For many Australians, retirement is the beginning of an exciting new chapter.
You can finally step away from the hustle and bustle of work and spend your days doing the things you love.
But getting older is not without its challenges. As you age, you may experience health problems or mobility issues. Plus, if you don’t have the support of family and friends close by, it can also be lonely. Choosing the right place to live is critical to meeting these challenges – which means assessing your current home and deciding if it will meet your changing needs in the years to come.
Here are 5 signs that your home is not the ideal place to retire.
The most common reason retirees move is to downsize. While it may not seem so long ago that your house was bursting at the seams, if your kids have now moved out on their own, the extra space you’re left with can be a real burden.
Because there are more rooms, you’ll spend more time cleaning. And even if your extra bedrooms are not in use, they’ll still get dusty, or worse, become a room to dump your clutter. Plus, you’ll also be paying much more for heating and cooling in a larger home than you would be in a smaller one.
Another key factor for retirees choosing to move is to reduce their home maintenance tasks. While it is lovely to have a big yard with a big garden, it is a lot of work to keep it looking good. And as you get older, manual tasks can become harder to manage. This means there may come a time when you’ll need to either hire outside help, or move somewhere that is less maintenance.
This can be a tough decision to make, especially if gardening is a favourite pastime. Over 55s communities can be a good option, and some, like Village Lifestyle Park in Traralgon, offer retirees their own fenced block. This gives you a low maintenance lifestyle while still allowing you to have a small, private garden to tend. There is also a communal vegie patch so you can grow your own produce too.
Sloping Block or Stairs
Even if you still get around well now, the reality is that most of us will find it hard to navigate stairs and slopes in our latter years. So, if your home is on a hill or has internal or external stairs, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and act before it becomes difficult, painful or dangerous to get around.
In some cases, a ramp can be installed for ease of access. But depending on your home, this is not always practical or affordable. Another drawcard of retirement and lifestyle villages is that they often come fitted out with ramps, grab rails and step-in showers.
Whether you love your current neighbourhood or not when you retire, your priorities and needs will change, and where you live now may not adequately meet them. Because getting around becomes more of a challenge as the years go on, you need to be sure you’ll be able to reach the facilities and services you need. Will you be able to get to the shops easily if you no longer drive? And are their medical facilities within easy reach?
Also have a think about where your family and friends live. Retiring means you’ll have more time to socialise, so you’ll want to have the people you are close to nearby.
Another reason retirement planning is essential is to make sure you can enjoy this stage of your life without the burden of financial pressures. Whether you own your home, or are paying it off, moving to smaller or more suitable house in a retirement community provides an opportunity to release yourself from unnecessary financial strain.
It’s well worth speaking with a financial planner who specialises in retirement planning. They can assess your situation and work with you to come up with a plan that will set you up to live your retirement years to the fullest.
For some, the family home might be ideal for many years to come. But for most retirees, a move to a more suitable home will be something that needs to be carefully considered – and with a little forethought, planning and courage, you might just find it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.
Over to You
Are you thinking of downsizing and have questions? Or have you made the move already and have some tips to share? We’d love to hear from you.
Want to know more about deferred management fees and other traps related to lifestyle villages? Download our FREE guide, 20 Questions You Must Ask BEFORE Choosing a Village.