Retirement should never be looked at as something you should adapt to. Ideally, it should adapt to you. As you age with the accumulation of a lifetime of experiences, you have superior, not inferior value. This means you deserve to experience the best of your life, now that you know who you are, how you wish to behave, and how you enjoy life.
But what you should you look for in the home you wish to live in while you enjoy your retirement? How can you best measure the life you wish to live with one you could ideally keep engaging in for many years to come? How should you feel comfortable yet engaged every single day? And moreover, what compromises should you consider making to ensure this becomes a reality?
House moves are expensive – so incorporating long term needs into your house search is essential to avoid a second move! Well, everyone has their own preferences and interests and if you have clarity in terms of how you want to spend your ‘third age’ it makes the criteria for your house move more focused. In fact we have a module in the MidLife MOT programme that helps you to clarify your long term interests and needs . Your house move can be more by design than chance.
Nobody wants to contemplate ill health in the future. While escaping to the midst of nowhere can feel like a glorious exit from the worries of society, it’s important to consider how you might need access to convenience from time to time. For example, how close you are to potential medical care could be a big seller. Of course, you needn’t remain on the front doorstep of a hospital in order to select a property wisely. But it’s important to be conveniently located to some degree, where you can get the help you need within a maximum of 45 minutes. That’s just common sense.
No Compromises in Choosing your Home for your Retirement
No compromise, or delayed compromise, can be a great attitude when attempting to figure out the acceptable criteria your property hunt demands. For example, it might be that you wish to renovate a barn area on your property but exterior to your home to serve as an art studio, and for that, you need to search for highly specific rural areas. It could be that renovation is a dirty word to you. You simply want the best home you can get, right now, with a minimal effort in maintenance aside from changing the locks.
Sometimes, you want a truly custom solution. You’ve invested in a plot of land and have held it for years, and now you know your retirement is upcoming, you wish to invest in the property you hope to live in during your golden chapter. This is where companies such as Redrow, property development outfits, can consult with you in an exceedingly professional and reassuring manner. When you build from the bottom up, you can forgo the compromises you might wish to avoid, or at least come up with creative solutions around them. This can be a dream scenario to design and build a home that fits your criteria precisely.
Loneliness can be as bad for health as smoking, so social connection is essential to living a long and happy life. This doesn’t mean you’ll attend your local church every weekend suddenly, or start attending charity drives. But you might wish to get involved with a local writing group, perhaps rent out an allotment space, or perhaps start some initiatives of your own.
To this end, you might start considering what kind of community you would best like to include yourself in ahead of time. There are no right answers here, of course, only preferences that you might hold. For example, for some, the bustle of inner-city life and the potential diversity of activities might ensure a retired couple opts for a place in the suburbs. It might be that you and your partner would prefer to experience life at a slower pace, to know the names of everyone around you, and to feel included in a village life as a result. This can also help the things you do have more impact, such as raising money for the local primary school trips, or even if not religious, donating to have the stolen lead on the nearby church replaced.
If you are thinking about a complete change of location and pace – consider spending time there on a regular basis at different times of the year before you buy. You may enjoy the tranquillity of a coastal town off season, but hate it during the busy summer months or vice versa.
And if you are thinking of moving to a quiet village – consider the ‘pint of milk’ test. How far do you need to travel to buy the basics?
The Final Settle-Down
The word ‘final’ has such an air of finality about it. As mentioned previously there are costs to be factored into moving house – not to mention moving house is considered to be one of the most stressful events in life. As a retiree, you’re likely not going to want to hop around from property to property, once every five years.
This is the time when you consider all of the goals that might have gone unfulfilled. For example, have you always craved living in a European country like France? You may enjoy life abroad at first, but what if your first grandchildren are born? Would you miss not being back in the UK to share in their early years? If something were to happen to your partner, how would you feel living there alone? Would you have a strong enough support network?
Retirement is a time of opportunity – having the right base to enjoy it is key.