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10 key steps to planning for retirement

Published: 29 October 2015

When moving house don’t try to do everything at once. Write a to-do list and and move at a pace that you feel comfortable with

Moving into a retirement property can mark the start of an exciting new chapter, with opportunities to make new friends, explore a new area and pursue lots of new interests that you might never have had time for before

Follow these 10 steps to make your move a happy one:

1. Research

Think hard about what kind of property you will need and what kind of area you would like to live in, and draw up a list of essential requirements, if need be dividing them into must haves and would-like-to haves. Do you want to be close to your family, or near a train station, or a large hospital?

Do you need two bedrooms, to be on the ground floor, to be within walking distance of the library? Amanda Tomlinson, the marketing manager for Retirementmove, the UK’s specialist national property agents for retired living says: “Research is really important to. Make the decision that is right not just for today, but which will still be right in five or ten years’ time.”

2. Recce

Once you have identified the area you wish you move to, it is really important to actually spend time there yourself before taking the plunge, both in the retirement property itself and in the local area. Take a good look around, are the shops near enough to walk to, and open when you would like them to be open?

Are the facilities you need, such as swimming pool and leisure centre, accessible at all times of year? If possible go and visit the area at different times of day, and in different types of weather, to check whether it is still a place you would like to live.

Tomlinson says: “Go and spend time in the retirement home development. Sit down in the lounge and have a coffee, see what the other people are like and see if you think you could live there. It is important that you feel comfortable.”

She adds: “Bear in mind that when you move in you may have a car but within a few years you may not be driving. So make sure there is a doctor’s surgery you can walk to, and a shop where you can buy a paper and milk.”

3. Downsize and declutter

The whole point about downsizing is that you are going to move into a smaller, more manageable place. So now is the ideal time to get rid of all those items that are old, or broken, or that you have never worn or used for years. It can be a wonderful feeling to clear out years of unwanted stuff, and your local charity shop will thank you for it.

Use this opportunity to talk to your family about those precious heirlooms and other items that you want to keep in the family and hand down for future generations to enjoy. You can make this a fun time of shared family memories and the idea of passing them on to the next generation. 

You could even take the opportunity to give special items or jewellery to loved friends and family now. It will be so much nicer to give them now while you are still around to tell them how much they mean to you.

4. See this as a beginning, not an end

Retirement is a huge change in anyone’s life and that means it can sometimes feel a bit daunting. Allow yourself to fondly remember the good times you spent in your old house, but then look forward to all the new memories you are going to create in your new home.

5. Get expert help

There are lots of services you can call on to make your move easier, from removal firms which will do the packing for you to experts who will declutter your home. Use them. Retirementmove, for example, is a one stop shop which can help manage the entire process from decluttering to house movers. 

It also runs a part exchange programme which can really help speed up the process as they will buy your existing home from you so you can buy your new build retirement property without delay. Your home will be valued by an independent RICS qualified surveyor and Retirementmove will agree a purchase price with you. No need to wait until you’ve sold your existing home to buy and move into your new retirement home – you can begin your new life straightaway.

6. Stay in touch with family and friends

This is important – surveys show that staying in touch with old friends is a key component to living a long and happy life. Make sure you make it easy for them to come and visit by choosing an area with good transport links – a fast motorway, a regular train service, a good bus route and so on. Then find a property which is perfect for entertaining – with a good sized reception room, a guest bedroom and parking available outside.

7. Take it one step at a time

Moving house can be stressful at any age so don’t try to do everything all at once. Write a to-do list and carry it with you everywhere, and move at a pace you feel comfortable with. Tomlinson says: “It is a huge emotional decision to move into a retirement house because usually people are moving from their family home where they have spent many years. It is a big step.”

8. Spare yourself the chores

The last thing you want to do in retirement is spend hours with a screwdriver and paintbrush repairing and fixing things, so choose a low maintenance property which is ready to move into.

9. Let someone else do the gardening

Gardens are lovely to look at and enjoy but they are really hard work to maintain, particularly as you get older. Either factor in the cost of a weekly gardener, or choose a retirement property that has, or even better, overlooks communal gardens that you can enjoy without any effort on your part.

10. Go for it

Retirement is the one golden period in your life where you can truly stop for a while and decide what it is you really want to do with the time you have left. A survey conducted by Retirementmove into Life’s 50 Golden Rules found that staying optimistic and laughing as much as possible were key to having a happy and fulfilling life.

The survey of 1,360 adults aged 60 and over also found that making the most of each day and enjoying the later stages of life was a great remedy for any regrets, with 60 per cent of those asked saying they usually live life with a smile on their face day to day.




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