According to an article by Michelle Rafter, “Economy Forces Americans to Stay Put” (October 28, 2011), “Hard times are stopping many people from moving for retirement or work, according to Census Bureau data and a new Associated Press/LifeGoesStrong.com poll. The current mobility level, or how many Americans move each year, is the lowest since 1948….The unsteady economy exacerbated a trend toward fewer moves that had been gaining ground for several decades due to more two-income families that find it harder to relocate for work and an aging population that’s less mobile, according to the Associated Press.”
The idea of relocation should probably always be a consideration in your career management plan creation and periodic updating, as well as a factor in your ultimate plan for retirement (whether you’re decades away from that time or staring it in the face, so to speak). In some cases, relocation is mandated by your employer if you want to stay with the company. Often, though, it’s a question of finding new employment opportunities, pursuing potential career advancement or dealing with family considerations (such as elderly parents who need to have you near them or a spouse who has a job opportunity in a different geographical location).
As Rafter notes (and the data she cites support), other factors now influencing the situation might significantly limit your relocation options, because the continuing economic problems are inhibiting the more widespread relocation movement that we saw in earlier years. During the past year, the percentage of the U.S. population that moved to a new home was even lower than in 2008, when we were still experiencing a deep recession. As Rafter indicates, “With the current jobless rates and continued economic uncertainties, the freeze on moving could continue several more years, and many retirees may stay put for good, according to the report.”
Possibly several things. For example, if you are not currently living and working where you really want to be, you’ll need to take a long, hard look at how you can achieve that goal–after first considering carefully if it’s actually what you want to do and if it seems to make good, long-term sense. Another consideration is whether it could be a good retirement location as well as a more near-term source of job opportunities, since your relocation options might be limited when retirement eventually becomes an issue. I really encourage you to devote some careful thought to this subject and discuss it thoroughly with others who might be affected–your immediate family, for instance. And, of course, “do your homework” about the probable advantages and disadvantages of where you are now as well as where you might want to be later, keeping in mind the potential limitations the economy could continue to impose on your ability to choose.