Front photo: Max Ravier

What Should You Look For When Considering a Retirement Sea Change?

Location, Location, Location.…plus:

Proximity to Services: Be careful you are not too solitary. It is important to have access to food, medicine, and other necessities.

Retirement Sea Change

Climate: Take into account how your choices and the climate fit together. Even though they may get warmer winters, coastal regions can nevertheless experience extreme weather.

Local Amenities: Investigate what the area offers in terms of recreational activities, shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.

Housing Market: Investigate the neighbourhood real estate market. Your choice should take into account costs, availability, and the type of housing available. Also, have a look to see how many properties are holiday homes (ie: may not be used as often). Holiday makers may not have the inclination or time to develop relationships with full time residents.

High above looking at surfers surfing an catching waves, green sea, a favourite retirement activity
Photo: Nathan Cowley

Property Size: Consider whether the available homes, match your needs now and in the future.

$$$$ Determine the cost of living, including groceries, utilities, and transportation, in the area where you want to make a sea change.

Employment Possibilities: Identify your financial needs and whether you will need to look for employment in your new location. Some people carry on working remotely or part-time.

Volunteering is a great way of meeting people. It’s a good way of giving back and can be a fulfilling and meaningful activity.  Discover the types of volunteering opportunities available. A visit to the local Visitor Information Centre or community centre can help.

Retirement Sea Change…there’s more to consider

Lifestyle Considerations: Community: Gauge the sense of community. Will you be able to form connections with neighbours and engage in local activities? Will you be welcomed?

Recreation: Identify what recreational activities are available, such as hiking, water sports, or cultural events.

Healthcare: Ensure there are adequate healthcare facilities and services nearby, especially if you have specific medical needs.

Environmental Factors: Environmental Hazards: Consider the region’s susceptibility to natural disasters like cyclones, floods, or bushfires.

Local Wildlife: Research local wildlife and potential encounters.

Heart shaped coral island in bright blue sea, surrounded by more coral, a place to visit favoured by those in retirement
Photo: Vincent Rivaud

At one Council Office we visited, on a Where To Retire In Australia research trip, there was a ‘Cyclone Warning’ pamphlet included in their kit for new residents.

Further south there was a pamphlet mentioning and warning about various ‘locals’ who were not at all friendly – and they didn’t mean of the human kind.

Facilities and Services: Transportation: Evaluate the available options, including public transport and the state of the roads.
Internet and connectivity: Verify your availability of dependable internet access, particularly if you intend to work from home.

Future Planning: Resale Value: Think about the resale value of your property. Sea change destinations can fluctuate in popularity.
Long-Term Sustainability: Consider whether the location will continue to meet your needs as you age. Access to healthcare and services becomes even more critical in retirement.

Bathing boxes brightly coloured facing a light blue sea with a town in the distance, a place favoured by those in retirement.
Photo: Dos

Future: Consider your property’s resale worth when making decisions. A ‘hot spot’ today may be very different in years ahead. On the other hand a quiet hamlet may become very busy.

Medical: Will your seachange spot cater for your health needs as time goes on?

Visit your intended area many times. Can you spend a lot of time there before deciding to settle there permanently? This maty enable you to get a feel for daily living there, get a sense of the seasons, and decide if the area is a good fit for your lifestyle.

Making a sea change can be a transformational and rewarding decision, but it is essential to carefully consider all options before making the leap. Your ideal sea change location should be in line with your beliefs, stylistic preferences, and long-term objectives to make sure the change you seek turns into a successful and fulfilling chapter in your life.

Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways To Retire and co-author of several editions of Where To Retire In Australia and Retire Bizzi. She is a regular contributor to radio, and has contributed with Owen to a chapter in ‘Where To Retire In The World’

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