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Taking Control and Living Your Dream: There’s Power in Retirement Planning

Aug 17, 2023

By Jill Duffey Kearney, Founder, Specialty Moves by Design

When you think about your next home in retirement, do you enjoy the planning part of it all?  Brainstorming ideas?  Writing down goals? Investigating options? Comparing costs? Creating a timeline? Well if you do, then you are in the minority.  Americans are notoriously bad at planning for a joyful retirement!  In fact, a recent AARP study says only 30% of us have a “real” plan.  Which means that 70% of us are totally winging it!  But why? 

Why the lack of planning? 

Most of us say we are just too busy.  Maybe you’ve been running a company.  Or you’re the family caregiver for both children and elders. Maybe your options are unclear or worse, you have always assumed you couldn’t afford it (whatever “it” is!) Or, like so many Americans, you avoid the conversation of “getting older” at every turn. 

It might also be that you just never took the time to DREAM about what a happy retirement looks like for you!  Do you watch others scoot off to warmer climates to play golf 24/7/365 or to sail the seas? Do you see others moving from large, mostly unused homes and envy the fact that they spend their days volunteering, traveling and visiting with family while you’re consumed with home maintenance projects? 

Looking at my own life, I decided to downsize a couple of years ago when my home value well exceeded what I had originally paid for it.  Having dreamed of owning a cottage in Ireland for decades, I sold my home, moved into a luxury apartment and immediately set out to make that Irish dream a reality.  In December, 2022 I made it happen and today so many folks are enjoying that amazing cottage in a magical location on their Irish travels, in between the times I can be there myself.  Some say I’m “lucky” to have it – and I will admit that I am immensely blessed to have seen this all come to fruition.  But it wasn’t “luck” that made it happen. Along with a healthy dose of divine intervention, it took a Plan.  Not a wish. A plan with financial figures, a timeline and research on the best location for me.  

Overall, I spent four years dreaming and researching, aligning with a supportive financial planner and then narrowing down the exact town (it’s Dingle, Ireland by the way!) I joined Facebook groups of Americans buying in Ireland and then watched the real estate market nearly every night and most weekends for a year. Along the way I made new friends in Ireland who grabbed onto my dream and helped to make it happen. And yet, I also created my Plan B for my CCRC apartment here when traveling back and forth across the ocean no longer makes sense. 

So what is “your” Ireland?  Most of us are focused on staying near family, friends and familiar connections like our doctors, places of worship and volunteer passions.  But do you dream of eliminating the burden of a too-big home, or the next big maintenance investment and having the freedom to take off and vacation or visit family whenever you like, knowing that your home is cared for 24/7/365 whether you are here or not? Have you talked to your financial planner or the marketing team here at Peter Becker Community? Have you visited friends who already live here and would love to have you as a neighbor?  Have you tasted the food and picked out your “perfect” apartment model, but still find yourself saying “I’m just not ready yet?”

Every year thousands of Americans put a deposit on the continuing care retirement community of their dreams because they have witnessed all the benefits and can see themselves enjoying that wonderful, supportive, richly connected lifestyle!  But those same folks turn down the opportunity to move time after time, as the process of getting there just seems overwhelming. 

By Jill Duffey Kearney, Founder, Specialty Moves by Design

To learn more about retirement at Peter Becker Community, contact us today.