We all want a stress-free retirement, right? But when you’re heading towards your retirement years as childfree retirees, with no kids there to potentially support you when you need it, it just needs a little more planning.
I wrote in a previous post about some of the main concerns for retirement planning as childfree retirees and how, if you turn your attention to these with plenty of time to spare, you can avoid many of the uncomfortable obstacles you might come up against.
But there’s still more to think about. As an older person with no children, how do you make sure you always have somewhere to live where you can receive the care you might need? And how do you stop yourself from feeling lonely or unsupported?
Where are you going to want to live when you’re older? This is a tricky one, because there are lots of variables. Firstly, are you going to want to stay where you are? It’s familiar and straightforward, right?
But you might want that dream retirement home with the huge garden to enjoy and plenty of room for friends or family to come to stay. In which case, are you going to need to plan for a financial outlay at the start of your retirement?
Downsizing Can Free Up Cash or Reduce Outgoings
Or are you going to want to downsize? Maybe a large portion of your retirement years will be spent away from home, ticking off some bucket list locations that you’ve always wanted to visit. If so, keeping a house that you’re away from a lot of the time might make no financial sense.
Or maybe the maintenance, cleaning and heating or cooling of an unnecessarily large home feels like a financial burden that you just don’t need.
It’s important to ask yourself early on just how you’d like your retirement to look and what your priorities are going to be. Then you can build that into your plan for where you’re going to live.
Housing Can Affect Care Needs, and Vice Versa
As childfree retirees, it’s essential to plan so that you’re also able to meet any care needs you might have when you’re older. If you always keep a spare room available, it might mean that you can remain in your own home and have paid live-in support, should you come to need it. Or you might like to look into assisted living arrangements, so a timely release of equity in a property could help cover those costs when the time’s right.
If you move towards retirement with a plan already set out, you can not only plan for your ideal scenario, but have contingency options laid out, too. That way, you’ll be prepared whatever happens and for whichever housing solution is going to work best for you. Believe me, it is possible to cover all the bases. And it’s worth it for peace of mind.
Connecting with a Community
While some people claim to be absolutely fine with their own company for extended periods of time, loneliness can be a really important thing to consider protecting yourself against as you age as childfree retirees. Some studies suggest that loneliness can reduce life expectancy, and make health problems worse.
Build Social Connections into Your Retirement Budget
It’s always wise to consider how to keep yourself firmly rooted amongst a good network of people as you age. You can build this into your financial planning for retirement, too.
When you’re thinking about your retirement budget, build in those little expenditures. They might include trips to see friends and family, even just treating those you’re close with to a meal out to strengthen those ties.
Through a rewarding hobby or group, you might find like-minded people at a similar life stage. Make sure you’re planning to keep socially active, and allow for that in your retirement spending.
Consider All the Options
Other ways of staying connected may involve moving to an area with a large retired community. You’ll find they have facilities in place just for people like you. Or think outside the box. I read recently about a guy who planned to move to a kibbutz in Israel to see out his days, and people who liked the idea of communal living with their friends.
Childfree Retirees Don’t Need a Rulebook
But you do need careful planning.
Don’t limit yourself – there’s no single best way of doing this. While there are less obvious support networks for DINKs and SINKs than there are for people with kids, retirement can be just as rewarding (probably more so?! Just don’t tell them I said that!) for people without children.
It’s all about understanding what feels good to you, and financially planning to allow as many options as possible later on.
If it feels like it’s too late to plan for a stress-free retirement, it’s probably not – but get on the right track now. Call me for an appointment – we can go through your current situation as well as your wishes and dreams for the future to get them perfectly aligned.