Photo: File IOL
Photo: File IOL

4 questions to ask when planning the ideal retirement

By Opinion Time of article published Nov 23, 2020

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This tumultuous year has prompted many people to re-prioritise, with big decisions – previously put on hold – now being made.

One notable life-changing trend has been for people to take early retirement, maximising on these golden years by indulging in personal hobbies and interests that were set aside during the working years.

“We’ve noticed a particular spike in interest following the hard lockdown, with people deciding to take their retirement sooner than they’d previously planned,” said Phil Barker of Renishaw Property Developments. “When it comes to deciding on where to spend one’s retirement years, we always advise people to consider these four questions carefully before making a decision.”

1. What is the quality of life?

A retirement residence must prioritise quality of life, and this refers to both location and convenience. In terms of location, buyers are often seeking a tranquil, nature-based setting with a temperate climate. This has seen KwaZulu-Natal’s coastal regions emerging as priority destinations. If family and friends aren’t necessarily close by, it’s important to ensure there is ease of access. The retirement estate must also have close proximity to all necessary amenities such as shopping centres and leisure facilities. For those who enjoy getting out in nature, it’s important to consider hiking trails and beaches, while those preferring to engage in sports must check out the nearest golf courses and relevant sports’ facilities.

2. Is it a financially sound investment?

While a retirement estate might seem a solid investment on paper, there are long-term factors to consider such as financial stability. An established estate will have a structured levy stabilisation fund and proof of a working governance structure. Buyers should also benefit from flexible pricing and purchase options, such as lower deposits, and the investment must promise value for money. This means no hidden costs on acquisition, and an affordable levy contribution that allows the resident to enjoy access to internet and maintenance, at no added cost.

3. What security measures are in place?

Any reputable retirement estate will prioritise residents’ security by including elements such as electrified fencing, thermal camera monitoring, 24/7 guarding, and a manned control room. There will also be access to on-site community facilities, such as a community centre, which ensures residents benefit from a range of activities without having to leave the estate.

4. Is this a sustainable investment?

Finally, a retirement estate must prove itself to be a sustainable investment that will withstand any future challenges. This requires checking the developer’s credentials, assessing the quality of the construction (poorly-built means higher levy contributions), and the provision of services. With many municipalities failing to provide basic services, retirement estates need to have detailed plans outlining the provision of power, water and usable road access within the existing budget.

PERSONAL FINANCE

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