Retirement is a tantalising prospect for many of us, particularly those of us in the middle of a gruelling career; thinking about those months and years of complete and utter freedom is a freedom in and of itself! If you are given in to daydreaming about the good life in later life, you might consider using that mental energy to take real steps towards achieving your ideal retirement. A key part of the equation is your living situation, or the buying of your retirement home.
Location, Location, Location
As with buying any property, your primary consideration for your retirement home is going to be location. However, your priorities are likely to have shifted in older age, requiring you to make some pragmatic decisions alongside some personally motivated ones.
For example, in later life you might find yourself requiring more medical care, or at least access to medical facilities. In this way, finding a home with good public transport links to a major city, and in close proximity to a primary healthcare centre, could become a godsend – but would preclude you from buying that rural cottage in the Highlands…
Downsizing and Rightsizing
Buying a retirement home also presents you with a unique opportunity to reap the rewards of the property market, at long last. You are likely to have been on the property ladder for some time by retirement, and you are also likely to have fewer needs regarding your home’s size; unless you intend to have a carousel of extended family visiting every day, you’ll likely only have need for one spare bedroom!
With this in mind, you might consider downsizing to a smaller property. In so doing, you can pocket the difference when you sell your current home, giving you a fantastic nest egg for your retirement financing. Downsizing would also allow you to cut down on essential utilities such as your gas bill, since you’ll have less home to heat.
With the mention of retirement finances, Pandora’s box has been opened a crack. It is the elephant in the room for most retirees, as the rising cost of living makes it harder for many to maintain the same quality of life that they enjoyed while in work. Buying a smaller and cheaper home can go a long way to making long-term retirement finances work out; also, there is the option of turning that retirement property into an asset all over again, via a lifetime mortgage or equity release scheme.
If all of this sounds like a little much to be considering for later life – or if you have conditions that are likely to make unassisted retirement living difficult – there are alternatives you can explore. Retirement communities are far from the care home experience that many expect, and can be liberating living situations that combine the best of communal living with the best of residential care. Assisted living facilities are also an option to consider, but perhaps best left to extended family.
Thinking about retirement living can be a fun activity, but thinking about later life in general is not always a walk in the park. Any decisions you make towards your retirement living situation should always be made with kindness, and with your own best interests at heart.
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