Retirees are Choosing to Leave Fast-Paced Cities for a Better Quality of Life. Consider These Questions Before Making the Move.

Surfer at a nice beach
October 14th 2019, Robert Wilcocks

Housing is a large item on any person’s budget. But those at retirement and about to leave the workforce have to be especially thoughtful about how their living situation is going to impact their financial plan – especially if they’re contemplating a big move.

Could leaving behind the hustle and bustle of a big city improve your Return on Life? Before you start packing up, ask yourself these four important questions:

How will you fill your days?

Traffic, street noise, crowds, pricey restaurants and shopping – yes, city life can be exhausting.

But cities also provide tremendous opportunities to stay stimulated, connected with other people, and curious.

No matter how passionate the arts community is in that suburb you’re eying, how is it going to compare with the museums and theatres you’re used to frequenting on the weekends?

A small village play for most can't ever compare with seeing a play in London's West End or Liverpool's new Everyman theatre, or soaking in an opera or the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in all its glory. 

In cities and large towns, your meals might rotate between Italian, Thai, Middle Eastern, sushi, tapas, and all of the fascinating people those meals bring you in contact with. Some of that cultural variety might trickle out to the nearest suburbs… eventually.

Widely available public transportation means you can leave the car at home, especially if you’re getting older and driving is becoming more challenging.

Finally, what are the all-in costs of moving? Not just the difference in what a pizza costs, but the differences in taxes, insurance, and even time?

What about the cost of hiring an estate agent and getting a lifetime of stuff from here to there?

The internet and digital TV services like Netflix and Amazon Prime mean that you don’t have to live in a major city to stay connected to the wider world. Yes, suburban or small-town life might be more cost-effective. But make sure that unplugging from city life is going to be relaxing and not boring, cost-effective and not more costly.

I always recommend my clients who are at retirement go and try a place first, stay there for a few weeks at least, to get a feel for what living there full-time would be like. Be it emigrating to Greece or moving to the Cotswolds, living full time in one place is a lot different from a two-week holiday.

What is wrong with home now?

Change can be good. Millennial newlyweds looking to buy a home in an excellent school district might be following a long-term dream for their family. So is the retired couple that’s always wanted to live on the beach prepping to relocate from Richmond to Sandbanks or Florida.

But there are certain things about your living situation that change can’t “fix.” If you’ve become too much of a homebody since retirement, you need to put more thought into creating a schedule that revolves around your passions, your skills, and the people you love. Is moving going to help you do that? Or will you feel even more isolated in a new place?

Moving to a home with nicer amenities sounds appealing. But why do you really want to trade your city apartment for a house with a theatre in the basement and jacuzzi in the backyard? Because you love those things? Or because you need somewhere to collapse after another week of working too hard at a job you don’t like? Is your housing problem really a career problem?

Will it be difficult to visit loved ones?

Our friends and family round out our golf foursomes. They attend our weekly dinner parties. They show up at our kids’ concerts. They fill grandma and grandpa with pride. They meet us for lunch on short notice. And they are our first line of support during life’s major transitions.

Who is going to fill those roles for you if you move? Are you moving closer to your loved ones? Or so far away that you could be in danger of losing touch? Community trumps space, in this regard, because Return on Life comes down to two qualities for me:

  • People and experiences
  • What else matters?

So, be very careful before you move away from your current community because it might cost you lots of time with those you love, and experiences you would otherwise cherish.

What makes you happy?

They say home is where your heart is. Ultimately, where you live should make your heart feel full. And as your life changes, your definition of fulfilment might change along with it. When you’re young, a studio apartment next to the train tracks might feel enormous. Maybe your life will fit in that apartment forever. Or maybe your family, your career goals, and your financial means will redefine happiness and lead you somewhere new.

Do you anticipate a major move sometime in your future?

Let’s plot that transition on your Lifeline (a vital part of our Financial Life Planning process) and discuss how we can start planning ahead together.

Get in touch at to start a conversation today.

P.S. My next blog will be about Financial Life Coaching & Planning – what is it? Why is it different from traditional financial advice? Here is a quick snippet...

"Financial Life Coaching is all about YOU. It helps you by providing the right environment to better understand and articulate to your coach that which matters most to you. Your hopes, dreams and ambitions. It’s not about financial products, like pensions or insurance. It's not even about good financial planning services, like cashflow modelling and expenditure allocation. It’s a relationship. A supportive, guiding relationship. One which is capable of delivering incredible outcomes for you".

To be continued....

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