Thinking Of Relocating? Consider Doing A Test Drive First

(Photo: Handiwork NYC/Unsplash)

The move is on.

The number of Americans planning to move in 2021 seems to be reaching all-time highs.

Americans relocating in record numbers

About 14% of Americans move in a typical year, according to Neighbor, an online company offering consumers peer-to-peer storage solutions.

But the company says over half of people surveyed say they plan to relocate in 2021, many for reasons stemming from changes brought about by COVID.

  • 47% say they are moving to lower their cost of living;
  • 30% plan to move closer to family;
  • 19% may relocate due to increased work flexibility and remote work options;
  • 16% are looking for better job opportunities;
  • 13% are moving primarily because of COVID-19 safety concerns.

People are moving to less costly areas

Research from Zillow, reported by the Associated Press, shows that most Americans relocating in 2020 moved to areas where homes were bigger and less expensive.

“The data suggests,” says Zillow, “many Americans used the pandemic, and the broader acceptance of working remotely, as an opportunity to flee higher-cost metropolitan areas.”

A significant number of our clients have relocated or are planning to relocate as they reach retirement and seek a less congested and more leisurely lifestyle. For South Florida residents, that generally means a move toward northern Florida or other Southeastern states.

How to avoid making a retirement relocation mistake

Way back when, at the beginning of my career, an older couple I was friendly with decided to retire. They made a series of retirement mistakes that really stuck with me. One big mistake was decamping from the Northeastern, urban, intellectual environment they were used to and moving cold turkey to a very suburban, country-club type neighborhood in South Florida. They plunked down their money and bought a house before really testing the waters. Suffice to say it didn’t go well. The transition from mass-transit, big city to golf cart-riding retirement community was not a good fit. They ended up selling the house at a loss and moving on to another locale (also not a good fit, but that’s another story!).

Test drive your retirement

There’s a lesson to be learned here. If relocation is in your future, here’s a good tip from AARP.¹ “The average cost of a long-distance move is $5,000, and that doesn’t include closing costs on a new mortgage, furnishings, or other costs of moving,” says AARP.  They recommend you test drive your dream retirement by renting in your chosen destination before you buy. That’s good advice that will help make sure you’ve chosen the right spot to put down new roots, and ensure you don’t make a very expensive mistake.


  1. AARP Bulletin, “Win at Retirement,” June 2021

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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