The challenge in planning for a significant life change, such as transitioning into retirement, is that you don't know what to expect. The key to having a successful transition into this new phase of your life is knowing yourself and what you want.
For many seniors, retirement means trading in a beloved house for a cottage or apartment for life in a retirement community. If this is the future you envision for you and your spouse, then it is important to plan ahead when considering this move.
Before you retire, you should assess what you want your lifestyle to be during retirement. To help you start the discussion, there is one question you should ask yourself:
What is Most Important to You?
Consider the activities that will fill your day during retirement. Will you visit a gym for fitness classes or attend drop by the local senior center for an afternoon of games. Do you see yourself traveling or doing more hiking? If shopping is what you enjoy, where do you like to shop?
Then consider what is essential for your well-being on a daily basis and add to your list these items, which could include:
- proximity to children and grandchildren
- church or spiritual activities
- volunteer opportunities
- socializing opportunities
Now divide that list into two columns: what you absolutely will not give up and what you are willing to compromise on. The secret to completing such a list is to revisit and revise. Completing this list with a spouse or significant other will obviously reflect more needs. If this is a personal list, it helps to ask other close friends and family members how they see you answering certain questions. You can often gain significant insight about yourself through someone who knows you well.
Review Your Senior Living Options
Now that you have your list of what your lifestyle should include during retirement, your next step is finding a retirement community to call home. This process may take awhile, especially if you are considering moving to another state to be near adult children. To learn how a fellow retiree worked through this transition, visit Joan's Journey for inspiration.
When visiting communities, be sure to have a list of questions ready to ask the marketing director, such as monthly cost, can you age in place and bring a pet, and what services are provided.