As more businesses commit to continuing work-from-home arrangements, we are seeing many people considering a sea or tree change. Once a lifestyle limited to retirees or those with regional job opportunities, it’s now a very real possibility for many professionals.
But rushing into a lifestyle change is rarely a good idea. As with any major decision, it’s worthwhile taking the time to plan your move carefully, understanding how it will impact you and your family. Here are our tips for deciding whether it’s the right time for a lifestyle move.
How does the move support your life goals?
Many people like the idea of a sea or tree change because of the lower cost, less stressful lifestyle, more space and even the opportunity to be self-sufficient, growing your own veggies or keeping chickens. But to be successful, it must also support your other life goals.
Some areas to consider are:
The country or coastal life can seem quite romantic, but it’s a different way of life to city or suburban living. It typically presents a quieter, more community-oriented lifestyle, and this will suit some people and not others. You likely won’t have easy access to restaurants, cafés, shops, and entertainment; choices will often be very limited. It can also impact your hobbies, if you enjoy going to sporting events, for example, you may not have this option. Maintaining access to the things that make you happy is critical.
Many assume that family and friends will visit often, but we all know life gets busy, and you may find you don’t have as many visitors as you anticipate. It’s worth considering what life will be like without your social network nearby, and what opportunities exist to build connections in your new area.
It’s great that you can work from home in your current role, but what if you want or need to find a new job? Are other employers in your industry following the work-from-home trend or could your location impact your employment opportunities? If furthering your career and growing your income are important to you, will your location impact your chances of promotion, or reduce your access to the education and training you need to get to the next level?
While the cost of living is often lower, if you are selling your home in a city to buy in regional Australia, you may be selling a substantial asset with good growth potential, and that can impact your financial position. It can be hard to get back into an expensive property market, like Melbourne or Sydney, if you decide to move back, and it can take a long time to sell regional properties. It’s best to seek financial advice to plan for the move, ensuring you stay on track with your goals and don’t jeopardise your future.
If you have children, it’s important to think about whether the education options in your new location are suited to what you want for them. Regional schools can be fantastic, but typically there will be fewer choices, so it’s worth exploring from the outset.
Transport and services
In cities and metropolitan areas, we often take for granted easy access to services like medical centres and hospitals, but in regional areas, these can be limited, and may require lengthy drives to access.
How quickly can you get to a major city if you need to attend a meeting or access a service? How easy is it for friends and family to come and visit? Areas with good transport links and access to services will likely cost you a little more than remote areas but may serve you better in the long term.
Have you done your research?
Many people dream of a coastal or country lifestyle after visiting as a tourist, and this can give a false impression, for a few reasons. Firstly, you’re on holidays and likely in a very different mindset to the normal working week, so it can be easy to see through rose-coloured glasses.
Secondly, many of us visit in peak seasons, for example, summer for coastal areas and winter for wine regions, but what are they like in other seasons? You may find many venues and services close in the off-season or that the lifestyle simply isn’t the same.
It’s worthwhile planning an extended visit in the off-season or renting for a year, so you can get a feel for the area before committing to buy. Spending time at local venues outside the main tourist strip will give you a much better sense of the local community too.
A tree or sea change can have many benefits, particularly if you are able to continue working in your current role or easily find employment in your new area, but it’s not a decision you should rush into. It can really help to get expert advice from someone who is not emotionally invested to make sure the move is the best one for you and your family – not just for today but in the longer term.
Apt works with many clients to plan for the financial and broader life impacts of a lifestyle move. If you are thinking about a tree or sea change and want to make sure you are doing it the right way, get in touch to find out how we can help.
General Advice warning
The information provided in this blog does not constitute ﬁnancial product advice. The information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, ﬁnancial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for speciﬁc professional advice. Apt Wealth Partners (AFSL and ACL 436121 ABN 49 159 583 847) and Apt Wealth Home Loans (powered by Smartline ACL 385325) recommends that you obtain professional advice before making any decision in relation to your particular requirements or circumstances