Going Nowhere

Dennis Friedman

REAL ESTATE PRICES in California are through the roof. The price of a smaller home in our neighborhood just sold for $80,000 above the list price. Not only is housing expensive for retirees like us, but also the cost of living in California is very high. Gas, food and taxes are a lot higher here than in other places favored by retirees, such as the Sunbelt.

When I was going to school, I was never good at math. In fact, I needed a tutor to get through algebra. But I know enough to calculate that—for the price of our house—we could move to another state, buy a nice home, plus a vacation home, plus a Range Rover for the garage.

It’s very tempting, especially when I climb those 18 steps on my way to bed each evening. If we asked a financial advisor, he or she would probably tell us to put the for-sale sign out front and start packing our bags.

But my wife and I have no intention of moving to another state with a lower cost of living. We’ve learned that retirement living isn’t just about how much money and stuff we have. It’s more than that. It’s about whether you enjoy your life. That’s the question you should be asking yourself before you make any major life-changing decision. It’s the true test of whether your retirement is on the right track.

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