Whether downsizing your home, relocating to a new city, modifying your existing property, or entering an independent or assisted living arrangement is on the cards, thinking ahead could create more certainty.
When thinking about your retirement, financial and non-financial considerations will all play a part.
Below we explore some of the things you may want to think about, whether you’re deciding for yourself or helping a loved one weigh up the pros and cons.
Are you thinking about downsizing your home, relocating or both?
For many Aussies, retirement may be an ideal time to downsize, possibly relocate somewhere new, or both, while freeing up a bit of extra money. Either way, there will be a variety of things to consider.
Financial considerations when downsizing or relocating
- What property and rental prices are like in the area you’re looking at, and if they’re affordable.
- How the general cost of living stacks up when it comes to groceries, eating out, transport and health.
- What out-of-pocket expenses you might be looking at, such as removalist fees, stamp duty if you’re planning on purchasing a home in Australia, and things like connecting and disconnecting utilities.
- Whether the money from your potential property sale could affect the results of income and asset tests for any Age Pension entitlements you may be eligible for.
- If you’re 65 or over and eligible, whether you may want to make a downsizer contribution into super. This is where older Aussies can put up to $300,000 into their super (or $600,000 per couple) using money from the sale of their main residence, noting various rules apply.
Non-financial considerations when downsizing or relocating
- How far the property you’re looking at is located from family and friends, and whether you know anyone in the place you’re thinking of moving to.
- What local amenities are nearby, such as supermarkets, restaurants, transport and hospitals.
- Whether the area is big on community events and if there are recreation facilities nearby (like parks, libraries, or leisure centres) and club associations you may want to join, like Leagues or Rotary.
- What the weather is like throughout the year and whether it’s going to suit you.
- How the job market stacks up in case you decide to step back into the workforce.
- What the crime rate is like.
If you’re not too sure about some of these things, that’s okay. However, if you are thinking about moving to an area that you’re not familiar with, it might be worth trialling where you’re thinking about moving to, by visiting the neighbourhood a few times, or even taking a short break and renting there for a while.
Are you thinking about making modifications to your existing property?
Rather than moving, you may be thinking about making modifications to your existing home to make it more accessible for what you might need in your future years.
For instance, you may be considering installing handrails and ramps, widening doorways, installing emergency alarms, monitoring systems or even adding sensor lights.
This could also delay the potential need to move into an assisted living facility down the track, and the good news is, if this is something you’d like to do, there may be government subsidies¹ to help you cover the costs.
If you’re looking for more information on subsidies for modifying your home, you can either check out the government’s My Aged Care website or call 1800 200 422.
Are you thinking about moving into a retirement village?
If you’re looking to downsize or reduce your responsibilities (your home might begetting too big to manage), you may be considering moving into a retirement village, which is a residential community designed for older people who are generally able to care for themselves.
Retirement villages have different living options and offer a range of leisure, social and support services, depending on whether you’re choosing an independent living centre or an assisted living arrangement.
Independent living centres typically have minimal assistance in day-to-day living but plenty of medical and recreational facilities, such as community halls, bowling greens, libraries and pools.
Assisted living centres generally offer more support with house responsibilities and maintenance, such as housekeeping, cleaning or preparing meals.
Payment models for retirement villages
There are many different payment models when it comes to retirement villages, depending on whether it’s an independent living or assisted living centre.
However, some typical costs you may come across include an entry contribution, an exit fee and ongoing charges to cover things like maintenance and general services provided by the village.
How different villages charge can vary significantly, and some residents may be subject to different payment models or special levies, which could also change overtime. This is why it’s important to read the fine print and consider speaking to a legal professional before signing anything.
Are you thinking about the potential of living in an aged care home?
By considering your options in aged care earlier rather than later, you may be able to provide yourself, or a loved one, with greater flexibility and freedom down the track.
The other thing worth noting is that moving into an aged care facility might not be the only option, with the government providing various services that could help you to stay at home for longer.
Help at home
If you’re generally able to manage, but require assistance with daily tasks, like shopping, cooking, home maintenance, personal care, travel and social activities, there are various home-care services that could support you, so you may continue to live independently in your own home.
Short-term care services provide support for a set period of time. There are three types of short-term care available, including:
- Short-term restorative care, which provides a range of services to help prevent or slow down difficulties with completing everyday tasks.
- Transition care, which is an after-hospital service available while you recover, and which can be provided in your own home or a live-in setting for 12 to 18 weeks.
- Respite care, which provides support for you and your primary carer when your carer has other duties to attend to, or if they’re away.
Aged care homes
An aged care facility (or nursing home) is typically where you live in a full-service residence and receive ongoing care and support while you live there.
These aren’t the same as retirement villages or other independent living centres, which provide facilities but not necessarily the same level of support and care that you may need later in life. If you think this is the best option for you or your love done, it’s a good idea to research and visit several residences to find the right fit.
Eligibility for different services
To be eligible for various government aged care services, you have to meet certain criteria and pass an assessment process. This can be organised through the government’s My Aged Care website or by calling 1800 200 422.
Also keep in mind that the costs of different aged care services vary and will depend on the care you’re eligible for, the provider you choose and your financial situation.