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Retirement Relocation: Is It a Good Move?

Many people approaching retirement often give serious thought to relocating to another state or region of the country. Unencumbered by employment and children’s educational needs, they find themselves free to live wherever they choose, maybe even for the first time in their lives.

Dick and Cheryl San Miguel are two such retirees who moved to Paradise Valley Estates from Mesquite, Nevada. The San Miguels were attracted to more than the Northern California climate. “We liked the proximity to most amenities, the superior healthcare, the proximity to ‘big’ cities yet being next to farms and country, the relative nearness to some of our family, and, of course, Paradise Valley Estates itself and all it offers,” says Dick.

There were also important considerations the couple weighed before making the more than 650-mile move. “We had to consider that we would now have state taxes, and we had to consider the effects on our family trust,” says Dick.

The San Miguels understood that there was much more at play than simply selling their previous home and buying a new one. They carefully weighed the advantages and drawbacks of the state-to-state move so they could have a more successful move and a much more enjoyable retirement.

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Here are some pros and cons to consider if your retirement could be a stepping-stone to a long-distance move:

Advantages
Moving is an opportunity to find a new home that’s more suitable for your life now than your long-time family home or the city walk-up you lived in for your working life. You can find a home that’s close to stores and services, and in a style that doesn’t present problems or risks as you age. Easy mobility and safe surroundings can also help you live independently longer.

If you own a family house in a city, it’s likely that relocating to a smaller house somewhere quieter could lead to a significant influx of money. Your income in retirement is likely to diminish sharply, so the proceeds of house sale could help feather your nest comfortably for many years.

Last, there’s the pure pleasure of having the choice to move, and the ability to move to a place where you’ve always dreamed of living. Everyone’s dream home is different, but common choices are master-planned communities such as continuing care retirement communities, and those located near desirable locations like the ocean or waterways, quiet countryside settings, or small towns.

Disadvantages
One potential downside of a long-distance move is isolation. Most people build up a network of work, home, community and family contacts over the years. Moving away from that network can mean having to create a brand new network in a new location. The stress of leaving colleagues and neighbors along with other significant changes such as retirement and moving can present a big challenge.

The neighborhood you move to may not be particularly welcoming to newcomers, especially those perceived as “big-city” retirees who inflate local property prices. Think about the community of people you are joining, along with the community’s location. It might be easier to feel at home in a small friendly town or a senior-focused development.

When vacationing families leave coastal regions for the season, it can be quieter existence than you imagine possible. While you might have sought peace and quiet, the solitude and slow pace of a resort town off-season can be difficult to weather.

What’s the verdict?
Retirement is a time of change. You’ll be required to alter your habits and find new ways to fill your days no matter where you live. Making a long-distance move can mean building a new life within a new life. For some, like the San Miguels, such change is beneficial. But, if you can’t see yourself getting out in a new place, enrolling in classes, joining groups, or making a new group of friends, you may have a more enjoyable retirement in the familiarity of your current hometown.

The move to California and to Paradise Valley Estates has enhanced the San Miguels’ lives in many ways. “We love the people of Paradise Valley Estates,” says Dick. “And also the weather, the greater number of conveniences and amenities, and the local produce.” They were also unfazed by the distance of their move. “Once your things are packed up and on the truck, moving 2000 miles is the same as 20 miles — it just takes a little longer,” says Dick.

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