Moving When You Retire Is Dumb!

by Krantcents · 39 comments

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Unless you are moving with friends and family, moving when you retire is dumb!  You have roots in the neighborhood, family and community.  Social connections are very important to living a long happy life.  Do you really want to start over again in a new place?  Are you moving to a warmer climate?  Why do you want to move?  Is it the lure of an exotic location?  Would you move overseas?

The usual argument for moving is warmer weather or a lower cost of living.  If your goal is to be with other old people, moving may make sense, although your friends are probably your age.  Older people want to be close to relatives, particularly their children and grandchildren.  What will the new place offer?  Who doesn’t want a lower cost of living?  Don’t forget that there is a cost to get that lower cost of living.  Do you have to sell your current residence and to buy a new one?

It may be better and less expensive to rent out your current home or downsize before you retire.  When you sell there is generally a 5% commission and probably a similar cost to buy.  In a lower cost area, you are unfamiliar with the neighborhood, how you will live in the new community and no social connections.  In a foreign country, it is even more difficult.   Many articles tout less expensive countries with lower costs of living, but very little written about the downside of living in another country.

Moving to a different country will probably mean learning a new language and culture.  Other issues may be access to medical services and dietary requirements.  These are just a few of the changes you will need to get used to if you move to another country.  Do you buy or rent?   Investing in a foreign country has different risks, one of which may be restrictions/regulations to buy and sell property.  There are generally restrictions for foreign (non citizen) ownership, governmental restrictions and customs.

Many retirees move to warmer climates such as Florida, Arizona or California.  Do you want to start over again when you are in your sixties or seventies?  Making new friends and finding a new place to live can be a daunting task. It can be made a lot easier, if all your friends do the same thing, but that is rare!  If you have visited the community often and have a connection, it may work.  There are still risks, but it helps to do your homework!

What do you like to do?  What will you do in retirement?  It is probably all the things you did before retirement.  You want the things you like to do nearby including spending time with friends, relatives or grandchildren.  Moving may mean re-establishing your connections and travel to see your grandchildren.  How will you make new connections?   Will you join a church, social group, volunteer or meet your neighbors.  Does all this fit with your personality?

You may be moving for a more affordable lifestyle, but making friends will help you adjust.  If you are planning to move when you retire, you need to think about the changes.  Moving away from friends and family to a new location domestically or internationally just adds to it.  Remember, you were working for thirty-five to forty years and you just stopped!  That in itself is stressful and you are adding a change of residence and location.  Leaving your familiar community and connections adds more stress.  Why would yu want to have stress in your life at this time?   Unless you are moving with friends and family, moving when you retire is dumb!

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Unless you are moving with friends and family, moving when you retire is dumb!



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Financial Samurai November 1, 2012 at 12:48 am

Good points Larry, but most people don’t live in fantastic places like Hawaii or San Francisco, so they have to move.

It’s definitely a tradeoff. Hopefully family can come along, and one can build relationships at their retirement spots long before they have to move. Maybe shuttle back and forth?

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 6:50 am

As you get old(er), it is harder to make dramatic changes and form new relationships. I think spending winters in a warmer climate may be a good compromise.

Money Beagle November 1, 2012 at 7:15 am

Great point about the value of established relationships and the obstacles in forming new ones if you do move. I’d never thought of that though I’m quite a number of years away from having to think about it :)

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 7:30 am

As you get old(er), social (friends & family) relationships keep you engaged. These relationships are very important and difficult to re-create.

Financial Independence November 1, 2012 at 10:02 am

Well if you are moving to place in the sun – why not? I would move overseas, there is plenty of expatriate communities over there. The most impotnat thing is – it could be cheaper. Should you go to Central or Latin America.

Problem with renting out your current home when you away- you are loosing control. Even you will need to go back once a year to sort the thing out…you are loosing a lot of money – staying in a hotel, paying for the air tickets…unless your home is very expensive it is hardly worth it.

Learning new language is actually happen to be very good for older people – keeps te brain alive.

