Alumni Profiles

Looking for Paradise

Gilen Chan and Gene Preudhomme

A few years ago, Gilen Chan and Gene Preudhomme, a married couple in Brooklyn, New York, began thinking about where to live when they retire. They knew they wanted to leave behind the crowds and chaos of New York City and live where mountains, ocean, or forests beckon just outside their window. But the more they investigated their options, the more undecided they became.

“You can read Kiplinger’s or Forbes about the best places to retire but then you just have a bunch of stats,” says Chan NLAW’91. “You’re lacking the stories, the real-life experiences where those numbers mean something.” It’s another thing, she adds, to hear from someone who uprooted when they retired. That realization spurred Preudhomme NLAW’93 to suggest that they try their hand at producing a podcast featuring retirees talking about why they chose the places they moved to after leaving the 9-to-5 world.

“A podcast is like a pirate radio show, but legal,” Preudhomme says. “You don’t need a lot of money and there’s no boss to tell me what to do. Besides, I always thought Gil was a great public speaker, which I’m not. I have a face for radio but not a voice!” he adds.

Chan and Preudhomme started their podcast, Retire There with Gil & Gene, in fall 2020. They’ve produced about 20 episodes while working full time; Chan is general counsel at a college in New York City and Preudhomme is the law library director for a state appeals court in Manhattan. The podcast has featured retirees living in places around the world, including Sedona, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Karmiel, Israel; Cape May, New Jersey; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Naples, Florida; Las Vegas; Manhattan; Blue Ridge, Georgia; Cary, North Carolina; Paris; and Mexico.

Chan and Preudhomme say their guests have taught them a lot about what questions retirees-to-be should ask themselves about relocating after retirement. For instance, how important is it for you to be near family? Are quality medical facilities nearby? Do the area’s cultural and recreational activities match those you want to pursue? How much in taxes are you willing to pay? Are there certain types of insurance you should purchase in your new location? Is the area elder-friendly?

Chan and Preudhomme recommend that you try, if you have the means, to spend at least a few months in a place you are considering before committing to it, so that you can make sure it suits you and your needs. It’s also critical, Chan says, to recognize that both retiring and relocating can be stressful activities, so avoid doing them simultaneously and allow yourself ample time to ease into a move.

And while you’re contemplating where to settle, start purging your possessions, they advise. “One thing I learned from our guests is to get rid of stuff as soon as possible,” says Preudhomme. Chan adds, “We’ve started decluttering. It’s true: the less you have, the less stress.”

Chan says she learned another important lesson from doing the podcast. “Thanks to Gene,” she says, “this has shown me you can do something new if you put your heart in it.” Preudhomme has also enjoyed producing the podcast. “I love working with my wife,” he says. “I didn’t know that before, but it’s actually been fun. And we haven’t killed each other…yet!”

Chan and Preudhomme hope to retire within the next four years, but “we’re nowhere near making a decision,” says Chan. “The podcast has opened up our minds. With each guest, I think, ‘I want to live there!’”

Retire There with Gil & Gene is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and many other podcast platforms.