The big question after you retire: should I stay or should I go?

At a certain stage of our lives, many of us will start to consider where we want to be when we retire, and ask ourselves the question: “Should I stay at home or move elsewhere?” And if the answer is “yes” to a move, where do you go?

It’s a common move for retirees to relocate somewhere calmer, warmer or to the coast for their retirement chapter.

In the UK, more than six million adults plan to retire abroad, with Spain and France being top destinations, according to research from MGM Advantage, a retirement income specialist.

In the US, three out of five Americans hope to spend their retirement in another city or state, according to a survey from Bankrate. But they often discover a few things they didn’t anticipate before they make the big move.

“It’s about far more than just a roof over your head,” advises Garry Reed, Managing Director of Evergreen Lifestyle Villages. “The best decision will be made when you weigh up all the factors that enable you to have both a comfortable and enjoyable retirement.”

How will your decision affect your financial plan?

If you live in a large house, you need to think about whether you’ll be able to afford the upkeep once you’re no longer working. Also whether you even want to continue to look after a large place, especially once your children have left.

Or you could sell up, scale down and put your money to better use for yourself.

Other than investing in a sectional title development, the life right model option is fast gaining popularity, no wonder – given both the ever-increasing cost of living and how much longer people are living. One of the many aspects that make the life right model so appealing to so many is the fact that all home maintenance and upgrading costs are the responsibility of the developer, who retains ownership of a life right complex, thereby obviating the need for any special levies.

And while a life right will not increase in capital value the way a sectional title property would, it guarantees the purchaser and spouse/partner a home for life as well the possibility to scale down even further at a later stage.

How to spend your days?

Do you fear retirement as days stretched ahead with nothing to do? Think instead about the hobbies you want to pursue – can you continue with them in your current home? Do you imagine being in a place where you may be able to offer your skills on a part-time or volunteer basis to a community? Perhaps you see yourself within walking distance of amenities such as coffee shops, bookstores or libraries. Are you able to do this from where you currently live?

Many lifestyle retirement villages offer daily activities that could enable you to take up hobbies you never thought of attempting. This is the type of research you need to do – facilities and sense of community spirit are key to overall well being.

Location… location, location

Many retirees either stay where they are if they’re in close proximity to their families (especially their grandchildren) or pack up to move even closer. But things can change quickly. Families often relocate to another city or even another country because of more preferable opportunities or a job transfer. Rather select a location that works best for you – families can always come to visit.

Spend time in your chosen destination

If you do decide to pack up your home and move on, make sure your new location is what you expect it to be. Many retirees invest in what they believe will be their dream destination – only to find that it doesn’t suit their intended lifestyle after all.

For example, if you’re thinking of retiring on a golf estate, first try your hand at golf before you relocate. Dreaming of a place along the coast? First find out how hot the summers get and what the humidity may be like.

Heading for a country estate far away from the bright city lights, somewhere in a small town? How far is it from the amenities you wish to access and is it easy to reach these, particularly as you get older?

Your lifestyle can change quite dramatically before you move, so perhaps plan an extended holiday in the area to find out if it actually suits you, before committing pen to paper.

Moving home is reportedly one of the most stressful experiences in our lives. Doing your homework and considering your options, ahead of when you actually need to make the call, will not only save you money, it will alleviate the pressure we all feel when faced with change.