Now that the kids have left home you have two choices related to real estate – sit in the emptiness and silence, and perhaps revel in it, or seize the opportunity to create a brand new version of your life. Don’t underestimate such a change; it can be challenging and the significance of a huge chapter of your life coming to a close should not be ignored. But then again, it should also not be mourned for too long. Now could be the time to hit ‘refresh’, and for many a ‘sea change’ or some version of one, is the perfect solution.
The key word here is change. Part of the solution to managing the transition from family life to the next stage involves changing the way your life was lived before. If your life previously revolved around the children and their activities and that’s now gone, the void can be difficult to work around. If your children have moved, not only out of the house but some distance away, this deepens the void as their presence in your life is totally removed.
Sometimes the best way to transition out of your old life is to relocate to a new one. Moving into a new community and finding new work and social activities to engage in is a great way to find new motivation to take control of your life. The sea change classically refers to a move from the city to a small town by the sea, but the term is now used more broadly to cover a range of lifestyle changes - the sea change does not always have to involve the sea! For many who are transitioning into the post-parenting lifestyle, their version of the sea change comes in the form of downsizing from family life and upgrading to freedom and some higher end creature comforts.
A sea change gives you the opportunity to choose a new place to live that meets your professional and social needs, whilst delivering you the lifestyle you want, but have not previously been able to achieve. Your choice of location can consider your transition into retirement too if this hasn’t happened yet.
Of course, your choice of location should not only fulfil your personal desires but it should also be a good investment choice. With many priced out of the inner city markets, there is a trend at the moment towards coastal and regional towns with bigger houses and lower prices, just one or two hours out of the main cities. Areas like Newcastle (outside of Sydney), Bendigo (outside of Melbourne) and Redcliffe (outside of Brisbane) are hot spots for retirees and should definitely be considered for their lifestyle and investment potential.
The first step is to decide what you want your new life to look like and then start to think about the locations where those desires could be easily fulfilled. If you want to walk your dog on the beach every day and to enjoy a slower pace, then a literal sea change is just the thing. Maybe you crave downsizing to a smaller house but upsizing to more open space with a rambling garden and views for miles of paddocks and hills? In that case a move to the country is in order!
If retirement is not yet for you and you prefer to keep busy, a move to the inner city may be a better choice. For many empty nesters, this time in their life means finally getting out of the suburbs and back into the action. Having had your kids when young may have meant you missed the chance to live in a warehouse apartment in the theatre district, or in a penthouse with the city skyline at your feet.
Once you’ve decided on the location, you need to look at how much this brand new life might cost. Do a thorough assessment of your current financial situation including assets, debts and income sources and work out how that can be restructured to accommodate for the changes you want. Do you need to sell your family home to be able to buy elsewhere, or can you rent it out to create an income stream and buy something smaller and more suitable to relocate to?
It can be an overwhelming decision for some, but the possibilities are endless with all of that newfound freedom you have! Remember back all those years ago when you made plans around your new career and your growing family? Well this is the same, except this time it’s all about you. You can decide for yourself what’s best for you and your future. You can make a choice that fulfils you personally and provides you with financial stability and security in the long term and, finally, live the kind of life you’ve dreamt of. A sea change may be just the change you’re looking for.