By Craig Erwin, Ph.D.
Would you marry someone you’ve never met? Some retirees move to places they’ve barely visited. Many then move a second time because they change their mind or find their dream home is not so dreamy. Go slow. Moving isn’t easy or cheap.
I started graduate school at the University of Arizona without ever having visited Tucson. I wouldn’t recommend doing that.
It’s not uncommon for retirees to sell the retirement home they planned to live in forever and move elsewhere. I know people who have retired, sold their home, bought a home where they planned to retire, and then decided to move back to where they started. Then they have to sell their new home and buying a different home in their old neighborhood. Now that’s expensive. And tiring.
Retirees may make a similar mistake to the one I made, deciding where to retire without spending much, if any, time there. If you only spend a day or two in your retirement destination before you decide to move there, it’s hard to know what it will be like to live there. The longer you can spend there, the better. Check it out thoroughly and spend some time there, exploring and gathering information. Don’t sell your house until you are sure you want to move. You can rent it out until you are certain selling it makes sense.
When you visit the place you plan to retire, practice retiring. You want to spend enough time there to feel like you live there. You can make your stay more realistic if you stay in an Airbnb or a Vrbo, not a hotel. Eat, shop, and explore so you can check out the area as thoroughly as possible. Interact with locals because they will have a lot to do with whether living there is wonderful or awful. Do the things you would do if you lived there.
Deciding where to retire is usually not an emergency, so you should have plenty of time to thoroughly research options, visit and compare destinations, and make a sound decision. It will be much cheaper and easier if you don’t change your mind after you’ve retired and moved. No one wants to start all over again. It’s too expensive.
Are you approaching retirement? If so, do you know where you want to live in retirement? How confident are you that you know what you want to do after you retire?
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