Relocating for retirement: How to choose your new address

Have you ever wondered whether your favorite winter holiday destination would be a great place to retire? A warm climate, relaxed lifestyle, and happy memories have tempted many a retiree to pull up stumps and load the moving van.

While it’s great to dream about relocating, choosing where to move is a complicated and very personal decision. Making the proper choice requires understanding and prioritising your happiness and wellbeing now and in the future. Getting it right takes knowing yourself pretty well.

You probably have a favourite holiday destination, and you’ve probably also wondered what it might be like to live there forever.

That much-loved holiday locale looks its best in great weather, but have you ever visited out of season? Or have you tried parking in the main street of that sleepy little coastal town in peak holiday season?

Visiting the area at different times of the year gives you a clearer indication of what life would really be like to live there full time.

If you visit a doctor regularly, or require regular physio treatment, you’ll need a strong sense of the quality of those services.

Explore in full the town and surrounding neighbourhoods to see if the services and facilities you value are relatively handy. If they’re not, be realistic about the time, effort and cost required to help you find services that meet your needs before making up your mind to live there – or not.

An alarming number of pre-retirees who read about a particular locale often add it to their top 10 relocation list without ever visiting it in person.

Depending on your circumstances, your decision may need to be informed by a variety of factors. These might include:

  • how long it takes you to visit friends and family
  • access to quality healthcare
  • the cost of living in that area
  • housing prices
  • relocation expenses
  • whether there are opportunities to keep working and generate income in your new region.

Focus on what matters most and decide where you can compromise and what is non-negotiable.

If it really is your dream to retire in a new location, it goes without saying that you’ll need to do your due diligence. But don’t waste too much time overthinking the move once you’ve answered all the important questions and potential concerns. Life can change in a heartbeat. Don’t waste a moment.

Just make sure you visit, and research the area thoroughly, before filling in those mail redirection forms at the post office.

Read more: The emotional aspects of moving house in retirement

Do you have plans to relocate in retirement? To where are you considering moving? What are you looking forward to most? Or have you already made the big retirement relocation? Why not share your thoughts, experiences and tips in the comments below?

Written by Claire Halliday

Claire is an accomplished journalist who has written for leading magazines and newspapers, such as The Sunday Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Women's Weekly, Marie Claire, Rolling Stone, Australian House & Garden, GQ, The Australian, Herald Sun, The Weekly Review, Kidspot.com.au and The Independent on Sunday (UK).

7 Comments

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  1. Hi
    We have just bought land at palm cove Briby island
    We are building a home for our retirement next year with Briby because still only an hour from Brisbane.
    Everything you need is on the island and it’s connected by a bridge
    It is the nearest surf beach to Brisbane also we love the beach and the beautiful white sand and great facilities for off leash beaches for our fur babies.

    Palm cove is a beautiful new community all the homes are new and most of the people are over 55
    So for us this will be heaven ! Can’t wait ☺️

  2. Hi
    Forgot to ask all you lovey folk out there if you have any recommendations for a good reliable builder
    It’s a nightmare finding a builder at the moment as they all put specials on,
    and you have to Wade thru mud to get to the nitty-gritty 🤔

  3. We moved nearly a thousand km north on retirement and built a house on a property we’d bought several years earlier. To find a good reliable builder I suggest talking to the manager of the local Council’s building approvals department and asking if they can give you some recommendations for reliable builders of the type of house you intend building. We did this and found an excellent, honest builder who was living in the same style of house that we planned and was able to make a number of design suggestions.

    In our previous home, we were asked by a few strangers about the builder of our house so this is another way of finding suitable builders. Most people will take it as a compliment that you admire their home.

    Good local, relevant medical facilities are a must. There are numerous desirable retirement destinations along the coast which are an hour or so away from the nearest public hospital. If an ambulance has to first drive this distance to you, you could have seriously deteriorated before reaching specialist help.

    A downside of moving to a location where the majority of people are retired is that very few building tradespeople are older than sixty. It’s difficult enough finding tradespeople at the best of times so why make it harder by moving to one of heavens waiting rooms? It’s also uplifting to live amongst a mix of people and ages.

  4. No worries, Tinzy.
    Also, where is Palm Cove on Bribie Island? I am wondering if you mean Palm Avenue, which is at Bongaree.
    I know that Palm Cove is a suburb of Cairns.

  5. We relocated from Sydney to near Lithgow NSW nearly 9 years ago now. At that time we were 66 and 76. Previously to this we had purchased a 100 acre property at Tarago, near Goulburn and held it for over 10 years. Then we purchased a house on the water at Lake Conjola and held it for over 10 years. These two properties were for recreation purposes. So we had tried both country and seaside.
    Country won out. We now live on 5 acres with a much bigger home than we had in Sydney and we love it. The neighbours are friendly, the people in town are friendly and what we can’t get in town we purchase via the internet.
    Medical facilities and a hospital are here but getting appointments can take up to 10 days depending on the surgery. Other times we may need to go to Bathurst for specialist appointments.
    Thankfully the work involved in looking after 5 acres is keeping up both very healthy with neither of us having any real medical problems.

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