When we think about where we want to live for the next 20, 30, 40 or more years, there are many important considerations. And here I touch upon them in my seven questions you should ask yourself about where to live for the rest of your life. Obviously if there are two of you, both of you need to ask yourselves these questions, and both of you need to openly and freely discuss your concerns.
1. Why are you thinking about where to live for the rest of your life? Is it because your current home is not appropriate for your needs? Is it too big or too difficult to maintain? Is it far from where you’d like to be, that is, away from family and friends, or too remote, or too close to the city? It is too expensive? Or is it because you’ve never thought about it before.
2. What is your current lifestyle? As I write in my book, AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life, your lifestyle and the level of activity you currently lead will likely be the same when you get older. When choosing where to live be sure to take special note of how both the new or current location and accommodations fit into your lifestyle and abilities.
3. How scary is it to move? One of the most stressful things for anyone is moving. I can’t emphasize that enough. Think about what it entails: taking all your possessions, all your memories, and the lifestyle you’ve created for yourself over many years, and turning it upside down. It can either be terrifying or exhilarating. The enormity of moving is definitely a question you must address.
4. Is their a particular place or location where you especially want to live? You need to understand whether you’re leaving where your are or going to somewhere. If you’ve vacationed at a place you love, that may hold a particular draw. But vacationing is not like living somewhere.
5. Do you want to downsize and “de-cumulate?” Remember the comedian George Carlin and his rant about “stuff?” It’s both an hilarious and provocative comedy routine. If you’re like a lot of us 50+ folks, you might be thinking about simplifying and getting rid of a lot of that extra stuff. If so, moving might be a means to do so. Or it might solidify your hold on your stuff.
6. How willing are you to revisit the issue of where to live in the future? Essentially, you need to think about how flexible you are. Do you tend to stick with a decision or have you been one to change your mind? Is moving such a big deal that you feel if you do it now you’ll never do it again?
7. Do you have the necessary resources to move now and, if necessary, change your plans later? Moving twice is not only doubling the trauma but also the expense. If you’re ok with that, then you’ll have more options because you can always reverse your decision or make a new plan. If this has to be a one-time decision, you need to think through all the options more thoroughly.