Have you visited a place and enjoyed the people, activities, convenience and environment so much that you realised this is the place you would want to retire to?
An occupational hazard of being a financial planner is planning. In fact our first trip to Cairns was all the way back in 2001 (we have moved to Cairns 2015).
The following are some tips for those who are from a major city or overseas and maybe considering to move to Cairns or another regional city.
1. Personal insight. You need to ask, clarify and document for yourself "What's important to you?" Following this question ask yourself what’s important about that last answer to you and continue until you are experiencing actualization of your higher self. Refer to Maslow Hierarchy of needs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs
2. Financial viability. Regardless of who you are working towards and attaining financial independence in life is a freeing and empowering experience. This doesn't mean you need to be a gozziloinaire. Happiness has been researched and linked to more than money i.e. social engagement, health, contribution, education while having more than enough to meet ones financial needs and expenses. Ultimately we can’t change time however we can choose what we do with our time and our activities. Our choices either make us happier or not.
The point is when you are deciding to move to Cairns or another regional city, you don’t need to have it all before moving, however it's also prudent to have either your own employment, way to continue generating your income when you move. This is because as a comparison employment opportunities are more limited than those in major cities i.e. Cairns has predominantly a tourism, agricultural, retail and service based industries.
3. Keep your options open. The best laid plans of mice and men, Murphy’s Law, a learning experience whatever you may call it, the best tip I can suggest when doing any major shift is to trial the experience. Stay for a minimum of two weeks or even up to month and find all you can about Cairns or the regional city. You will either be inspired or feel the limitations of choice, diversity and frustrated by the change in pace. If all goes well then the next step is to consider renting for at least for six months your ideal place to live. Doing so will allow you the opportunity to experience your ideal life without a massive financial commitment. You will then have more time on the ground to meet locals, deal with infrastructure realities (labour, internet, and electricity), dining, entertainment, transport and weather seasons etc.
4. Breath. The best thing about Cairns is the simple fact that people want to be here. They are happy out enjoying themselves experiencing nature, holidays, conferences, reunions. The weather between April – November is sensational. The city of Cairns has an eclectic mix of those from the southern states of Australia AKA Mexican’s (I’ve been told), overseas tourists, backpackers and locals. Everyone has an interesting story. Instead of sitting in traffic of a major city or going to the mall/shopping centre on the weekend, many from Cairns go camping, bushwalking, sailing, diving, socialising, sports etc. Since arriving here every weekend has been full of activities added to this is the convenience of an international airport in Cairns and its proximity to Asia and domestic flights to Syd only 3.15hrs.
My tip for those considering Cairns is to breath, don’t stress, get involved and experience all the region has to offer. The sooner you do the quicker you will feel more settled.
5. Network. Cairns is a city but a small city of approximately 142,000. If you are planning to relocate be it for winter holiday retirement home (as many people from NSW, VIC & TAS do), or you have decided Cairns is where you want to live permanently, you are going to bump into people you’ve met, more frequently than if you were in a major city.
If you are social and subscribe to the “University of Life”, the experiences and stories of how others came to live in Cairns, what they are doing now, their future goals etc. are a great ice breaker, enlightening and inspiring. Since moving to Cairns I have found locals having such diverse back grounds, just as much as in major cities, however with more time to express ourselves in a more relaxed environment and surroundings. Equally people will want to know about your story, what you are doing now.
6. Success. This tip is the essential ingredient to be a success anywhere and for anyone, however it’s even more important in Cairns or other regional cities. Be reliable. Yes it’s that simple. Be reliable.
In a regional city there is nowhere to hide i.e. people talk and rather than 6 degrees of separation, it’s more like 1 or 2 degrees. Local businesses and people who deliver are highly sort after, paid well, highly regarded and trusted.
Living in the tropics the expectation is that things degrade, break and don’t work. The reality is there are undercurrents of the importance of reliability due to cyclones, floods, intermittent internet and power, in addition to the frustrations of everyday life. This is why being reliable is even more deep-rooted and highly valued to those living in Cairns and regional cities.