The modern must-haves for successful country living

If you’re contemplating retirement or a second career,and thinking about relocating at the same time, there are several factors you need to take into account before you decide where to move to – or whether to move at all, says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate.
“The cost of living, for example, is an especially critical issue for retirees, the majority of whom really need to make their money go further and last longer. And housing, which accounts for a large part of the cost of living, is almost always cheaper to buy or rent in smaller towns and country areas.
“But other items such as food, municipal services and transport might be more expensive away from the city, and these locations might also not meet your other needs and preferences, so you will need to weigh things up carefully.”
Some other factors to consider, he suggests, are:
*Family and friends. If you have a large network of family and friends where you live now, you should really think twice about moving away, and perhaps just concentrate on downsizing to a more secure and more manageable home. It is very hard to make new friends when you are older and you will probably not see much of your family if they have to travel a long way to your new home.
*Climate. Cold and wet weather becomes harder to tolerate as one gets older, but extreme heat can also be very tiring. Heating or cooling one’s home in order to regulate the temperature can also be expensive.
*Access to medical facilities. Older people need to live within easy reach of general practitioners, specialists and a good hospital or clinic, especially if they have any chronic medical conditions. Retirement villages offering different levels of care are definitely worth thinking about if this is your situation.
*Retirement activities. Check to see what cultural and sporting activities your prospective location has to offer. Music, bridge, drama, book and craft clubs are all good places to meet new people, as are those catering to outdoor interests such as birding, walking, gardening, bowls and golf.
*Connectivity. If you’re determined to move to the country, you should look for a town that has strong and reliable cell phone signals and offers high-speed, broadband internet connections. These will not only be useful for staying in touch with family and friends, but also for shopping, research, entertainment, online trading, and the ability, if you need it, to communicate and collaborate with people around the world on work projects.
*Opportunities for part-time or volunteer work.If you want or need to keep working to stretch your retirement income, you should live somewhere busy enough that you are likely to be able to secure a part-time job or do locum work. Alternatively, you may be looking for opportunities to help others, and if you already belong to a service organisation like Lions, Rotary or the Round Table, it is worth checking to see if there’s a local branch.
*Business opportunities. If your primary intention is to move from a city to a more peaceful, less stressful living environment, where you are also hoping to launch a second career or buy a new business, be very careful and do really thorough market research before you move or make any investment. You may find you are better off working from home at something you already do well. And you should never use your hard-earned retirement savings to fund a new venture.

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