you will enjoy taking care of it as you grow older. There can also be a lot of unexpected expenses related to property, large houses, or things like pools and tennis courts. You should consider these costs in your overall budget to make sure that your home is not going to be uncomfortably expensive for you when you are no longer working.

    Many people find that it is most convenient to focus on a smaller home that is more affordable but that includes some of their must-haves. You can still buy a smaller home that includes a man cave or a pool. It may not be necessary to buy a huge home to get everything that you want when you retire.

    3. How Will You Relocate Your Car After Retirement

    moving for retirement

    This is an oft-overlooked part of the relocation process but it is an important consideration, particularly if you are moving overseas. No matter where you are relocating to, your car will need to be transported there securely and in a timely manner. This means that you will need to know how to pick the right auto transport company for your move.

    Always make sure that the company that you choose is able to produce their insurance policy information. You will also want to be certain that they include their policies about delivery and the time that it will take them to bring your car to you in your quote. A quality auto transport company will be able to tell you in detail about how they will transport your car, where they will meet you, and when they will drop it off.

    If you are moving overseas, you will need to look into auto transport companies that will fly or ship your car to you on a boat. These can be complex trips to plan, so don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions to make sure that you are confident about the company that you have picked for this important move.

    No matter who you have transporting your car, or how it is traveling, make sure that you are clear if you want your car to be hauled in an enclosed trailer and always ask questions about their ability to protect your car from damage as it is transported. Some companies are not able to haul your car inside of an enclosed trailer, or with a cover on it, and you may not find out until after your car has arrived.  

    4. Consider if You Are Going to Buy or Rent Your New Home for Retirement

    You can choose to move from your own home to a rental during retirement if you do not want to have to wait to get started in your retirement life. This can offer you the chance to sell your existing home on whatever timeline works best for you while you rent a home in your new location. Renting can continue to be your long-term plan if you don’t want the hassles of homeownership again or if you want to be able to travel or relocate frequently.

    If you do plan to buy a new home in your new location, plan ahead to make sure that you are prepared for the amount of time that it might take to sell your current home. Depending on the market, you might find that you have nowhere to live a few days after you put your home on the market, or you could end up waiting for weeks for it to sell.

    There are some creative ways to get credit from your existing home to buy a new home, and you can talk to a mortgage expert if you think that you want to try and buy your new retirement home before your current house sells.

    5. Part With Things You Don’t Need 

    This process can be a huge help if you start working on it well before you relocate. There is nothing worse than trying to get rid of things while you are also moving and packing! The sooner that you start getting rid of things that you don’t need, the easier it will be when you are ready to start packing boxes to move.

    Consider if you really need all of those arts and crafts supplies, or if you will want to have a big-screen TV in your new home. Depending on where you are moving to, you may not even be able to travel with furniture and other belongings. Being able to downsize well before you sell your home or start packing up your moving boxes can help make the process of your actual move much easier.

    Many people find that they actually feel better when they start getting rid of excess and unnecessary possessions. It can be really liberating to part with furniture, games, and clothes that you do not ever use anymore. This is where it can be helpful to set a rule regarding the frequency of use for your possessions. If you have not used the item in more than six months, part with it

    6. Think About How Remote You Want Your New Retirement Location to Be

    moving after retiring

    This is an area of consideration that is often neglected when people are planning retirement relocations. If you have always dreamed of living in Montana without a neighbor in sight, you might buy a home that is nearly off the grid. However, you may discover once you move in, that it can be really hard to go to the store in winter to get supplies and that your power goes out every time it snows!

    These kinds of logistical considerations are common pain points for people who don’t think ahead before they relocate for their retirement. No matter where you choose to move to when you retire, think about whether or not you are going to be comfortable on a truly remote property. If you feel like you can arrange the house and the property to meet your needs with ease, then it might be the right choice for you!

    The same considerations should be examined if you are thinking of moving to a crowded city or someplace like an RV park. You might really enjoy these busy locations when you visit them for vacation, but will you enjoy them if they are your daily reality?

    7. Look Into Home Prices and Cost of Living

    This is often a big factor for retirees who are planning to relocate. The cost of living in some of the most ideal places to live can be prohibitive, especially if you are going to be living on social security. There are some ways around these stumbling blocks, however.

    If you are interested in living near beaches or other locales that offer fun attractions and things to do, you often only need to look at homes that are in the surrounding areas to find properties that you can afford. You can also consider buying a condo or a much smaller home if you want to be right in the center of the action but cannot afford a larger house with some property.

    If the cost of living is your primary concern, you can look at locations that have smaller populations and therefore are more affordable overall. Places like Lincoln, Nebraska are very affordable and offer great benefits like good healthcare and access to fun things to do. You may not be living near a beach or a big city, but you will have everything that you need at a really great price.

