The increased life expectancy of U.S. men and women continues to have impacts far and wide. On a national level, health care and employment are affected as older adults work and live longer. On a personal level, managing money and chronic illnesses become center stage.
Consider these actuary figures published in a recent Fidelity report on longevity and retirement: A 65-year-old man has a 50% chance of reaching 87, while a woman the same age has a 50% chance of reaching 90.
Living that long may also mean multiple relocations. According to a Gallup study, one in four adults move every 5 years. In a Merrill Lynch Retirement Study, almost two-thirds of retirees expect to move at least once, while one researcher says older adults could make multiple moves.
“Previous generations of older adults overwhelmingly chose to stay in the house they lived in before retirement. That may be changing. Tomorrow's retirement is very likely to be much longer and more dynamic than our parents. Many baby boomers and Gen X'ers will seek experiences, not just relaxation. Adult children moving from their childhood home region, divorce after age 50, as well as changes in health will affect where we are likely to live in older age. Retirement may not be about aging-in-place, but in many place(s),” says Joseph Couglin, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab.
Retirement in Two Phases
Recently widowed and in her early 70s, my mother moved out of our family home into a nearby condo. She picked a first floor, one-level condo because she intended to make this her last move. But in her late 80s, she needed the comforts and supports of a retirement community and made a second move.
This is becoming a common scenario for families. The Merrill Lynch study refers to the two stages of retirement:
“The first phase in retirement living – which can often span now 15 to 20 years or more – is a time of more freedom and new choices for how and where people live. This first phase has emerged as people live longer and are often healthier and more active than prior generations of retirees. During the second phase – which often begins when people are in their 80s – health becomes an increasingly important factor impacting where people live.”
In fact, some people upsize on their first retirement move – 30 percent, according to Merrill Lynch – so they have enough room for family to visit and, if needed, live with them.
Preparing for a Second (or Third) Move
Multiple moves make sense when you look at your retirement years in phases. Interests, needs and desires of your 60s and 70s are likely to change when you reach 80 and beyond.
With multiple moves a possibility, here are 3 things to consider.
- What about moving while you are still working? More and more Americans are working beyond traditional retirement age, and moving while still you are still working is a way to get a jump-start on that first phase.
- Maybe it makes more sense to rent instead of buy. You may find that your move to sunshine and away from family and friends pales after a few years. Renting gives you a relatively risk-free chance to determine if the move works. “Run through the numbers with your financial advisor before you buy a new home in retirement. Renting might be a cheaper option for retirees who aren’t set on owning their homes, provided they're not moving into an area where rents are primed to soar,” writes Forbes contributor Nancy Anderson.
- Visit a variety of retirement communities, even if such a move isn’t in your immediate plans. Many communities have waiting lists, plus the range of services at continuing care communities continues to grow. Transportation and housekeeping may be hassle-free now, but that might not be the case in 10 years. Plus, financial considerations for your first move might be different if your second move is to a retirement community.
You’re starting to hear more and more older adults talk about their first retirement move, downsizing to a nearby condo or relocating cross the country, then a second move to a retirement community or near supportive family. Expect those conversations to increase.
Consider Kendal at Oberlin
Some people, on the other hand, start their retirement in a community designed to meet their needs as they grow older. Life Plan communities provide complete care coordination that helps you navigate the health care services that may be required as you get older. The goal is to maintain the highest possible level of independence, while providing personalized, resident-centered support as you age comfortably in place, surrounded by caring friends and neighbors.
If you’re interested in learning more about the advantages of beginning your retirement in a life plan community like Kendal, call us at 800-548-9469 or 440-775-0094 or contact us online.