7 Common Mistakes People Make About Where To Live In Retirement

The choice of where to live in retirement is important. So is getting it right the first time because it can be costly to sell up and move again if you make the wrong decision. What are 7 Common Mistakes People Make About Where To Live In Retirement?

Here are seven mistakes people make when choosing where to retire—mistakes you can avoid with some thought and homework.

1. Moving to your holiday place

When we’re on holiday we’re usually in a relaxed state, and often the location is picturesque. Being away from the grind, noise and daily routine allows us to see the beauty in our holiday spot. It also gives us a chance to look at the local real estate agents’ windows and dream of it as a retirement spot.

Beware of the ‘holiday seduction.’  It’s important to ensure that you visit many times and ask a lot of questions about the area before moving to your favourite holiday destination. Also, just because you’ve been on numerous holidays in the area does not necessarily mean you ‘know’ the area.  It can be a very different place in the ‘off’ season.

Sandy path to beach with azure ocean in background, The choice of where to live in retirement is important. So is getting it right the first time because it can be costly to sell up and move again if you make the wrong decision.
Photo: Chris Galbraith

2. Moving too far away

The allure of warmer weather is often the reason ‘southerners’ move north in retirement. ‘I never want another (insert the location) winter like that again’, is frequently the comment from people who want to move north.

Moving too far away can be emotionally and financially costly. If it doesn’t work out, the cost of moving, legal and real estate fees as well as the packing and unpacking can be draining. People who move again in retirement are sometimes referred to as ‘Half Backs’, particularly when they move ‘half way back’ to their previous location.

3. Not having a Plan B (or C)

If you do decide to move when you retire, do you have a ‘Plan B’ or even a ‘Plan C’?  It’s strange that there is usually a lot of planning for a big trip, with some contingency plans, but there isn’t always the same amount of care given in planning to move away from a location where people may have spent many years.

mountain view of other mountains, with blue sky and clouds, The choice of where to live in retirement is important. So is getting it right the first time because it can be costly to sell up and move again if you make the wrong decision.
Photo: Trent Roberts

4. Not visiting in all seasons

‘Beautiful one day, perfect the next’ has been a slogan in one state of Australia for many years and this is often what is experienced by tourists on holiday. Visiting a location in all seasons, and not just the ‘perfect’ ones is advisable. What is it like to live in ‘cyclone season,’ in ‘frostbite season’? 

A council on the Sunshine Coast gives out information regarding keeping safe during a cyclone. Similarly a council in Tasmania includes warnings about snakes in the area, while there are warnings about mosquitos in river and lake areas of Victoria. The area you are considering may do something like this as well.

5. Assuming living will be cheaper

Downsizing and moving to another area may release some funds for retirement and the cost of living in a new area may seem less expensive, but is it really? Live near a tourist location and you may find that prices increase when tourists are in town. 

Work out how the cost of food, fuel, transport, rates, heating/cooling compare with your current location.

6. Moving to family

We often hear of people saying they intend to move to where their family have moved. Perhaps the family needs some help or perhaps you need help. Before moving, consider what would happen if the family moved again, would you also move with them?

The mobility of the workforce today often means there are several moves in careers and this can be to different parts of the country—and, indeed, the world.

Back view of family  of five walking through field with long grass. Father piggybacking small child, The choice of where to live in retirement is important. So is getting it right the first time because it can be costly to sell up and move again if you make the wrong decision.
Photo: Irina Murza

7. Not speaking with the locals

I’m often surprised to hear that people haven’t gone and spoken with locals before moving, to ask what they like or are not so keen about an area. Where do you find such people?  Service clubs such as Lions and Rotary may be of help, as are bowling and golf clubs. 

If you want a different opinion, ask the editor of the local newspaper (they’ll know the issues) or the Tourist Information Centre (which is often staffed by volunteers who have retired to that location).

For a chat about the security of an area, the police or Neighbourhood Watch are usually happy to oblige.

These common mistakes are a warning that it’s worth taking the effort to make sure you’re making the right decision if you plan to shift for your retirement.

7 Common Mistakes People Make About Where To Live In Retirement!

Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways To Retire and co-author of Where To Retire In Australia and Retire Bizzi. She is a regular contributor to ABC radio

First published in RetireNotes

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