I have many blessings in my life. One of them had to do with my in-laws when our children were young.
We were living in Georgia and my husband’s parents semi-retired to a seaside community in Florida. We were a five hour drive away, so they weren’t able to help when the kids were sick or when we wanted to go on a date. They were, however, living in paradise and had an open door policy.
As is the case with many young, married couples, at the time we didn’t have the disposable income for trips that required airline tickets and hotels for a party of four. Every chance we could get, we headed south to the beach with our kids in tow. All we had to do was get there.
I’m grateful they chose to be “destination grandparents.”
When you are trying to narrow down where your forever home may lie, many of us think about the impact the decision will have on our families.
There are a number of things to keep in mind when you reach this point, particularly if you have children or family members who need your help. Here are some things to consider.
Consider your geography options.
Do you want or need to be hands-on with your loved ones?
If yes – you’ll want to choose a location near your family that gives you the ability to help when the grands are sick or when your elderly parent(s) needs you. If, on the other hand, you have a child or parent who will be moving with you, that’s another factor you’ll want to keep in mind.
If no – do you want to be somewhere meaningful for you and/or be in a location that allows you to attract your family and friends for visits?
If you choose the destination option, think about the details.
Do you want to be in a popular place where you will attract frequent visitors?
If yes – consider how much space and how many bedrooms you’ll need.
If no – consider getting a smaller forever home. As we’ve written about recently, you can always rent a place near your home for holidays or anytime you have company. This way, you can accommodate your family and friends without it directly affecting your day-to-day living.
Once you choose the general location for your forever locale, consider the lifestyle you want to lead.
Are you an outdoor person who loves to ski, play golf or fish? There are many neighborhoods, condos and country clubs with these types of activities built in or nearby.
Do you enjoy cultural events like concerts, museums and plays? Consider living in a town with cultural offerings within driving range.
Do you want to travel in retirement? Make sure you’re near an airport and interstates.
Do you like a change of seasons or do you prefer warm weather year-round?
Do you want to live in a 55+ community so you have access to social networks and activities for people near, at and above retirement age? If so, check out our recent article on this.
Next, review your financial situation and make realistic decisions based on what you can afford.
Once you retire, you will likely be on a fixed income. You’ll want to identify what is reasonably attainable for you. For more on affordable cities in each state of the US, check out this article from CNBC.
Once you work through these preliminary considerations, then you can start narrowing down the cities or towns that appeal to you. At the same time, you can start “rightsizing” your home.
That’s when the fun starts and visits to new places begins!