Moving Considerations For Couples In Retirement
Retirement provides an opportunity to move to your favorite vacation spot, closer to your grandchildren, or even somewhere you've never been. Some retirees move to downsize because of the expense and energy required to maintain a large home, while others must move due to the cost of living and taxes. But it's not easy to pack up and go, especially when you've spent decades in the same home. Couples often disagree, one might want to stay while the other wants to go, or there may be conflict about the destination. To facilitate the retirement destination conversation, try the following exercise to see if moving in retirement is right for you.
Can you afford to stay?
The first question to answer is your budget. Running your retirement financial projections will determine whether or not it makes sense from a numbers perspective to stay in your current home or move. Of course, you may still decide to stay locally in a smaller house but projecting your expenses and accounting for inflation is key to determining whether or not you can afford to stay.
Do you want to stay?
Moving out of state means making new friends, finding new fraternal and religious organizations to join, identifying, and building trust with new service providers like doctors, dentists, and hairstylists. Just thinking about letting go of relationships built over time is hard. If the emotional weight of leaving all these people behind is heartbreaking to even think about, moving might not be for you.
Do your kids want you to stay?
If your adult children have not yet moved out or recently moved back home, you are not alone. According to a 2020 survey, 52% of 18- to 29-year-olds live with their parents. Do not let the parental guilt of kicking out your children prevent you from making the decision that's best for you. Selling your children's childhood home is one strategy older Americans can use to help their children launch into adulthood.
Goals, Dreams, and Fears
Now that you know if you can financially and emotionally afford to move, it's time to create a wish list. What are your goals for retirement? If you plan on working part-time, you may want to consider job opportunities when choosing a new community. How much time do you want to see your family? Do you want your kids to visit you, or do you want to go to them? You may plan to travel often or not at all.
Write down your list of features you desire in your new community. A few examples might be low taxes, close to the beach, or nearby museums and theaters. The house wish list will come later. Getting in sync with your spouse may not be easy, but what you want is some commonalities. Do you want neighbors or to live in the woods with no one around for miles? Summer all year, or four seasons? If you listed seeing the kids every week as a high priority on your hopes list, then your new home needs to include them. Once you have your list, rank your preferences. Then, compare those with your spouse.
Now list the things about you that make you feel afraid. Whether your fear is alligators and bugs in Florida, that your children will never visit, your spouse will hurt his back shoveling snow in the winter, or something else, write it down. It's likely that your fears are valid but may have an easy solution. By sharing them with your partner, he or she can recognize your hesitation about moving to one destination over another.
Cost Of Living
To compare your current city to potential new destinations, check out the cost-of-living calculator at mymove.com. This site provides an average grade based on the cost of six criteria, groceries, healthcare, housing, lifestyle, transportation, and utilities. You easily compare your location to others around the country. MyMove.com also lists the top ten cities ranked by either fastest growing (Washington, D.C.), and cheapest (Brownsville, TX).
If you want to consider a move to Indiana, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development maintains the another cost-of-living calculator specifically for moves to Indiana. For example, if you want to compare the cost of living between Stamford, CT, and Bloomington, IN, put in a dollar amount (your expected retirement income), then choose the "from" metro as Stamford, CT, and select Bloomington, IN as the "to" region. Next, click "calculate" to view the cost comparisons, and you'll see your after-tax income in Stamford, CT has 35% more purchasing power in Bloomington, IN.
Need Help Deciding?
If you need help planning retirement expenses and deciding on a major move, our team of financial advisors at the Hurlow Wealth Management Group can model relocation scenarios as part of your overall financial plan. For nearly three decades, we have helped clients find clarity, feel confident, and achieve comfort in making major financial decisions like moving. Schedule a FREE consultation today.