Retiring? Is it a good idea to move?


Retirement may change your lifestyle and could bring a change in residence, depending upon your goals. There are some important considerations you should not overlook.

How much house – and where?

A large house has room for grandchildren and children to visit but is more expensive and time-consuming to maintain. Consider whether you wish to downscale.

If you’re planning on buying a new residence, think about whether you want a home primarily on one floor. Over time, navigating multiple floors can get harder because of arthritis or other health conditions.

Consider location – factors such as climate, proximity to children and distance from medical care, shopping and amenities that might be important to you, such as golf courses.

Factor in financial considerations as well. Any change is complicated by the status of your current house as an investment.

Should you be an RV retiree?

A lifestyle some retirees choose is to live primarily or entirely in a motor home.

The range of prices for RVs depends upon the room and comfort you want. You might spend as little as $10,000 or more than $100,000 for the vehicle that suits you.

The cost of travel in an RV is cheaper than traveling by car, eating in restaurants and sleeping in hotels. Estimate fuel and other costs for this retiree lifestyle, and decide whether you want to maintain a home base or be an RV gypsy.

Want to retire in a foreign country?

Some choose to retire in a foreign country for the climate, lifestyle or cheaper cost of living. If you’re considering retirement in a foreign country, you should rent a place there and stay for an extended period before committing to make it your home.

You will need to downsize your belongings, at least temporarily – it’s not practical to take everything with you. Once you’re settled in, you can add to your possessions. If you do not speak the native language, you’ll need to develop local language skills, even if there is a large English-speaking expatriate community.

Will you be able to get health care? Medicare will not help you if you need care in a foreign country. Will your private insurance policy cover you if you become a resident of another country? Investigate what healthcare options there are for expats in the country you are contemplating.

Financially, you may need to maintain multiple bank accounts in the United States and in your new country of residence – and be aware of currency exchange rates. Obtain professional advice regarding U.S. and local income tax.