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Yes, You Can Practice Being Retired

The practice of offering consumers the chance to take a vehicle they might buy on a test-drive has been in place for a long time. And a few years ago, realtors got into letting people “test-drive” homes by spending the night in them. And in “Test-Drive Your Retirement,” Kiplinger.com suggests that instead of just outlining your retirement goals on paper, you actually take those goals for a test-drive to see if the retirement life you are planning will really work for you.

Location, Location, Location: You would expect to be advised to try for an extended stay in an area where you hope to retire because visiting for a weekend may not be enough time to really know if the new locale will work for you. But what about a test-drive of staying in your own area, in your own home? Both can be useful.

Finding a short-term rental in a new city will help inform your decision making as one couple interviewed for the article learned: they moved to retirement community a desert city without realizing just how the high temperatures would affect their way of life. 

And even if you think you know your home and hometown, spending a week or so there on vacation will give you practice in learning to structure your days (this is a bigger issue for retirees than many imagine.)

Financial Fast: As the article notes, many couples try to live on one salary before retirement to save money and get a sense of what their expenses will be. Doing this before retirement can offer a reality check. 

Kiplinger.com also interviewed a freelancer who decided slow down on work projects, take some trips, and find work that was more flexible and did not require her to attend client meetings. This woman had worked on her own for decades and had been diligent about saving. It was not easy for her to get used to the idea of earning less and using her retirement savings.