People relocate for different reasons and with such an immense amount of resources at our fingertips nowadays, relocating at a later stage in life has become fairly common, especially among retirees looking for a fresh, new start. However, if you have always lived in the same area, the idea of leaving your comfort zone might be fraught with indecision.
Boomers and seniors aren’t as one-dimensional as advertisements of the 1970s made us out to be. Weather and golf aren’t the only things that motivate those in retirement to pick up and move from one place to another.
Sometimes grandparents move because their grown children, now married with their own children, have relocated to a new city, state or country and they want to keep the family unit intact. However, this scenario assumes that all boomers and seniors live not for themselves, but solely for their children and grandchildren. While this may have been the case 100 or even 50 years ago, it’s certainly not always the situation today.
Relocation is a complicated process, for any personality type. While some adventurous types look to explore a new lease of life, free from work and family responsibilities, others relocate to places where they can relax and be around people that share the same values or lifestyle. Either way, it’s a big decision that takes a lot of research and sometimes, just one giant leap of faith.
From determining the obvious about a city and state, such as the most bang for your buck in the real estate market, crime stats, assisted living facilities and vetting the doctors and the hospitals they are affiliated with, to determining if the outdoor and indoor activities are right for you, thousands of websites offer comprehensive breakdown of the things that matter most. However, although we can easily find the answers to all the questions about where to move, getting over the hump of wondering if relocation is right for you is another story.
First off, I should tell you that I am a huge fan of relocating. Although I was born to parents who were born and bred in the US, thus making them American citizens, I wasn’t born in the US. Relocation is neither new to me, nor is it a big deal to me. I was born in the Netherlands, have lived in Nigeria, New York City, Washington, D.C., southern California and now I live on Puerto Rico. Of those locations, the last three were entirely my decision. And within New York City, Washington, D.C., California and Puerto Rico, I have moved at least once. Based on my experiences, I have written five books on the topic of relocation. For every con someone has given me for why relocation is a bad idea, I can come up with two or three pros. So, even for some of you doubting Thomasses and Thomassinas, I bet by the time you are finished reading this, even you will have all apprehension removed.
First the Cons:
- I can’t leave my hometown. It’s where I have lived my whole life. Nothing compares to it.
- From the hardware store to the grocery store and where to get my prescription medications, I have a routine. I hate change!
- I love the ballet, the theatre, the festivals, the restaurants, the zoos, my place of worship and all of my outdoor activities
- My cardiologist is the best!
- I have so much stuff! How am I ever going to afford to move it all?
- My grandkids live here. How am I am going to see them everyday?
- The crime! Have you looked at how much crime there is there?
Now the Pros:
1. Relocation Rejuvenation
It is really easy for us to become complacent and think that nothing can possibly compare to here. If you live where you grew up, you’ve lived in the same place for 40 or 50 years or more. When people throw that objection to moving at me, I ask them if it was their choice to live there? If your parents raised you there, the answer is no. So it’s the known vs. the unknown that’s scary, not that nothing compares to what you’ve know all this time. Discovering new places can be an exciting time. Change your routine, start a new class, make new friends, etc. Rejuvenation is the best part about retirement relocation.
2. Life is Not about Routine
Routine? People do get stuck in routines. I am definitely one of them. I love my pharmacist, my grocery stores, and the local hardware store. Interestingly, in the four years since I’ve lived on Puerto Rico, one of my favorite grocery stores closed and a new, more improved one opened in its place. My local hardware store is having a hard time competing because Home Depot is taking the island by storm and I am glad to say that my pharmacist is still here. But he’s considerably older than I am and eventually he’ll either hand the business off to his kids or sell it to a stranger.
3. Create Your Community
What makes the ballet and the theatre so wonderful have nothing to do with the fact that they are in your hometown. We have created a standard for ballet, acting, for really just about everything, so whether it’s Tulsa, Oklahoma or New York City, unless you have acquainted yourself with everyone in the ballet core, once that core leaves and dances in a new city, it’s no longer your ballet. Most cities have a cultural scene and you know what? If they don’t, create one!
4. Good Doctors are Abundant
This is especially the case if we’ve had a serious illness and that doctor gave us not only a new leash on life, but that warm fuzzy feeling as well. I had Malignant Melanoma when I lived in California. I loved my dermatologist for catching it and keeping me alive! I thought I’d never find another like her if I moved. Well guess what? She moved and then my big reason for staying vanished.
5. Memories Don’t Fit in Cardboard Boxes
We do accumulate a lot of things over the years don’t we? Furniture, photos, artwork, decorations for each and every holiday and the records, CDs and DVDs, is there a moving van or shipping container big enough for you? While the answer is yes, do you really need all that stuff? Lighten your load! Take only the sentimental things; burn the CDs and DVDs onto your hard drive, sell them on eBay and carefully decide whether your furniture will work in your new location. Weren’t you just saying the other day that you were thinking of downsizing? We have all heard the expression, “you can’t take it with when you go,” moving is a great time to evaluate needs vs. wants.
6. Skype Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Although it’s true that your daughter and her husband prefer to stay put, with all the technology available to you, there’s no reason you need to. If you are reading this blog, it means you have a computer. Download Skype and you can talk to them every single day! And I already know you are savvy because you are a Sharp Senior, be mindful of great deals so your kids and grandkids can come visit you several times a year. What better place to take a vacation than at Grandpa and Grandma’s who will spoil the heck out of their grandkids?
7. Crime Watch
Of course, it’s a sad reality that crime happens in almost every city. The best thing to do is research and talk to people in the area you’re considering moving to. When we moved to Puerto Rico, I did my crime index research online. It led me to other questions I needed answers to, such as demographics, transportation, diseases, doctors per square mile, and many others, which I found at the CIA World Factbook. If you want to know these data for any US city, I suggest googling, “Crime stats in,” and fill in your city and state. Conversely, Sharp Seniors offers you general information on crime in the area you currently live and where you are considering moving.
We spend our lives doing what we are told we are supposed to do. We are born, we go to school, we get married, we have kids, grandkids and then we retire. For many this is all they will ever be. If you have always done things the conventional way or what society tells you we are supposed to do, with these the best years of your life, why not live them where you want to live them? If it’s where you are, great! If it’s someplace else, it may be the best gift you give yourself to explore it!