For baby boomers, the question of when—and where—they'll retire is a perennial topic of discussion. But with the novel coronavirus sweeping the globe, it has become an especially pressing question these days.
Many are feeling the pressure to ramp up their decision-making and act fast—between concerns over COVID-19 contagion, rampant layoffs, and new rounds of self-reckoning where they ponder "Why wait to realize my dreams?" Many believe that the time is now to make real estate decisions they've been putting off.
'COVID-19 convinced me to move to my retirement home early'
David, 66, who lives in Boston, thought he’d stay a New Englander for a few more years. But the COVID-19 pandemic galvanized his long-simmering plans to head south.
“I grew up in Georgia and miss some aspects of Southern life, including the weather,” he explains. "That becomes a bigger deal every year. But I wanted to keep earning as much as I could until age 70, the way you’re supposed to if you want the biggest Social Security income.”
However, since he works in fundraising for an arts organization, he’s seen his work hours dramatically reduced since COVID-19 came to town. “Our organization came to almost a full stop, and, while still employed, I took a significant salary cut," he says. "And the fact that the arts will be among the last areas to reopen in hard-hit states makes me think my work life is over.”
David chooses to look at this as a glass half-full.
“It's a sign to move on to the next phase of life,” he says. "I've been talking about buying a little, cheap, beach-bum place in Florida for years. Now, I'm ready. This virus has brought me face to face with my mortality. The time to realize my dreams is now. There are no guarantees."
He is actively searching online for a cottage or condo near the water in the vicinity of Tallahassee, FL. Working with a local real estate agent, he’s doing virtual walk-throughs on FaceTime. While he's not sure if he'll actually buy a house sight unseen, he's excited to be laying the groundwork for the next phase of his life.
"The idea of having a laid-back life, listening to the surf, going fishing in Florida, that will be heaven! For me, this tragedy has a silver lining.”