Approaching retirement can be one of our most stressful times.
Even if you’ve painstakingly planned out every dollar you’ll spend, you’d be surprised by the amount of non-financial-related stressors you encounter.
Preparation is the key to handling those surprises, and especially if you’re planning any major moves once you retire, the answer to a smooth transition is surprisingly simple: do a trial run.
You may not be familiar with this idea, but in the long run it saves you time and money and ensures the retirement of your dreams!
Here’s how to get started today…
When I suggest conducting a retirement trial run, I don’t mean you should take some vacation time and act as if you’ve already retired for a couple weeks.
Doing that will most likely just feel like taking a regular vacation, and not a massive life change.
The idea of a retirement trial run is for those individuals who plan on moving to a new location once they reach retirement, as well as any other plans they have for that new area.
Moving to a new city is a big deal, and especially when it’s happening for a fresh retiree, all of that can add up to some pretty overwhelming changes.
If you were moving at any other time in your life, you would most likely not even consider moving to a place unseen.
People tend to think a little differently in retirement, and focus more on the fantasy end-goal of living where they’ve always dreamed of, whether that’s some tropical destination like Hawaii or South America, or just another state or city.
For many retirees planning a move, having visited there or being somewhat familiar with the area is enough to make them feel comfortable packing up and moving their whole life.
In reality, though, you’re coupling a major move with a seriously major life change.
If you’re retiring, chances are you’re looking to move on your own or with just your spouse, so it can be a very different experience from when you moved your whole family for a new job.
The preparation for this move is a little different, because your life will be different from what it’s ever been before.
Because of that, a trial run is one of the best things you can do for yourself (and your dream retirement! And your wallet!)
Tips for your retirement trial run:
1. Rent a house in the area you’re considering moving to.
- Hopefully, you’re already planning on spending some time in the new city before you move there, but it’s crucial to stay in a house during your trip.
- Luckily that’s easier than ever to do now with Air BnB—you can easily find a house to stay in, for a couple days or a couple weeks. You can even look for places in the specific neighborhood or area you’d like to be in!
- Staying in a house rather than a hotel allows you to really experience what it would be like to live there. It forces you to go grocery shopping, do laundry, clean and maintain the house, etc.
- Staying in a house also means you’re in a residential area (like you would be if you move there) rather than being in the heart of a touristy area, the way you’d be if you stayed in a hotel.
2. Join community Facebook pages and keep up with local news.
- This is a great tip because you can do it while you’re still living in your current place, even while you’re still working.
- Also, if you’re considering a couple different potential locations, this can be a great first step to really get a feel for the various places and see how you’d fit in.
- Facebook has pages for every community and practically every group of people within that community you could imagine. Joining these pages allows you to interact with the people already living there, as well as get a feel for the culture, social scene, and values of the area, and even information like crime rate.
- Surfing the community pages will give you a better picture of what it would be like to live in the community, and allow you to make the most educated decision possible.
3. Establish a relationship with a real estate agent.
- Another great thing for you to do while conducting your trial run in your possible future city is to reach out to a real estate agent.
- You can communicate your situation better face-to-face and let them know you’re interested in moving in the future.
- The real estate agent will then be able to educate you further on what it’s like to live in the area, including price range of houses, and even additional costs like utilities, HOA fees, etc.
- Having a real estate agent on the ground in the new place is even more helpful when your trip ends and you go back home, because they can still be looking for houses and stay in contact with you if anything pops up.
- It’s all about being prepared when the time is right, and a real estate agent you already have an established relationship with will make that transition even smoother.
As you hopefully see, conducting a “trial run” of your retirement move can be incredibly beneficial.
Most people know how important it is to financially prepare for retirement, but there are many other stressors and changes that happen that few people are prepared for.
Conducting a trial run ensures you don’t waste time or money by moving somewhere that really isn’t a good fit for you.
So, go ahead and live that retirement you’ve been dreaming of!