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Most old(er) people do not want to start over in a new area. We (including me) are used to certain things and already have friends. As far as renting out your home, you probably will need a relative to look after the place or a management company.

Lance @ Money Life and More November 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

That is why I live in Florida now! I will probably move a few times before I retire but I could see why Florida would be attractive. I think it depends on the life you have lived as well. I grew up in a military family so moving is the norm for me.

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Moving is one of the biggest life changers! It affects all aspects of your life. Warm weather may be a factor, but not the only factor. I live in southern California and it is far from perfect. My bottom line is my friends and family are here.

maria@moneyprinciple November 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I completely agree with you, Larry, though I have no idea what I’ll do. I probably will try to move before I retire – in retirement there arn’t many ways to integrate in communities particularly if you don’t go to church. I refuse to go and be with other old people! What I have been planning semi-jokingly is to start a commune when I am 65-70 – my surviving firends and I will keep one of the large houses and move in together. Will hire some help and keep each other going – including being naughty and grow old disgracefully.

As a British comedienne said: ‘Forget wearing purple, I’ll be purple.’

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm

When my mother needed to move into an assisted living facility, she said it was fro old people not her. She was 86 years old! I never want to go to one of those facilities and I have no desire to live with old people. I am a very active guy who wants to be with other active people no matter what their age.

Marie at FamilyMoneyValues November 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

While I agree that you would need to build new relationships and it might be a real hassle, I disagree that it is dumb to move! To many, retirement IS a fresh start, eagerly anticipated and full of adventure. I like Financial Independence’s comments!

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm

It may be a new adventure for some, most will feel lonely and it is difficult to make new friends in your 60s and 70s. At the very least, it is porudent to test it out before you take the leap.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter November 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I am not sure what we would do. We are so far from retirement right now. I think I would want to be where my family is since time with them is so precious. I can always travel more and go on vacation without moving for when I need a change of scenery.

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I agree, family and friends are very important and keeps me right here. Given enough money, I can travel to avoid the bad weather and stay put no matter where home is. I am fortunate to live in southern California and the weather is outstanding. The downside is I am in one of the most expensive cities.

Barbara Friedberg November 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm

After moving at least once per decade, I do not want to move again. I love where I live and our condo. I’m done moving!!!! (I hope :) )

Krantcents November 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I know what you mean! I have maybe one move left which is to a single level home or condo. I plan to avoid assisted kving as long as I can.

Jason Clayton | frugal habits November 2, 2012 at 5:38 am

I think you make excellent points, but have to disagree from watching my parents move from Wisconsin to Arizona when my Dad retired. They are absolutely loving it down there and I have never seen them more happy. True, it took them a little bit of time to meet new friends and get connected, but I know they wouldn’t change it for the world.

Krantcents November 2, 2012 at 6:51 am

I am sure you can find some people who successfully moved, but it means restarting just about everything. Some people will not be able to make friends and adjust to a different lifestyle. My mother moved from New Jersey to California in her sixties adjusted fairly well, but she had some family here to help her.

101 Centavos November 3, 2012 at 3:30 am

Moving and settling in are stressers that I could do without, but we’ll probably end up moving at least once before our golden years.

Krantcents November 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I thought tha my move to the townhouse would be my last move, however I don’t think I can handle the 3 levels as I get old(er). Therefore, I have one more move to a single level home.

Kay Lynn November 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

I think it may be dumb for you, but not for all. We plan to move when we retire for many reasons but one of those not holding us back is family. Our five kids all live in other states as does my side of the family.

We plan to relocate to Florida where it’s cheaper to live, the ocean is much warmer, closer to our family and there will be lots of other relocated boomers retiring ready to make new friends. Sounds great, right?

Krantcents November 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

It is a personal choice that you should try out before you actually move. My mother moved when she was in her late 60s fro New Jersey to California. If she did not have family to help her make the change, I think she would have had a difficult time.

eemusings November 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I can imagine that relationships would be the biggest pull when retired (they are right now even for us as a young couple considering moving abroad for awhile).

