As I celebrated my 50th birthday, I realised that I was entering a new season of my life and that there were some important decisions I needed to make. The most important was, where do I want to live? I realised that I had opportunities available to me, that I did not have before.
- My children have both married and are living outside of South Africa.
- I manage my own business and spend the bulk of my time working from home in Johannesburg.
- I was starting to feel fearful about taking early morning and afternoon walks.
- and the traffic (as we all know) can be a nightmare.
I started to consider what choices I could make and a full year ago, I took the opportunity of moving to Hartebeespoort Dam. I have loved the changes that this decision has brought about in my life. I would like to share some of the research and choices that may be on your radar screen as you make these decisions. You may be surprised at the options open to you.
The Third Age
If you are close to 50 or there about, you are in what is known as the THIRD AGE. This is the season between 50 and 75 where you will in most cases be free of children, working in a flexible manner or virtually and have more disposable income and if you are lucky, even debt free. You are in good health and still wanting to experience adventure and travel and at the same time enjoy quality time with friends and family. You are certainly not ready to look for a development with frail care but there are certain criteria that will be important in a property that you may be interested in.
Space, Security, Community and Beauty
You want to wake up daily in a secure environment that offers you space, community, security, and some beauty that feeds the soul. Everyday when I look at the Magliesberg Mountains, I feel a sense of peace and gratitude for the beauty around me. This soul food can be the mountains, sea, bushveld or even a farming environment. Nature is key. A good hospital needs to be close enough for peace of mind and good sporting facilities and a golf estate will also be on the radar of many choosing this option. If the area has a good climate all year round this is an added bonus.
The city will still be important for many reasons. I come into Johannesburg at least once a week for business meetings, some shopping and connecting with my city friends. Many may even find a solution for a city/country option, this could mean keeping two homes going until you are ready to move completely. Another option is buying a small flat in the city or even to find a comfortable bed and breakfast that you use on a regular basis, a reasonable option as you have no upkeep of a city apartment and only pay when you are in town. I have many friends in the city with empty bedrooms on suite (due to empty nest syndrome) and they are happy to have me stay over. I love the fact that my home is “lock and go” and easy for me to just drive through the gate and know that the garden will be attended to and that the rest of the security and upkeep is in the hands of the estate.
Technology: a gateway to the world
Technology has changed our world. I talk on a regular basis to my children via skype and webcams. I am constantly working on my computer and grateful for the fact that technology has helped to change my world. Without this development I would not have had the opportunity to change my lifestyle. Developments need to consider the world of the future and ensure that they are helping to connect their clients to the world of the future.
Investing for the future
Investing early in this changing lifestyle could be a great decision in terms of value and your investment portfolio. The Baby Boomer generation is large and there are not enough great developments to accommodate us all. As the need increases prices will escalate and finding a property at a price you can afford will become more difficult. South Africa is also been identified as a Retirement destination for the many USA, UK and European wealthy boomers who would like to spend some of their year in a warmer climate. Having your own international retirement home elsewhere on the planet is also an option for those lucky enough to have accumulated great wealth over the past 30 years.
The future is here. The world is changing rapidly. Will you wait until you are ready for frail care to make changes or will you take the plunge now and live another good 25 years in a wonderful environment? I am glad I made the change. Come and join me in this new world.