Posted on Wednesday, 16th May 2012 by

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My wife and I recently moved for the tenth time since we married in 1969; Seven years after I retired at age 55! We are both in our early 60s and a move at any age is STRESSFUL. We’ve been looking for many years now and found a home that covered most on our must-have list and it was in an area close to family and friends.

Many retirees consider relocating to less costly and more senior friendly locations and others choose to downsize or purchase their dream home. We purchased our new home because much of our time is centered in and around our home and for me that includes work, home projects, landscaping, and hobbies.

In our travels I talk to many retirees.  Most relocated from high cost Northern cities and we talk about the dramatic savings and life style changes they have experienced since relocating. A couple in their early 70s related how moving to North Carolina in 2005 decreased their real estate taxes from $14,000 to $1,500 a year plus they sold their property up north for a considerable profit before the real estate bubble burst a few years back.  Others including those in Arizona and Florida were not so lucky and got caught buying high priced homes that dropped as much as 50% in value since the crash in 2008.

Even the ones who bought high, for the most part, are enjoying the lower cost of southern living, warmer weather, and pursuing their hobbies; everything from golf and boating to you name it.  The property value drop was not a major issue for most who got caught in the free fall because they intend to stay put and enjoy their retirement.  Why worry about what you don’t have the power to change?

A wise retiree advised me some time ago that there is rarely, IF EVER, a truly ideal situation and we have to be willing to compromise and take risks if we desire to move on and enjoy this life.  You most likely won’t find the ideal location, property or situation however many do find peace of mind, lower costs and enjoyable lifestyle changes.

If you’re contemplating relocating in retirement there are many things to consider. Do you want to downsize or right size in your area, simply buy a vacation property — the prices are really good right now — or are you up for a total change of venue by moving out of the area all together?

A vacation home is probably the least stressful path to take because you aren’t packing up your home and moving out. Many enjoy the search, decorating their new vacation property, and of course the freedom it affords a couple when you want to get away from it all plus you are staying in a place reserved for you and your family. There are many opportunities to buy reasonably priced vacation property right now and it is still a buyer’s market with prices off as much as 50 percent or more in some areas.

Are you physically able to cope with the physical and emotional distress associated with a move? That is a hard question to answer because you don’t know how you will feel once you start the journey.  Typically, when you purchase a vacation home stress isn’t a big issue,  most looked forward to the search and furnishing their new home away from home.

That wasn’t the case with our most recent move where we relocated to another home in our area. There was tons of planning to do including 5 spreadsheets worth of checklists, contractor contacts, and many vendors to deal with along the way.  It isn’t necessarily the move that gets you; it’s the minutia along the way.  I tend to question everything and when you are dealing with property you have inspections to review and consider, additional costs to weigh, and of course compromise because as I mentioned above there is never an ideal home, vacation, or anything for that matter. There is one exception to this rule in my case. My wife of 43 years has always been my ideal partner, soul mate, and best friend; a rare find by any standard.

If you’re considering a move in the future start planning early. A little advance work can make all of the difference in the world. Here is a short checklist of things you can do to reduce the stress of your pending move:

  • Start your search early.
  • Define what you are looking for: a get-a-way, a new home in your area, or an escape to an exotic location.
  • Visit the areas you are considering first to see if it is a good fit for you and yours.
  • Purge your existing home of unnecessary stuff. You will be surprised at how much junk you can sell at flea markets and garage sales even if you aren’t planning a major move.  This action alone will help you mentally by getting rid of the clutter in your life and your move will go much easier if you decide to go that route.
  • Research your options online and if you know of someone in the area you are looking at          call them up to find out more about the area.
  • Put away savings for the move and identify what funds you will need. Budget for it and keep to your budget.
  • Weigh your options and prepare for the move mentally and physically.
  • Don’t rush things – let life take its course and go with the flow. Otherwise you will end up a mental and physical wreck.

Now, that being said, our latest move was and still is stressful. That’s life; you deal with it and move on.  Most things heal with time and we have only been in our new home for a week and things are starting to get back to normal. This is my first article in a month and I’m enjoying getting back to my writing routine and activities in our new home.

If you are considering a move preparation and planning are the keys to success. Just be aware that no matter how much you plan and prepare there will be problems to deal with along the way.  Isn’t that life in a nutshell?

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Last 5 posts by Dennis Damp


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