There is no one size fits all for retirement living! 19



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Deciding what to do in retirement is a difficult thing. Why? Because quite simply, there is no single image for retirement living. In fact there are several different options for a retirement lifestyle and choosing between them all can be complicated. But the first step to making the right decision for you is truly understanding what the options are.

Today we’re taking you through downsizing, upsizing, retiring overseas or going alternative. Take a look through these different options and tell us, what is the most appealing lifestyle to you?



Many people move house at or around retirement. Empty nesters may want to minimise maintenance and liquidate cash. This might mean moving away from a familiar area but you might be able to find a smaller home or a unit in your area.

You could knock down the family home and build a couple of villas or townhouses on the site, this would provide a home and an income but it isn’t as easy as it seems. Check all the costs, council restrictions and general inconvenience before bringing in the bulldozer.

Some people opt for a sea change or a tree change. This sounds great but if you are used to city life living in a small community might take some getting used to. Living in a place is not the same as a holiday. It might be pleasant most of the time but not quite the same during peak tourism periods.



Upsizing is the current term for moving in with adult kids. There are a number of pitfalls. It is not your house, not everyone gets along nicely all of the time, and even the biggest home will have a shared kitchen and lounge areas. You could be an unpaid babysitter or suffer the angst associated with teenagers in the home. Most of us have been there and done that, we are pleased to move on. Alice in the Brady Bunch was a fantasy!

Aside from that, this might still be an option. If you are thinking about it set up ground rules on privacy, work out the finances and any contracts so everyone is protected. Think about combining the family finances and buying a dual living residence, perhaps something with a granny flat. Make sure everything is in writing and legally sanctioned, even the closest families come unstuck in shared accommodation.


Retire overseas

A place in the sun has been the dream of people in Britain and Europe for many years. It works for some but not for others for the same reason most holiday destinations don’t work as a permanent lifestyle. Older people are like older plants, they don’t thrive when uprooted.

Some Australians have opted for retirement in places with a lower cost of living, such as Bali or Thailand. This might be okay but if it doesn’t work out, coming back is not going to be easy. First think about the impact on family and friends and how lonely it could be. Find out about healthcare and aged care support services in the destination country.

There may be restrictions about property ownership, business or working situations and even relationships. Caution is advised, as most Brits who bought places in sunnier climates with retirement in mind eventually return home.


Go alternative

There are a range of alternative options for retirees. If your mum wouldn’t let you join a commune in the Kibbutz when you were sweet 16, now is your chance but do your homework before taking the leap. Check out eco retreats, ‘60s style communes, co-housing and cooperative group homes. Most are centred on around a common value structure or vision.

There is no one size fits all approach to retirement living. But with some careful research and good understanding, you can make the right choice for you.


What retirement living options suits you the most? What are you thinking of doing or what have you already done? Tell us in the comments below…


This article has been sponsored by Living Gems. It has been written by a Starts at 60 writer specifically for the Starts at 60 community to help them gain important insight into their retirement living options. To find out more about the retirement resort lifestyle Living Gems offers, click here

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. we became grey nomads Geriatric Gypsies 14 years ago and will travel as long as possible then we have the option of staying at our kids place [ in our van as we do not want to move in with them ] or pull into a caravan park that caters for us and stay there, this is the option we prefer really our kids are spread across australia east, west and south and we have family up in the north. so no matter we will have family not far away

  2. Interesting article. These days it is hard because you don’t know what will happen. I worked until 69, got professional advice, planned carefully, decided we could retire with a limited lifestyle (I was getting very tired) and after only 12 months of winding down and enjoying; this rogue government happened! Hopefully we will get back to a decent Australia soon!

  3. Sold the large family home & downsized – to a caravan! spent 7 years in that before buying a small house in a lovely country town 80 kms from Adelaide. Two years later my husband died and it took me a further 5 years to decide the 1/4 acre garden was too much so I sold it & returned to WA. Not sure if that was the right move but I’m here now …. just need to set up a new network….

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  4. We retired to the Sunshine Coast in Qld from Adelaide 10 yrs ago. It was the best thing we could have done. Great lifestyle, weather and have met many like minded new friends etc. We went from a suburban area to acreage without any problems. But we were younger than most. We both retired in our mid 50s and that made it easier to adjust I think. We then started a successful business from scratch working from home. Sold that five years later. Had a ball and still enjoying it. Three of our four kids were very supportive of our move. The fourth one has now realised that we did the right thing for all of us. A good outcome. I say, just do it. Technology is great for keeping in touch with everyone and travel is easy when you’re retired.

  5. Just wondering Lesley how this government has affected your retirement? There has been no reduction in the pension as far as I know…if you are talking about the cost of living I don,t think it has been the fault of the federal government.

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  6. My hubby is about to retire next week and he can’t wait! He’s hoping to get a job for a couple of days a week in the new year just to give him an outside interest. Our plans are hopefully to stay where we are – 3 bd apartment in the Brisbane CBD – for a few years and then down-finance (same size apartment or small easy-care home for a lesser price) to top up our super just before it’s time for me to join the pension gang. In the meantime we’d love to get a small secondhand caravan but we want to look into it before committing to anything, especially as we don’t have anywhere to keep it when we’re not using it. Oh the choices!

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    • Find out from centre link how it works what you can take out from investment if you have take a lump sum out and it will be calculated how many years you can live from lump sum it happend to me and it was not used for holiday ore other useless things my pension was cut and even take out $ 2000.00 dollars for painting your house C.L.again will work out how long you could have lived from that and your Pension gets cut again.keep doing this and in the end you will not get a pension at all soI was told when I went in to asked a lot of questions. Supper is not your money touse as you please .

  7. I’m with you Lee Hauser. No changes to date so if you have a problem Lesley maybe you should speak to your financial adviser. I have been retired for 18 months (I am 65), receive a part pension, husband is 64 and on a disability pension (early onset dementia) and we are OK. It’s very easy to blame the government for everything but I don’t think this is the case at present. Not sure about the future – just have to wait and see. At the moment my glass is very definitely half full, not half empty.

  8. Retiring? Are you kidding? I’m 66 and I’ve got no hope of retiring for at least another 5 or 6 years. There’s no way most ordinary people can afford to retire at a decent age these days, taxes and costs are way too much already, and getting higher all the time.

  9. I would think about retiring if I had 700,000 in my superannuation account. Unfortunately I don’t have near that amount. I will work until I’m 70 or drop dead before hand…..

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