Education | Quick read

How to talk to your kids about what you want in retirement

While selling the family home can be emotional for the whole family, there are so many benefits to downsizing in retirement. Here’s how to break it to the kids.

Starting a conversation about life after work is one that few people willingly initiate. Most of us would rather take the dog for a walk, weed the garden or empty the dishwasher.

But putting off difficult conversations is not really a solution. Experts say it’s best to start planning for your retirement years while you are still fully in control of things – and without any external pressure. All those household chores can wait.

Kate Melrose, General Manager of Project Sales at Ingenia Communities, says people who are thinking about retirement should consider all of their options, including downsizing.

“It’s unfortunate that both retirement and downsizing have negative connotations,” she says. “But what we are really talking about is taking control of the next stage of your life.”

Selling the family home can be a heart-rending move for some couples, which is why Melrose believes that parents need to keep their children in the loop. “But it’s not easy,” she says. “Even couples struggle to open that dialogue among themselves.”

While the family home may be a treasure-trove of shared memories, it can also become a burden to older people. Selling liberates much-needed capital, removes overheads and frees people from constant household and garden maintenance.

“Freed of the family home, couples can get on with living the life they really want, and ticking off their bucket list,” says Melrose.

Baby Boomers reaching retirement age are also aware that their children face many challenges of their own – such as maintaining their incomes, paying the mortgage and seeing their own children through school and university. “Boomers don’t want to be reliant on their children or impose a burden on children who might be bringing up their own offspring,” says Melrose.

New lifestyle land-lease options, such as Ingenia Lifestyle communities, make the transition into retirement easier since investors pay no stamp duty, rates or exit fees and have access to a wide range of facilities, plus support if and when it’s required.

“There’s a strong tribal need to belong to a community,” she says. “Most of our members are attracted to a sense of belonging that they find at our lifestyle communities.”

While adult children may be reluctant to say goodbye to a property that contains so many fond memories, choosing a new community that suits your current and future needs should ease their concerns.

“Traditional forms of retirement living have limited appeal because of the complex contracts involved,” says Melrose. “It’s easy to see why lifestyle communities are the fastest-growing retirement option in Australia. There are no entry fees, no exit fees and, if you qualify for a pension, you will receive government rent assistance.”

An often overlooked benefit of community living is the security that comes from living in a neighbourhood of friends. Knowing you have people close by to call on if you need some support can be very reassuring for family.

And, apart from the obvious financial advantages and safety benefits, Ingenia Lifestyle residents also have access to a range of resort-style facilities, such as swimming pools, fitness rooms, communal gardens and clubhouses which provide residents with a multitude of social opportunities from small interest-based social groups to large community parties and celebrations.

“People often tell us that they downsized in order to do more travelling, but now they are so busy they don’t have the time to go anywhere,” she says.


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