As we get older and move from retirement and being empty nesters to needing help maintaining our independent living (when we can do everything for ourselves), our needs and wants change dramatically. There’s a lot more to retirement planning than putting away money every month for a personal pension. Here’s some of the issues that will need to be considered.
Large houses can be expensive to heat and maintain and may even feel lonely if one person is living in a large five bedroomed house on their own. If the house once shook with the noise of teenagers racing around, music blaring, doors banging, cheery mealtimes, it might seem somewhat hollow when the children have flown the nest. Some people will love the peace and quiet and the space, others may prefer the cosiness of a smaller home. Smaller houses are much more manageable in terms of maintainance and cost.
Accessing upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms can be difficult. Impossible if one has just had a hip or a knee operation but even on a long term basis, stairs can present a problem. Planning for a home with a downstairs bedroom and bathroom is something to consider as is ramp access to one of the exterior doors.
A person’s home is their castle and it is important to feel secure in your own home. Do you tend to be nervous if occasionally on your own at home? Do you need to recognise that you might want the security of living in a more secure building if living on your own or are you confident you’ll be happy still living in the same house? Some older people move into voluntary housing where they have their own apartment or small house but it has the security of a warden and other safety arrangements.
Interests and Hobbies
Some of us love our work so much that we work all hours. What happens when we retire? We don’t know what to do with ourselves. We haven’t fostered our interests and hobbies, we haven’t looked forward to spending more time reading or playing golf or gardening. It’s important to have quality ‘time out’ even when we are young but it’s even more important when we are spending less time working. Even ensuring that you have plans for spending time on hobbies or the finance for going on those holidays you have always dreamed of is part of retirement planning.
It can be very easy to feel invincible when we are young but for many of us, there will come a time when we will need a little help, we may not be as agile or as supple as we once were, we may need help getting dressed or shaving or with the cooking of meals. With families moving away to work (either abroad or to other counties), there is no certainty that daughters, son, nieces or nephews will be around to do these tasks.
Many people presume that they will go from living independently at home to a nursing home. While some of us may end our days in nursing homes, the transition is much more gradual. We can plan to maintain our independent living at home with the help of home care providers. Apart from the fact that the cost is much less and we can claim a higher threshold of tax back (41% on home care compared to 20% on nursing home fees), it would be much nicer to be able to stay in one’s own comfortable home, surrounded by favourite things, keeping to a similar routine, near to community and friends – all with the aid of home carer.
Have you made plans for your retirement yet? Would you like to share them in a comment?
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