The beginner’s guide to choosing a retirement village

Creating an effective plan for later life is becoming increasingly essential, as "many Australians will spend more than a quarter of their life in retirement", according to AMP Bank. This means that researching retirement options should be a priority for people across the country which should commence as soon as possible. 

Despite this, many people still leave planning for this stage of life to the last minute, creating unnecessary stress and worry for themselves and loved ones. This all-important process is often put off because individuals are unsure of how their golden years will take shape and where they will live. 

With more and more families spread out across the country, and even the world, moving into a retirement village can be an easy and viable option for many senior citizens. So how do you go about selecting the right over 55s village for you?

What are the financial implications?

The first thing to consider when choosing a retirement village is your finances. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), the average Aussie superannuation fund in 2011 stood at $29,000 whereas the amount deemed suitable for a "comfortable retirement" was a significantly higher $430,000. 

Housing is likely to form a considerable proportion of that amount, and so thankfully, retirement villages offer many ways to fund the home you want to spend your retirement in. When purchasing a home, it's important to understand that your retirement home is sold under a leasehold agreement, meaning the owner obtains only an interest in the land. This doesn't require paying stamp duty and the lease is registered with the government.

How will my lifestyle be affected?

Choosing a retirement village that is close to family and friends, as well as local amenities and nearby towns means that you continue to enjoy independent living during your golden years. Check that activities are put on in the community spaces in the village so you can enjoy your free time as well as find (or rediscover) interests and hobbies, plus get to know your neighbours. Healthcare and transport needs must also be considered so that you can live life to the fullest without worry.  

It's also important to bear in mind any access issues that you require, both now and in the future. Retirement villages cater for these needs, as the homes are specifically designed for senior citizens and the issues most important to you.