Weather and cost of living would also be a big factor. However, in today’s world odds are there is a reasonable sized English speaking community in a non-English country you might be considering.

Krantcents November 5, 2012 at 6:56 am

My friends and family are not moving and neither am I. Fortunately, I live in southern California although the cost of living is high.

Christa November 5, 2012 at 10:15 am

My grandmother is a snowbird, and she loves it. She gets to spend time with her girlfriends in Florida in the winter, and during the nice weather of the Midwest, she gets to enjoy time with family. I think that situation is a win-win.

Krantcents November 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I think that is a good compromise. You have not given up your main residence and can always sell the second home if you do not adapt well.

Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin November 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

I’m currently debating this topic with my parents as they approach retirement. Unless you absolutely NEED to move, I agree that you should stay where you are. Close to family, close to friends and live your life. I feel as if there is this “glamour” to moving away when you retire. When in theory you can go on vacation wherever you want, then come back to you “home base” as I call it.

Krantcents November 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I agree! Part of my retirement is travel to many places. If it were cold, I would plan my winter vacations to some warm climate. It may be a good time to take a cruise.

Tracey H November 18, 2012 at 6:14 am

Boy, you sure are negative about moving! There’s no right answer for everyone, but we definitely will be moving out of our house, at least, when we retire. We have almost 3000 square feet of above-ground living space and a huge lot with tons of gardens (and we hate gardening). There’s no point in moving now (about 10 years from retirement) because we’ll likely move again when we retire so we’re staying put for now. Our kids don’t live in our city, all of my friends except one are at least 10 years older than us (so many of them will be dead by the time we retire–blunt, I know, but true). We love meeting new people, making new friends (we’re in our mid-50s and still make new friends all the time), seeing new places, experiencing different cultures. Who knows where we’ll end up? We’ll likely try renting wherever we think we want to land, but that might depend. If we decide to retire in our own city or one of our kids’ cities, we’re more likely to buy right away. I do think I’d like to get away from this expensive, busy city and move to a quieter, less expensive town. We’ve lived in small towns before and they suit our personalities more.

Krantcents November 18, 2012 at 9:51 am

I think I am being realistic! I think that picking up and moving when you are in your 60s is difficult. If you visited the place you want to move for years and made some connections, it is a lot easier to make the adjustment. There are no guarantees though. It is never wise to move on a whim because you read or heard about a less expensive place to live. If I lived in the northeast or upper Midwest, I would probably want to move to a warmer climate in the winter. I would start doing it as a vacation before I decided to move permanently. I might try it out as an extended vacation before I bought too.

Joanne November 26, 2012 at 7:26 pm

You’re right. Wish I would have run into your article about a year ago. I’m retired, newly divorced, and thought I really wanted to move from my 1929 home, not perfect, but in great shape for the new owner. I really thought I wanted to move out to a little town out in the country. Well, I left my sons growing hash-marks in the closet door, a great area where I could walk any time day or night, had pleasant neighbors, for the most part, was close to shopping, a wonderful church, and …. did I say the walking was great.

I live about 20 minutes from my old home with 2 acres of land in a smaller house, 1956. It’s beautiful land, have a couple nice neighbors, nice little church, and no place to walk. Well, it just seems a little scary, and maybe that’s because I’m in my late 50s and just was so very used to my old neighborhood.

I haven’t really been able to get settled because of so much work in the house. I miss running into people in the store. I miss the grocery store. People think that you can always get fresh veggies in the country, but that isn’t necessarily so.

So …. I wish I would have just painted and picked up a few pieces of new furniture. It wasn’t a huge house, but it did have a new kitchen, …

I guess I thought I needed a new change …. a new start. Well, wish I would have asked the realtor to pull the sign so I could think about it maybe another year. It was almost paid off and now I have a new mortgage.

If I could move back today, I would.

Krantcents November 27, 2012 at 6:59 am

Although I was talking about a much larger move, your comments are still valid. You point out that downsizing can be just as upsetting, if you move to a new area. Hopefully, others will give a move when you retire more thought before they move.

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