Updated: Nov 14, 2018
You aren’t quite ready to retire, but you finally got that last kid out of the house. Suddenly, when you come home on a bright, beautiful spring day, the last thing you want to do is mow that lawn.Then, right in the middle of mowing the lawn, the mower breaks.
Cue your breaking point.This midpoint in many pre-retirees’ lives is when they can’t completely jump ship but are ready to re-evaluate their housing needs and desires. With jobs keeping them around, they re-evaluate surrounding areas or simply different housing styles that can better meet their needs at this stage in life.
You can consider tons of lists & options....
But here’s what we think is important:
1. Reduce Aggravation.
Without thinking too hard , grab a piece of paper and list what aggravates you about your current situation. Take the list and number them in order of annoyance levels, with 1 being the most annoying thing about your house, neighborhood, community, or location. Number 1 should be your jumping-off point.
Is your number 1 the amount of work your house needs? This is common. “Retirement-vibe” and “55+” communities may sound silly, but modern living solutions probably aren’t what you think. Many revolve around the concept of eliminating hassles and enhancing lifestyles. Take a look at our list of housing options for pre-retirees.
2. Don’t forget where you currently live.
You did choose where you live now—don’t forget that. Sometimes when thinking about how you could “make things better,” you take your current situation for granted.
Make sure you note what you enjoy about your current house. Add these things to the list—don’t worry if they are opposing forces. It’s okay if you love gardening but get sick of all the maintenance. That’s where prioritizing comes in.
3. Enhance your desired lifestyle.
You are in a different stage in your life, and it’s time to explore your vision of the future. What do you enjoy and want to add more of? Maybe you want to be more social or closer to nature. Maybe you don’t want to drive so far to golf or to the airport because you’d love to travel.
This is important. For example, if you love hosting large dinner parties and family events, maybe instead of downsizing, you resize.
4. Be realistic.
When you explore how you’d “enhance” your lifestyle, be honest with yourself. Sometimes things that seem cool aren’t what they would end up being like on a day-to-day basis. You could have settled for living on a lake instead of driving two hours from the cape to work every day.
5. Smoothly integrate future plans.
You aren’t retiring yet, but now is a good time to think about what you’d do when you retire.
Your job might be the only thing holding you to an area. At a northeast-based company, Florida is a typical reaction to “where do you want to live in retirement?” Bam—no more snow. It’s perfect for some. However, imagining or experiencing the realities around this might change the equation. Maybe you’d actually hate the humid weather or find it harder than expected to be far from family.
As planners it’s important to us to coach a client into working through this vision and provide strategic suggestions that consider your future. Maybe you end up deciding you want to try it out a little and rent first, so you downsize your current home to rent there and live here.
Or you decide you don’t really know yet. There’s too much to the equation, so you rent for a time.
Or maybe you are sure of where you want to be. You just need a different space. Will the new choice support your future needs? If you think you are going to stay, consider how the space would support you as you age. This will take some research into universal design.
6. Get on the same page.
If you have a partner or family, everyone must be in on it.
Talking through the vision with your partner, and developing a joint ideal is vital. Don’t expect your wants and wishes to be the same—it takes a discussion. It’s common for one spouse to want to stay put. Or one spouse wants to be close to kids and the other wants a change of pace. One loves having a pool for grandkids but the other hates taking care of it. It’s time to find middle ground.
Oh, and by the way, this goes beyond your partner. You need to talk it out with family. Maybe your daughter was counting on Mom to be around for the grandkid. Or you didn’t realize the emotional connection your kids had to the house. Maybe you forgot your own mom had increasing needs and wanted to be close by matters.
Are you uncertain how well your housing fits your needs now and in the future?
Will you be able to support this vision financially
Or are you worried you might make a relocation mistake?