Seachange and Treechange

When considering a seachange or treechange there are many areas that have to be considered before opting for this important lifestyle change. 

Having worked for a seniors magazine and experienced firsthand the mistakes that close friends have made by them trying to obtain a better worklife experience or retiring and just wanting to get out of their current location and live in the country.

The most important thing to remember is 'rent before you buy'.

Don't make the mistake that many retirees have made by selling your house and moving to your dream location only to find that you are not accepted into the community, the climate doesn't agree with you or you become isolated and lonely because family or friends don't visit.

When my father retired many years ago he decided not to follow his fellow executives up to the North Coast of NSW to Forster and Port Macquarie.  Instead he chose to stay put and obtained a part-time job at a camera store, he was a good photographer and amateur engineer and was more than happy to pack cameras for repair, do deliveries and make model trains.

The result was that he enjoyed life whereas his retired executive friends who moved away got sick and tired of bowls and golf and within a few years had passed away.

One big mistake retirees make is not to do their homework regarding medical facilities, for instance Port Stephens north of Newcastle in NSW and Merriwa in country NSW. both have a polyclinic with basic facilities, however major cases such as heart problems have to be transferred to the major base hospital in Newcastle some 90 minutes from Port Stephens and 4 hours from Merriwa.  If one partner can't drive, travel to the major hospital is by bus which has a limited timetable.

Another example of not doing due diligence into your proposed lifestyle change is the case of a friend who suddenly announced that he, his wife and 85 year old mother were moving to regional Queensland some 1500km from their current location. Despite previous advise not to sell their existing property sold up and immediately bought an established home in the new location.

They soon discovered that there were two categories of people living in that location. The newly weds and very elderly retirees and nothing in-between of their age group. On top of that they soon discovered over summer they were prisoners in their own house due to oppressive heat and humidity as well as the constant barrage of sandflies and mosquito's.

They also discovered another major problem with all retirees that don't plan their seachange properly is the considerable distance from their family.  The family rarely comes to see them citing excuses such as the cost of fuel or airfares, the grandchildren find it boring traveling that distance or some other commitment takes precedence over seeing their aging parents.

Before long they were pining to return to be close to their families, but couldn't because the Sydney market had risen dramatically during the period they were away making it impossible to purchase again and anyway they couldn't sell their home in regional Queensland.

So if you want to have a seachange or treechange it do a careful analysis of the pros and cons before considering the change and if you still decide to move to that dream location make sure you rent for at least a year before deciding to buy.

This will give you time to assess everyday living sytles as well as the availability of medical facilities including medical specialists, the cost of transport and most important the attitude of locals to you moving into their area.

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