Considering a Retirement Village

Downsize with confidence: retirement living expert shares top tips

Mar 22, 2022
Take time to consider your needs and make sure the move suits your lifestyle, budget and level of independence. Image source: Getty

The decision to downsize comes about for many reasons; when your home becomes too big to manage, or empty nest syndrome starts kicking in, or simply coming to the realisation that the area in which you live has changed significantly and people have moved on. Without adequate retirement plans – like topped up superannuation funds – you may need to reduce household expenses and live frugally – or look at downsizing.

While downsizing can be confronting, it’s also an exciting opportunity to talk about the kind of lifestyle you want and deserve.

People’s homes play a crucial role in sustaining their independence, quality of life, social connections, and financial security as they age. Although it can be a difficult step, selling your home presents the perfect opportunity to free up money for your retirement and do more of the things you love.

Downsizing to a retirement village

Downsizing to a smaller home usually costs less and reduces household expenses, ultimately increasing your monthly cash flow, allowing you to do the things you’ve dreamed of in your retirement years, such as make travel plans and sign up for those classes you’ve always wanted to do.

Older Aussies often decide to move to a retirement village, such as Oak Tree, not only because of our affordable purchase models, but because they seek a retirement lifestyle with quality homes and convenient facilities.

In fact, it’s not just older Aussies who are choosing to downsize to retirement villages either. Recently, many younger retirees are doing their homework and moving because they can free up their assets and enjoy a great lifestyle, while they are still active, knowing they have security for the future.

As the Co-Founder of Oak Tree Group with over 20 years’ experience in the industry, my role is all about assisting families in making a smooth and happy transition into a retirement village lifestyle.

We recognise that moving into a retirement village is a major life transition and it can feel overwhelming. But you can have peace of mind knowing that we are with you every step of the way, both during your move and once you have settled into your new home.

If you’ve been thinking about downsizing but you are not quite sure where to start, here are my top five tips to consider before you make the transition:

It starts with a conversation

We recognise that downsizing is a transition that involves the entire family, and everyone needs support and understanding.

Health and finances are often trickier topics to navigate around the dinner table, but it’s important for parents to have the conversation and explain exactly how they are feeling. Sometimes they just need the family to say ‘it’s OK to make a move’ and that support is the best thing they could ask for.

Go exploring

If you’re considering a retirement village, set aside time to shop around to find the one that suits you best. They are all different so check them out online, then drop in for a chat and a tour.

At Oak Tree we love visitors and are happy to share our experience, even if people are not ready to decide to move in. You can even book a private tour of the village and ask to speak to residents to understand what the community is like.

Come to your own decision

We often go to our friends and family for recommendations, however with something as big as downsizing, don’t just rely on hearsay.

It’s always best to do your own homework. Retirement villages have changed over the years and they are not what they used to be. They have benefits that traditional real estate simply cannot match, like more predictable costs, less maintenance, a great social network, and a range of built-in legal protections.

The industry is also highly regulated and very transparent, so make sure you ask plenty of questions.

Understand what you’re paying for

When you buy into a retirement village, you’re buying a lifestyle not just real estate. Don’t forget the extra benefits that come included in the price, like less maintenance, security, and facilities such as pools, gyms and bowling greens.

Some people see exit fees as an added expense, but they are more like a deferred payment so you can enjoy great facilities now and pay for them when you leave.

Ensure you’re going to feel supported

When it’s time to make the move, you’re not on your own. Being part of a community of like-minded people means you won’t ever be lonely. You might even be surprised at the new friendships you’ll form.

We’ve helped hundreds of people step-by-step through the process, from selling and packing up their old home, to settling into their new one. Most people have met their neighbours and feel part of the retirement village community before they even move in. Even the physical environment is carefully designed to be safer and more comfortable as people get older and feel more vulnerable.

Unlike other retirement accommodation providers, Oak Tree are smaller in scale – an intentional decision to help foster a closer-knit community environment where you can form new friends easily, belong and contribute as part of a community, feel a sense of security and still live independently with all of the freedom and privacy you deserve.

Explore other important factors to consider before making the move and download the helpful free checklist put together by Starts at 60 in partnership with Oak Tree: “Considering a Retirement Village: The Ultimate Checklist”. 

This free e-guide is packed with critical information and easy-to-complete exercises to help guide your journey into retirement living.

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