Retirement Homes. No, Not That Kind. The Place Of Your Dreams.
By Karen and Erica
Now that you are between careers--a/k/a retired--where do you want to live? There's no app for that! You have to think it through for yourself.
Once you have more control over your time, and are no longer tethered to your long time place of work, you can reconsider where you want to live. For the first time in your adult life, you can make decisions based on how you want to live, and what makes you happy, not where you need to be for work. Some have been lucky enough to live in the place of their dreams all along. Others can finally fly away to find theirs
The choices are vast. The beach? The mountains? A cliff? A city? Green fields? Near your children? Far from everyone? Retire in place or move?
So--how to approach the decision. First, think about how you see yourself spending your days. Do you see a university community--like Philadelphia or Oxbridge--where you can continue your education, teach, or just be around younger folks? Or do you see a big city--a different big city--and yourself on the sidewalk, striding among museums, theaters and restaurants. Maybe you want to open your eyes every morning to a Caribbean beach, complete with paddle boarding, flip flops, local lobster and great books. Maybe it will inspire you to open a small hotel. Maybe not. Maybe you plan to take a deep dive into a new culture and a new language, living in Amman, or Portugal. or Singapore. Or maybe you don't want to settle down at all--you want to check out a lot of Airbnbs, or one of those ships that continuously circumnavigates the globe.
How long will you plan for? Are you just exhausted after decades of work, so all you want to do is relax? Will that feeling last forever? Maybe it will, and mandates a home in Florida where you can golf for three decades. But maybe three months will suffice, and you will need a Plan B.
Of course, not everyone who retires can be actually footloose and fancy free. Other choices and practicalities may also play a part in the decision-making process. How close (or far?) do you want or need to be from parents, children and grandchildren? Are state taxes a driving factor? Do you choose on the basis of current health and abilities, or are you looking to some as yet unimaginable need for wheelchair access? Do you want to be with people of different ages, or in a community where everyone is in their golden years?
For some (including us), large cities are the best retirement communities ever. Others can’t imagine anything worse. It’s interesting how many couples seem to disagree on this point. One partner (often a woman) longs for the hustle and bustle, and the other (if he is male) longs for peace and quiet--and green(s).
Weather is important. Older bones generally like warmer weather.
Your abode--big or little? Some can't wait to build a mansion with rooms for everyone. Others want to be alone. And will it be a shack on the beach, a cabin in the woods, or a small apartment? Or a condo in a glittering high rise? Some love supers, and others can’t imagine not having a place to fix things, or to garden.
And then, of course, there is the question of how to get around. Some of us love to drive and hate relying on anyone else. Others either dislike driving intensely or at least prefer not to have to do it all the time, for everything. Self-driving cars may change that equation!
Whatever the answer, it's pretty cool that you have reached the stage where you can choose. Choose wisely. Life is indeed a beach--or it could be. Wherever you decide to live.