As the kids gradually fly the coup, many of us feel the urge for a fundamental change in our living environment. For many years the classic ‘sea change’ was favoured by those on the cusp of retirement as many flocked to the attractions of a sunny and salty lifestyle in burgeoning seaside towns.
This yearning for a new living experience then expanded to those preferring a ‘tree change’ because they wanted to escape the cars and concrete of suburbia for a gentler and greener retreat into a secluded mountain hideaway. Still others are now looking in the opposite direction and moving toward the city centres and the attractions of apartment living, surrounded by cultural and social facilities.
What’s Driving the Change?
Fuelling this spirit are factors like healthy super balances and the increasing property prices in our big cities. People are thinking twice about whether they really need the big suburban home and all the work it can bring.
They’ve found if they downsize, they can unlock some capital and put their lifestyle priorities first. It may seem like a very appealing recipe for making the most of life but you’ll find a bit of planning is essential to make it all work smoothly and to ensure you’re making the right moves.
Is the Grass Always Greener?
Here are a few questions to consider in making a major move.
- What lifestyle activities do you really want to enjoy on an ongoing basis? Try to get down to specific activities and pastimes, which you currently engage in and know you want to keep up or increase doing.
- Do you and your partner agree on making a move? What would you enjoy doing more of together in a new location?
- Who will you be moving away from? Are there friends and family who you currently enjoy frequent interaction with and who you will be more isolated from if you head for the hills or the beach?
- Have you considered everyday conveniences? A country town or seaside village may not offer the same amenities close at hand, such as shops, clubs and medical services.
Make sure your decision is based off realistic expectations.
Dipping Your Toe in the Water
Consider the option of renting your current home out or getting one of your kids, grandkids or a friend to housesit for a few months, while you rent a home in your prospective new location.
If that’s not practical, just take an extended holiday there for a couple of weeks and you’ll get a real feeling for what it’s like to live there without doing anything permanent.
Make Sure the Financial Aspects Work
Selling a home, changing or down-scaling your work and establishing yourself in new surroundings can create quite a shake up to your finances.
If you sell your home and buy at the new location, you may have the chance to free up some capital. You could use it to pay down debts and simplify your finances.
Another option, which could reap real tax benefits, is to squirrel some extra away into your super.
Still others may want to invest the money in other ways. You may want to help out the kids with their finances or just use it to enjoy life more.
The right answer will vary depending on personal circumstances and objectives, so some careful consideration is needed and this is where a trusted financial planner can be of great help. They can project various options for you to let you compare the pros and cons of different strategies.
In the end, you’ll be able to make a more balanced and informed decision on how you can make your sea, tree or CBD change a really successful one.
Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd (Bridges). ABN 60 003 474 977. ASX Participant. AFSL 240837. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making an investment decision based on this information, you should assess your own circumstances or consult a financial planner or a registered tax agent. Examples are illustrative only and are subject to the assumptions and qualifications disclosed. Part of the IOOF group. In referring customers to Bridges, Southern Cross Credit Union Ltd. does not accept responsibility for any acts, omissions or advice of Bridges and its authorised representatives.