The price of peace of mind

Move to a retirement village and live inexpensively – and in a better environment

Worrying about money is the last thing you want to do when you retire, but with the cost of living rising and incomes often failing to keep pace, it’s not always easy to ensure you can enjoy the quality of life you want at a price you can afford.

However, most buyers of homes in specially designed retirement villages, where maintenance costs are met with one annual service charge, can enjoy significant savings, as well as the peace and prosperity they dreamed of. Not only have they been released from the financial burden of running a home, they have added facilities for making their lives more comfortable.

This is welcome news for the over-60s – energy bills are expected to rise by an average of nearly £200 a year, the present economic turmoil has sliced through their pensions, and household budgets continue to be squeezed after repeated increases in inflation.

How do the figures stack up? Council tax, energy bills, water rates and home insurance now cost more than ever. Then there’s general maintenance and those unexpected repair bills, expenses that often tip the balance for people weighing up the costs of staying in their family home.

Also, as people get older, the rural idyll that was once so appealing starts to have disadvantages. Travel costs more, with recent steep price rises in fuel and car insurance hitting those on retirement income especially hard. There is also the increasing need to be near facilities and to be within walking distance of shops and GPs.

Most buyers of homes in specially designed retirement villages are enjoying significant savings, as well as the peace and prosperity they dreamed of

Hence the appeal of the retirement village. Fellow residents at Bramshott Place Village in Liphook, Hampshire, say that our energy efficient new homes save money and further savings are made in a myriad of ways, including no joining fees for clubs and organisations.

Access is available to a ready-made community of like-minded individuals and having all amenities on hand certainly negates the need to travel. Set within its own park and woodland, we all enjoy the delights of a garden without having to employ and pay individual gardeners, and weekly cleaning is included in our service charge, along with laundry and window cleaning.

On-site amenities such as a swimming pool and gym replaces the need for expensive gym membership; a library, games and meetings rooms, bar and restaurant allow us to dip in and out of events ranging from coffee mornings and wine tastings to keep-fit and dance classes, photography, snooker and table tennis. Complimentary broadband internet in the library is another saving.

Another benefit for residents facing more frequent surgery visits is that Bramshott Place Village has its own medical centre, with a nurse and GP on hand. A corner shop and restaurant cut the need for, or reduce the frequency of, shopping trips, or the expense of cooking for one.

And as the weather deteriorates, it is a comfort to know that the paths and roads at the village will be kept clear of snow.

There are also advantages that you can’t put a price on, such as avoiding loneliness, often cited as ‘the hidden killer’. There is no loneliness in a kinship of like-minded individuals, all looking out for each other, socialising and working together for their mutual support.

Bill Gair is chief executive of Urban Renaissance Villages, and is also a village resident.

Call 01428 722800