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Relocating after retirement: what are your plans?

Hanging up your boots at work brings another big decision - where will you hang your hat for the next exciting stage of your life, writes Alison Gill

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Blueprint for the future: Make plans for your home when you retire

Blueprint for the future: Make plans for your home when you retire

Blueprint for the future: Make plans for your home when you retire

There was a time when retirement meant going home, swapping shoes for slippers and instantly giving in to old age. Now that we're working harder and living longer, there has been a shift in attitude, bringing about a desire to embrace retirement and see it as a new phase instead of the beginning of the end.

With retirement, however, come big decisions, especially when it comes to where you're going to live. So what options are there for future retirees?

The one piece of advice that you'll hear over and over again is not to leave it too late to make a move. Also, research the options that are out there and talk to professionals about your finances. Hook up with those who have been through the process and look like they've made a change that you would be interested in.

Conor Gallagher of Gallagher Quigley estate agents in Fairview, Dublin, sees clients facing this complex crossroads on a regular basis. He says there are a number of factors to take into consideration when planning for your future, most important being budget and family commitments.

"The first thing you need to look at when making the decision on what to do with your property is the budget you're dealing with," says Gallagher, who believes that moving house isn't always the best option. "If you're looking for a house in the same area that's just slightly smaller than yours, it's often not worth the hassle. You'll also find that there will be a lot of competition for houses like this because there are so many cash buyers in the same situation who are thinking exactly the same way as you."

After getting a valuation on your home and being clear about your budget, family is the next consideration. "I understand the proximity to grandchildren is important," says Gallagher.

This doesn't mean that you can't make a change in your lifestyle, however. Gallagher believes buying an apartment could be an option. "Apartment living can be cool if you embrace it," he says. "If you're used to having a garage full of stuff that you haven't used in ten years, just get rid of it and simplify your life."

Gallagher says he always asks future retirees if they would consider doing something really adventurous like relocating to the West, where he says there are great-value properties on offer. "If you're near a train station, your kids can easily pop down to you and you'll get to spend more quality time with them than you did before. You could end up buying a place that's twice the size of what you had, and now you've got somewhere that the grandchildren can really enjoy.

"From a lifestyle point of view, not only is the house cheaper, but everything like restaurants and shops are less expensive too," continues Gallagher. "Nine out of ten, those who go against the flow and do something different get a new lease of life," he observes.

He's quick to point out that you need to spend years researching this before you dive in. It's important to know things like where the nearest doctor, hospital and train station are. In Gallagher's experience, retirees who are most successful in a move like this are the ones who've put an area to the test by holidaying there a few times. This way there are no nasty surprises and they are already familiar with their surroundings.

Whether you decide to move or stay put, interior designer Julianne Kelly of Kevin Kelly Interiors in Dublin believes that this next phase in life is a great opportunity to have some fun with your property.

"A newly empty nest can be a fantastic opportunity to make changes to your home," says Kelly. "Some of my clients see downsizing as their chance to finally have the interiors they always wanted. We help them to clear out clutter and move into a new property, where we work together to create a beautiful space just for them. I've had many clients who find that, now they are no longer working, they will spend more and more time at home, so investing in their house has real benefits.

"On the other hand, some of my clients are lucky enough to have grandchildren who will visit," says Kelly, "so to make this enjoyable for everyone, they like to create a dedicated room for the kids. In this way the grandchildren can come and visit, but on your terms, and the whole house doesn't have to be baby-proofed.

"Finally," says Kelly, "I have some clients who can be sentimental about their homes and find it hard to pack up all their belongings. In my experience, decluttering and freshening up the interiors has a beneficial effect. The more organised you are, the easier it will be long term as you may not have the energy to cope with the larger house later."

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