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?:
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
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
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.
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
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.