Retirement planning as part of your end of life planning

August 19, 2022
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end of life planning
anticipate life
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Bernadette Fulton

There are many aspects to retirement planning. Most of us focus primarily on the financial ones. On working out when we can afford to retire from employment but still maintain an acceptable standard of living.

Our eligibility for a government pension or similar financial assistance may also be an important part of our determination. We often seek advice from experts such as financial planners or accountants to assist us.

Where do you want to live?

But our retirement planning should also include thinking about where we are going to live. And the answer to this may vary over the course of our retirement years. Which is why experts recommend making a retirement plan early.

Where we will live as we age can be a difficult decision. So the earlier we start to consider the options, the better prepared we will be. And having as much information to hand as possible will be an advantage.

Retirement village lifestyle

Today there are many more options available than in the past to older Australians for senior independent living. Especially the growing number of active retirement villages and communities. And many of us are choosing these as our future home base as we make our retirement planning decisions.

There are obvious benefits of retirement village living. As well as possible disadvantages. There are a number of helpful online resources designed to assist those of us facing these choices.

The sense of community which a village atmosphere offers is often the main attraction for many people. Along with the various recreational and social activities, health care and lifestyle benefits. And retirement villages also offer safety and security as well as care support services as we age.

Downsizing from our current home may become more attractive or even necessary. For example as a means of reducing expenses and minimising the effort involved in the upkeep of a private home.

Research for your retirement planning

Make sure you research and understand all the costs involved in your choices before you make any final decision.

A licence to occupy a particular property in a village will usually require a deposit and capital investment. The arrangement is a contractual one. You don’t actually purchase or acquire any property but just the right to occupy it. Residents must pay management fees to the village operator to cover maintenance of communal areas, property renovation after expiry of the licence and other outgoings.

They also pay periodic fees paid to cover daily operating expenses like staff wages, insurance, grounds maintenance and other village services. You should check these amounts in advance as they vary.

Benefits of retirement community living

Living in a retirement village is definitely a trend for seniors considering their retirement planning. When looking to get the care they need at this stage of life they are thinking more about the pros and cons of this lifestyle choice. Many retirement communities host ‘open house’ events such as happy hour drinks. This provides a great opportunity for potential residents to get a sense of how they might fit in.

The main benefits usually cited for community living include the following:

Independence For Longer and more chance of remaining physically and mentally independent.

Connection and Community: staying socially engaged and having regular social interaction in our senior years provides physical, mental and emotional benefits. The community model allows residents to enjoy companionship and share an active lifestyle, instead of feeling isolated.

Convenience: you can dispense with the time consuming effort and costs involved with private home and grounds maintenance. Retirement village accommodation is generally lower-maintenance. And many villages also offer home care support for a fee if you need extra care in daily life. Locations are often accessible to public transport, shopping centres as well as health care, lifestyle and community facilities,

Flexibility: choices within a village can include independent living units or villas, assisted living arrangements or higher level care if needed.

Safety: in medical terms as well as physical security. Help is at hand in case of a medical emergency. Premises are usually gated and guarded and well secured. Stairs are minimal to improve safety. If you go away on holiday or for a short break the village operator can take care of your home.

But also bear in mind…

As already noted, when doing your retirement planning make sure you are clear on all relevant fees and charges and other costs related to your choices. Check contracts carefully as they can be complex. Consider seeking assistance from a legal professional.

You are giving up home ownership. And replacing it with occupancy rights and access to whatever services and resources are offered. Also, retirement village living will usually involve downsizing your living space. These factors can however be an advantage. If you plan to travel a lot it will be easy to just lock up and go with peace of mind that your home will be completely safe.

Relocating to a new area and moving away from a familiar environment, family and friends can be a challenge for many people. And as most retirement communities are restricted to those 55 and older they do not have a broad mix of social and age groups. So though retirement community living provides many clear benefits for seniors it may not suit everyone.

Start planning now

Are you nearing retirement or considering making changes to your current retirement arrangements? If so, now is the time to think about your preferences and make a plan. And discuss it with you loved ones, so they know what you want.

At the same time you might want to think about organising your other important life information and end of life wishes. These could include your funeral wishes. And even any wishes for medical treatment in the event that you lose capacity to make those decisions yourself.

Anticipate Life provides a holistic approach to organising your information and now includes your choices around Aged Care and Retirement.

Why not sign up and start your retirement planning now.