One of the questions you have to ask yourself when you start getting close to your retirement is where you will spend your retirement years. You must consider if you can afford to live where you want to, if there will be space for you and if pets are permitted to live on the property, if you have any. You might also want to think about your support structure – if you have family and friends close enough to home, or if you need to consider a facility with support staff.

Staying at home

Living in a house might have suited your lifestyle during your working life, especially if you had to take care of your spouse and children. When children ‘leave the nest’ the space can seem larger and perhaps no longer necessary.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Your home is your home and your rules apply.
  • The maintenance costs for a house are great and you will be responsible for the security in your home.
  • Security might become an issue.

You might decide to sell a large house and buy a smaller house, which you can always extend or alter. You could buy property in a complex, perhaps a flat, townhouse or cluster home.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • More secure, especially if you have to go on holiday – you can just lock up and go.
  • Living in a complex means you pay levies, which could be increased beyond your budget.
  • As a sectional title holder you must comply with ‘house’ rules and body corporate decisions and you cannot extend or alter your home without body corporate approval.


If you’re thinking of renting property, there are some factors to consider:

  • Budget for rental increases.
  • The landlord will be responsible for repairs and maintenance costs, but might not maintain your property very well.
  • Sign a lease so you can be sure of your tenure.
  • Know that you cannot alter or extend to suit your requirements.
  • Consider that you might not be allowed to keep pets.


If you are considering sharing your accommodation,

Advantages Disadvantages
  • It lessens the burden of maintenance expenses.
  • You get to share domestic chores or the costs of a domestic worker.
  • You have the companionship of the people you are sharing with.
  • It could mean more security, taking into account the increased number of people in the house.
  • It is a major adjustment on your part because you will have to accommodate another’s lifestyle and you will have to deal with the loss of your privacy.

Retirement villages

Contrary to popular belief, retirement villages are not for the elderly just waiting to disappear from life. Most retirement villages these days actually encourage people from as young as 50 to become owners or tenants. Retirement villages offer a number of options for living on the premises – you can own your own home or rent one for life (this is known as a Life Right). There is also the Sectional Title option or the Share Block scheme option. You would have to shop around to find out what works best for you.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • You might find it stimulating to be part of an environment where your neighbours share similar interests.
  • Services on site might include:
    • Prepared meals
    • Domestic assistance
    • Security
    • Maintenance
    • Transport
    • Recreational activities
    • Frail care.
  • Increasing levies. If you have chosen to rent for the rest of your life this could mean that there will be no legacy to pass on to your children.

Old age homes

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Like retirement villages, old age homes provide a good, friendly environment in the presence of your peers.
  • Old age homes are generally subsidised by the government and are therefore more affordable – the price includes all meals, laundry and cleaning.
  • You can be assured of medical care if you are in prone to illness.
  • Old age homes go to considerable lengths to make sure you are well looked after as far as entertainment and security are concerned.
  • Becoming a tenant in an old age home can take a while as the homes generally have long waiting lists.
  • Due to the high demand, you might have to share a room with another retiree.
  • If you need extra medical attention, you will have to pay a higher tariff.