Where will you live in retirement?
You may not be ready for this conversation at all. Very few of us are. In fact, most clients I talk to dread this conversation. It conjures up the exact opposite of how we feel. We are human. We are all different, and we approach our thinking and planning differently. But having a plan for living on your own terms, in a place you choose, without having to depend on family to support you, will give you comfort and one less thing to worry about.
As part of planning your next chapter, I usually bring the topic of ‘where you see retirement villages in your plans’ to the table after age sixty – and it is not always well received. I am often told ‘absolutely not!’ Many clients have lived in their family homes all their lives. Home is where our memories are kept, our happiest moments are held, and our life stories are told. It’s an emotional decision and a very personal choice.
Because of their experiences looking after elder parents, some clients are apprehensive of becoming a burden to their children and are more willing to talk about it. But not now -when the time is right. In many conversations, I find one partner willing to consider the move while the other is against it.
There is no right or wrong answer. Where and how you will transition is ultimately up to you and how you see yourself living in future. To guide your conversations, I have put together the most important insights I have learnt from talking to my clients:
- If you choose to move into a retirement village, don’t leave it too late. Make sure you have enough energy to pack up your home and enough vitality to make new friends. I have a client whose wife suddenly fell ill, and packing up all their belongings and memories alone turned out to be a very traumatic experience.
- Do your homework and research your options well in time. None of us wants our adult children to decide where we should live.
- Consider a life right property if you don’t have huge capital. Retiremeant™ Specialist Jason Appel wrote a very informative article in this newsletter explaining this option.
- Moving house can be expensive with many costs: transfer, agent, packing and moving fees etc. But there is also an upside to downscaling. Living in a retirement village may also mean saving on rates and taxes, security, maintenance and living expenses. Consider your options and talk to your Retiremeant™ Specialist about the financial impact.
- Consider allocating money for carers to assist you (if needed) when you decide to live independently or with your adult children.
We are all different. Don’t mould yourself into a living arrangement that does not suit your lifestyle – or your values. I have clients who long for a peaceful, quiet life out of the city, and other clients who feel rooted and comfortable exactly where they are. Some clients choose to emigrate or semigrate. Lynda Smith, who contributed to this newsletter, moved to a different town and has found immense joy moving from her comfort zone to a brand new adventure.
You may also find that you and your partner think and plan differently. Your timing may be off, and you may disagree on where to live. Don’t get impatient with each other, and keep the conversation flowing. Take the time that’s needed for both of you to feel comfortable and valued in the process.
Thinking about this transition also does not mean you have to move right now. It really is just about having a plan. Do the research, discover your options, explore possibilities and weigh the benefits and pitfalls. And above all else, make sure you are always surrounded – and interacting – with new friends and the people you love.
Make sure the road you travel and the home you choose are where you feel you belong,