The road to retirement 21



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Retirees Bill and Gitta Malkin planned their future carefully but as their journey continued, the route changed. The destination is very much to their satisfaction, how they arrived makes interesting reading and may help smooth the way for others.

Bill says the adventure began when they built a home at Flagstone about four years ago. “We intended to stay there for about 10 years and then buy a smaller home and a motorhome to better explore Australia,” he says. “We purchased a caravan and commenced our exploration.

“About 18 months ago we were driving back from Beenleigh and noticed Opal Gardens. We wondered what it was. A little later we decided to have a look. We dropped in on impulse and were given the royal tour of the resort facilities and many vacant villas.

“We were impressed as Opal Gardens fitted all our requirements. We looked at the site plan and decided we would like to live in a place like Opal Gardens but it was a little early to make the move.

“We decided to look at as many similar resorts as possible. We looked at several in the Brisbane and Beaudesert area and in Canberra. For various reasons none of these suited our needs. Further investigation on the internet produced a similar result.

“We decided we would like to live in Opal Gardens, we thought we had plenty of time to follow our initial plan. We reviewed house plans at Opal Gardens and met sales manager Sherry. Sherry arranged a visit to an occupied villa because she thought the design would suit us. All those involved in the inspection were very considerate.

“Having decided on a house design we set about rearranging the interior to better suit our needs and the size of the block. During this process we pestered Sherry with a myriad of questions, she was most accommodating. We continued to review the site plan and noticed that the number of vacant blocks were fewer and fewer.

“We were invited to a number of Opal Garden functions and welcomed by the people we met. Sherry offered many solutions to our situation but the undeniable truth was that available land was diminishing at a rate faster than our family plan could accommodate,” Bill says.

Last year Bill and Gitta went through a life experience most retirees go through. A number of their friends became very ill or passed away. Bill says they decided to reassess their plan. “We realised we were waiting another six years to do what we really wanted to do now,” he says.

“The decision was made. A deposit was placed on a villa at Opal Gardens; we ordered the motorhome and contacted real estate agents. By then it was nearly Christmas so we decided to put the house on the market in January.

“Before we knew it the house sold. Luckily we had already started the downsizing task. During our lives we have moved more than 20 times so this process was not foreign to us. Despite this, downsizing from a 34 square home to a 19 square home was most challenging; it required a ruthless approach to those things we held near and dear.

“Our house sale settled before our Opal Gardens’ home was completed. We were offered a transitional villa and quick as a flash the removalists were packing us up. Since arriving at Opal Gardens we have attended a number of functions (eight in seven days) and have been welcomed by everyone we have met. Even at this very early stage we feel part of the community and are enjoying ourselves immensely,” he says.

Bill says they are looking forward to continuing their induction into the Opal Gardens and Logan Village community. “We pick up our new motorhome in October; we are now pursuing our retirement dream,” he says.

Bill and Gitta have six children, three live in the USA and three in Australia. Their 16 grandchildren are equally split between the two countries.


What’s your biggest hope for retirement? What detours have you taken along the way?

This story is sponsored by Living Gems. It was written as we feel it provides the Starts at 60 community with valuable insights into an important topic. Learn more about the beautiful Opal Gardens over 50s resort on the Living Gems website.


Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. Can’t wait for retirement but still a few years off 🙁

  2. I don’t know if I could live in one of these places. I think there would be too many old people there. Can you have children stay their for school holidays. Can you have pets. These are a lot of questions I would be asking.

    3 REPLY
    • Not all retirees consider themselves “old” people. At 63 I am loving the independence living in a resort affords us. More time to socialise and enjoy ourselves and our new friends. Visitors, including children, welcome to stay and we have our pets for company too.

    • I guess I just prefer living in suburbia. One question why do you have more time to socialise Did you both give up work before you moved there. My husband still works.

    • Don’t worry people get finders fees for finding retire’ees to live in there resorts just attach yourself to a group of community works or church people and they will most certainly pop up

  3. We have just moved to a retirement village Wendy Biden and absolutely love it. Decided to move while we were still fit and able to enjoy things, build friendships and secure our lifestyle as we get older. Can have our grandchildren for sleepovers and people who already had pets were able to bring them.

    3 REPLY
    • Yes Jill Howard – everyone said we’ve done the right thing moving in before we “need” to, and have the security and added benefits in place as we age. Totally agree. Life is so good!!!!

    • So good to see that you can take your pets with you. Forever seeing organisations here in Perth trying to find homes for little dogs because owners are moving into villages that won’t take pets.

  4. It takes a lot of courage sometimes to do the downsize thing. I think it is good SAS are telling people how what and why to help people making up their mind on what to do. We could not imagine downsizing to the boring little homes anywhere near us and when we realised we really couldn’t keep going physically with our acreage and big home we were really upset. Then we stumbled on a little villa by the water and we suddenly, and happily, realised that it was a lifestyle we were looking for, not a house. I’m sure these villages are just that, a new lifestyle, and not one where you are cut off from the society around you.

  5. We downsized from a three level house to a two level townhouse but wish I had stuck to my guns of wanting to buy a single level house or villa. However, we are within 5 minutes’ walk of shops, railway station, library and cafes, and 10 minutes’ walk to hospitals, so it is a very convenient location. Just takes me ages to vacuum the stairs!

  6. Looks amazing just wish Sydney had these available but they are all up the North Coast absolutely nothing South unless of Sydney. We have looked

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