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Boxes for moving. (Stockbyte/Photos.com)
Boxes for moving. (Stockbyte/Photos.com)

Retirement

Living in retirement: Goodbye Toronto, hello Kingsville Add to ...

Welcome to our Living in Retirement blog, where a couple is writing about their real-life retirement journey.

As soon as we sold our Toronto home, we felt a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders. Now we faced the monumental task of wrapping up our life in Toronto and moving it to Kingsville.

The sale of our place in Toronto brought with it another milestone: Astrid submitted her official notice of retirement. She finished the school year and her last working day as a teacher was June 29, 2012. Peter was already semi-retired and had decided to keep working part-time, consulting several small businesses.

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Now that the major pieces of our retirement plan had come together, we had just over two months to transition into our new life. We thought we had plenty of time – until we started to figure out what we needed to do.

We started off by revisiting our budget. We called the Kingsville utilities, insurance companies and cable provider to find out how much that would cost. Most charged set-up fees that we factored into the first month’s expenses.

The cost of natural gas, hydro, home and car insurance, as well as water, were lower in Kingsville, where our new home was more modern. Because we would be living off a much smaller monthly income, that was welcome news.

As part of our purchase agreement, we had negotiated a visit to our new place in Kingsville. One weekend, we put the cat in the kennel and visited our soon-to-be new home. We were excited to see the house again. Although our old Toronto home had more character than our Kingsville house, our new place was brighter and had a wonderful sunny yard, perfect for gardening.

During the Kingsville home inspection, we had concerns about the aging air conditioning and furnace unit. So our real estate agent contacted a local HVAC company who sent someone to meet us at the house and examine the units, which he agreed were nearing the end of their lifespan. Our agent also provided us with the names of two local contractors who gave us quotes for painting the house, removing the carpet and other small repairs. A week later, we had secured competitive prices for the new units – and the minor renovations. Another couple of things crossed off the to-do list.

The closing date for the sale of our house in Toronto was one week after we got the keys to our Kingsville home, which gave us time to complete these renovations. In order to close the Kingsville house, we negotiated a bridge loan with our banker. This added roughly $400 to our closing costs.

Of course, as with any big move, we spent a lot of time packing all of our belongings. We found that Home Depot had the best prices for boxes and did we ever use a lot. The moving company, as promised, called a week before and confirmed the appointment. At that point, there were boxes scattered all over the house. Then suddenly, it was time to move.

Our moving day was in early July. The day was clear but very hot, with temperatures soaring to 40 degrees. We lived in a semi-detached, three-story home that had an additional 12 steps to scale from the road. The movers arrived late and grumpy. They were grumpy with all the extra stairs and even grumpier when they found out there was no air conditioning. We kept them on track by providing water, food and a positive attitude.

Once they had loaded the contents of our house in the truck, we headed over to the storage unit. When we opened the storage unit doors we glanced at the driver – AKA “The Boss” – and saw the flash of a grimace. He looked at the storage unit and then at the space in the truck and said, “It’s going to be close.”

The lesson we learned here is that when you say you have a storage unit and the estimator says they don’t need to go see it themselves – make them go see it. Our moving boss managed to get everything into the truck, with the exception of a wheel barrow that they tied to the back of the truck and a bicycle that we secured to the top of our car.

As the moving van drove away, we put the cat and some suitcases in the car and headed west to our new life. At that point we were too tired and hot to be eager.

Next post: Settling into our new retirement home in Kingsville.

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