    Cost of living can be the biggest pain point for people on a fixed income, but thinking outside the box about locations can make a huge difference in your financial picture during retirement.

    8. Consider Moving Abroad After Your Retire

    Relocating after retirement

    More and more retirees are moving overseas to live as ex-pats in retirement. This is because the cost of living outside of the US is very affordable. The other benefit is that many people want to live in a tropical location when they retire, but California and Hawaii are just too spendy.

    Places like Vietnam are increasingly popular with ex-pats because of the beauty of the cities and the beaches and the super-low cost of living. There are often large ex-pat communities in these locations, meaning that you will have help and support as you move in and find housing. Couple this with lots to do, great food and drink, and beautiful places to see, and you have a retirement that feels like a vacation every day!

    There are considerations that you need to attend to when you move overseas as far as citizenship, visas, and other concerns. You will need to do some research about the required documents and processes that you will need to have in order before you can relocate to places outside the US. Most of these requirements are easy to fulfill and you will only have to do upkeep on your documentation once a year or every two years in many locations.

    9. Consider Healthcare

    While no one wants to think about getting older, this is a reality that we all need to face. There are going to be challenges that you will face to do with your health as you age, and these challenges will be easier to handle if you are located in a city, town, or country that offers access to good healthcare.

    If you are on Medicare, you will need to look into the approved providers in your area before you move to a new city or state. Some places are harder than others to get connected with in-network doctors and you don’t have to pay for your doctor’s visits out of pocket if you can avoid it. Living in a location with access to specialists and a big enough hospital to handle an emergency condition is important as you get older.

    While it is not one of the most fun parts of planning your retirement relocation, this is an essential consideration that must be made before you move to a new place. If you are moving overseas, be sure to look into your healthcare options in each location that you are considering since your Medicare coverage will not work when you are outside the US.

    10. Take Your Time When Planning Your Post-Retirement Move

    Most of all, don’t be in a rush to make this move. You are retired and have all the time that you need to plan, research, and visit locations that you think you might want to live. Think through all of the considerations of each possible move carefully before committing to one. You should not feel pressured to make a big change without doing some research first.

    If you don’t want to be away from your family and friends, don’t feel pressured to move to someplace far away. There is no shame in staying in the home that you lived in when you were working if that is the best fit for your needs. If you want to go on an adventure and move to a new place, you should feel comfortable with this decision before you set out.

    If you are not sure where you want to end up, you can also travel for a few years and try out lots of places that you think might be the right location for your retirement home. Some people travel for the rest of their retirement, which can be a lot of fun if you have the financial ability to move around that much.

    There is no wrong way to plan your retirement. The only mistake that you can make is to skip the planning stage and head out to the first location that you think that you might want to live. Giving yourself time to plan and consider your relocation for retirement will make the process fun and will help you to be sure of your move when you finally decide which place is the right one for your retirement home.

    11. Consider Your Hobbies

    New home after retirement

    This is a thing that many retirees are surprised by in a bad way when they stop working. Some hobbies are pretty expensive and it can be tough to afford these hobbies when you are on a fixed income. You might need to do some creative planning with your annual budget to make these hobbies fit into your financial picture after you retire.

    If you find that you need to cut back on your spending too much to continue to do certain hobbies, look into ways to volunteer or work in and around the sport or hobby that you love. You might find new ways to enjoy your hobby without the added costs.

    12. Fend off Loneliness and Isolation After Your Retirement Move

    Sometimes retirement can be lonely. This is especially true if you move away from friends and family or choose to live in a remote location that does not have good access to phones or the internet. This can lead to depression and loneliness, particularly if you live alone.

    You can fend off these sad feelings by volunteering at local organizations or by joining programs like habitat for humanity or other social outreach programs. You could also join a church, a book club, or a whole variety of local group activities that will help you to make new friends and get to spend time out of the house.

    There is no need to let yourself feel isolated. Make sure that you are not alone all the time and find ways to do hobbies and other activities that you enjoy to keep you from sitting alone in the house all day. This can be one of the biggest challenges of retired life for many people, but it can be avoided through these simple steps.

    Relocating for Retirement Doesn’t Have to be Stressful

    new home after retiring

    Picking out the right place to retire doesn’t have to be hard work or a source of stress. You can find out a lot about the places that you are considering moving to by taking the time to visit them and see what life there is all about. Always budget and consider what you can afford and then decide how far away you want to be from your friends and family.

    By considering all of the ins and outs of a retirement relocation carefully, you will not run into any surprises or any difficulties that might make you sorry that you chose to move. Enjoying lots of freedom and free time can be a piece of cake if you pick the right retirement location for your unique needs and plans!

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