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Have you been thinking about retirement?

Have You Been Thinking About Retirement?

Retirement Village:

Retirement villages are one of the most popular ways to retire. According to the NSW Department of Fair Trading there are over 595 retirement villages with more than 36,000 residents in NSW alone.

Benefits include integrated levels of independent living and care, a built in community of other retirees, and relevant support and services. Typically you’ll buy your retirement village accommodation – a villa or unit – but you might not own it in the same way with the same freedom you’d own a normal house if its community title, loans or license, shares in a unit, or other variations of ownership, so it is important to do your research. It is also different to a normal purchase in that you’ll usually have ongoing fees and charges – often even once you’ve left the village.

All villages have their own contracts and it is important to pay attention to the fine print.

Upsize or Downsize?:

Many Australians choose to move house at or around retirement. Typically, these empty nesters are looking to downsize and minimise maintenance. But they’re also often looking to liquidate the cash tied up in the family house, so a downsize needs to be a carefully considered financial decision. Maybe you’ll need to move away from the area you know and love to do this, but maybe not. Some downsizers rebuild a couple of villas or townhouses on the site of the old family (subject to council approval), some move to a favourite holiday destination, and some simply shift from a house to a unit or villa in the local area to remain near friends and family.

But not everyone wants to downsize. Upsizing is usually associated with younger age groups, but a small number of older Australians, mainly mortgagees, said in the AIHW study that they would move in retirement in order to upsize. And why not? Retirees who want to upsize may be ‘professional grandparents’ who would like to be the centre of the extended family.

But buyer beware: more house is more work, and make sure you consider things like stairs, that can present a problem as you age.

Retire Overseas:

Destinations like Bali and Thailand are growing in popularity with retirees. With great climates, awesome food and culture, affordable health care and low cost of living, it’s hard not to want to join them in paradise.

But before you do there’s important things to consider. What happens if you don’t like it? Could you afford to move back to Australia if it didn’t work out? What are the healthcare and aged care support services like in the new country should you need them? What if the exchange rates change? How will you deal with being a long way away from family and friends? Are there rules and restrictions about ex-pats owning property, doing business, even entering relationships that you might not want to be bothered with when you’re trying to kick back and enjoy the good life?

A Family Affair:

Moving in with family isn’t an option for everyone, but if you have the right arrangement it could be a great option.

Traditionally this was the only retirement option for many, and still is for many cultures, but it has faded in popularity in the west over the past few decades. If you think it could work for you, a few things to keep in mind include: setting up ground rules on privacy; keeping communication lines open; and working out the finances and any contracts in advance to protect everyone in case drama arises. You needn’t be confined to a boxy bedroom – think about combining money with your family to give you more buying power and more options – maybe a granny flat or studio out the back of a family home.