The road to retirement

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.

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“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.

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“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.


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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.