Have you decided where you want to live once you decide to retire?
Have you already purchased your home? Or are you planning to buy a home as you come close to retirement? Or are you one of those individuals who does not believe in home ownership but prefers to rent instead since you look at the rental yield of your property? I spoke to dozens of people and I did not get any clear trend of what people were thinking when it came to where they wished to live post retirement.
This is a very personal decision and I have spoken to several couples who have deliberated on this between themselves and with their children. I have seen so many people struggling to take this decision. During discussions with such couples I also found this discussion to be a very contentious issue. Several men wanted to return to their roots, to the place where their parents were or where they were born or the state that the belonged to because of the support network provided by their expanded family.
The women wanted to stay in a place where they had stayed the longest because this was where they had friends. Do you have a group of friends who are in the same age as you? Who have just retired or about to retire? If not then you will be imposing on the busy lives of your friends who are still working and before you know it, you are likely to be snubbed.
Some couples choose to move to the same location as their children and are soon disappointed because their children do not have the same amount of time for their parents as they would have liked to or the parents want them to. Most parents forget the amount of time they gave to their parents and have unreasonable expectations from their children.
Remember that in your current sensitive state of post-retirement mindset, you need to be with like-minded people who will understand you and not judge you by what you are and what you have.
When you think about retirement, do you imagine living by the seaside on a beach, a mountain, settling down in a resort or going to a place of worship? Many people decide to move when they retire. But choosing where to live means more than deciding whether you prefer beaches or mountains. In fact, many people make their biggest retirement mistake when deciding where to live.
Once you have decided where to live and if it is not in the city where you last lived, make a trial run. If possible, rent a home in that location for six months to a year. If a week at a time in your proposed destination is all you can manage, visit at different times during the year. The longer you visit, the more accurately you’ll be able to assess whether you’ll be happy year-round with your retirement choice.
You will be investing a reasonable sum of money for your home and you want to be sure that you take the correct decision.
Moving to a vacation destination
Living year round in your dream vacation spot may be your fantasy but it may not turn out to be an extension of your holidays. When you are on two-week vacation, you will only see all the positives that you want to see and may not notice the downsides of the location. Is the off-season weather tolerable?
If you are a “big city” couple, can you handle the off-peak season in your holiday destination where all that you will have is a few of the local residents for company? Several friends we know have decided to settle down in Goa while some are looking at Manali and Coorg. Some more adventurous friends are considering homes in Italy, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia and even Macau. Maintaining two or more homes is always a challenge.
The question to ask yourself while taking this decision is whether there are sufficient conveniences, services and activities available in the off-season months? And can you tolerate the months when tourists take over your city?
With the construction of condominium complexes in several cities, more and more people are finding community living easier and without the hassles of day to day life in independent homes. The common facilities like utilities and security are taken care of and there is a large community of neighbours who could form a “pool” of potential friends.
Even if it is just you and your spouse, consider moving to an apartment that has at least three bedrooms. You will want space for visiting children, grandchildren and friends, and you may need extra closet space, a workroom, or even an office should you want to continue working for extra income.
Settling down in the city where your friends are
The common thread that seems to influence the choice of location is friends. Most couples had decided to settle down where their friends were. These were people with whom they wanted to spend the remaining three odd decades of their lives.
But although having a network of friends can be important to your happiness in your new locale, don’t ignore factors such as employment and cost of living in case you do decide to follow your friends. I have met a few couples from Bangalore who decided to settle down in Delhi because of their friends but as they grew older, the urge to be back with their family was greater than their need to be with friends. I also met a couple who had moved to Delhi to be with parents but when the parents passed away, they had no other bonds left in the city and were completely out of place since their friends were in Chennai.
Make sure you know your own needs and priorities. If you are deciding to move to a location where your friends have moved understand why they took the decision to move to that location before taking your own.
You may be surprised that their reasons may be very different from yours and that they may not be available to you as often as you would like them to.
While “Old age homes” or “assisted living communities” are common in the west and people actively seek out a community they wish to live in, such options are only now beginning to be seen in India.
For most of us, we cannot fathom the possibility of sending our parents to an old age home because of the social stigma attached to this in India. Therefore, when we think of making our plans post retirement, this does not figure easily in our plans.
However, given the new reality of difficulties in getting domestic help and the fact that most of our children are busy with their own lives either in another city or another country, buying into a retirement community in the city where we have chosen to live in may not be a bad idea.
The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers.
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