Bert and Linda (not their real names) approached the podium as I was preparing to speak to a group of retiring teachers. Bert smiled as he said, "We have a question for the expert." Linda explained, "We're planning to move closer to our two daughters and their families after retiring. What advice do you have for making this move?"
Another couple shared their quandary about moving to Florida for the warm climate or being close to their first grandchild in Wisconsin. Obviously, relocation is on the mind of many Baby Boomers as they make plans for retirement.
I wish I had an easy answer for my attentive audience—"Five Steps to Live Happily Ever After." Unfortunately, I don't. And I'm skeptical of other experts who have a quick-fix solution to complex decisions. Instead, when it comes to choices about relocation, consider the advice of authors Nelson and Bolles in their book, What Color is Your Parachute for Retirement?
Life planning comes first, residence planning second.
In other words, "move toward what you value"—literally.
As you envision your future life, consider your core values and mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and material needs and wants. I recommend drawing a chart listing each of these areas and then fill it in with what you know about yourself and your plans for the future.
If you have a "bucket list" of hopes and dreams, incorporate this into your life planning. List purposeful activities and commitments that will bring pleasure, engagement and meaning to your life. Also consider your strengths and talents and the outlets available for exploring these further in retirement.
Once you have a vision of how you want to live in retirement, Bolles and Nelson suggest experimenting with where you want to live. "The only way to really know whether a location has a sense of place for you is to become an explorer; you need to be there and experience it."
For the past 8 months my husband and I have been explorers; we're renting a downtown apartment in a vibrant small city. This living arrangement is a considerable contrast to our small-town living where "everyone knows your name." By having an explorer mindset, we're learning more about what matters to us, which will inform our decision about relocation.
Even if relocation is not on your mind, you're not exempt from life planning. To live intentionally, you need to make mindful choices. Be an explorer in your own community. Then decide to live where you are by choice, not default.
Copyright 2016 Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.