While some Aussies choose to stay in the family home in retirement, others stretch their wings and opt for a new life elsewhere. Here are some of the best places to retire in Australia and overseas.
Retirement hotspots in Australia
Here are some of the most popular retirement destinations in Australia to consider1:
Tweed Heads, NSW
Near the NSW/Queensland border, Tweed Heads has a mild climate and plenty to do with affordable dining, live music, day trips such as whale watching, and sports. It’s an area rich in flora and fauna, a large retiree population (the average age of its residents is 54) and 14 retirement villages.
Port Macquarie, NSW
With diverse topography that includes wetlands, forests and mountain regions Port Macquarie is 390km north of Sydney. It has a beautiful climate, a range of restaurants and a number of annual festivals including a month-long food festival. The average resident age is 47, and there are 13 retirement villages.
Sunshine Coast, QLD
Comprising the towns of Mooloolaba, Caloundra, Coolum and Maroochydore, the Sunshine Coast has a relaxed community atmosphere, local airport, beautiful beaches and year-round sunshine. It’s quiet and peaceful with more national parks than any other area in Queensland, but is still close to Brisbane, and has great dining options.
At the bottom of the Gold Coast, Coolangatta directly borders Tweed Heads in NSW. With a similarly mild climate, and lots to do, there are around 19 retirement villages to choose from in the area, and you get the benefits of both towns on your doorstep.
Located on the banks of the Murray River, Echuca is the closest point of the Murray to Melbourne, which is just over 200km away. Aside from the river, it has a great community spirit, vibrant culture with several annual festivals and is generally seen as affordable.
Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Only 40km from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is made up of several small communities and is known for its beaches, wineries, food culture, outdoor activities and rolling hills dotted with orchards and market gardens.
Adelaide Hills, SA
Part of the Mount Lofty Ranges but not far from Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills is a top wine producing region with cold nights and a generally cool climate. It’s also home to great food and several annual food and wine events.
Just over 70km south of Adelaide, Yankalilla is a small agricultural town with a Mediterranean climate and a cool average annual temperature of 17 degrees. It’s more about peace and quiet than a hive of activity, but beaches and the McLaren Valley wine region aren’t far away.
Eight hours south-east of Perth, Esperance has a range of outdoor activities such as swimming, walking, boating, snorkeling and bird watching, making it best suited to active retirees. Add to the mix an unspoilt coastline, friendly community, relatively low-priced housing, a local airport and an average population age of 48.
Huon Valley, TAS
Outstanding natural beauty, clean air, and relatively low living costs just 20 minutes from Hobart, the Huon Valley is also known for its produce, wine and seafood. The climate is cool, but the valley gets around 300 days of sunshine a year.
Places to consider for a retirement overseas
Perhaps jetting off for a retirement overseas is on your agenda - advances in communications technology, internet banking and cheaper airfares mean this has never been more realistic. Here’s some top options based on factors like how far your money goes, healthcare and infrastructure, size of the expat community and frequency of English2:
Malaysia offers value for money and quality of life in spades. English is widely spoken (thanks to its former life as a British colony), the roads are excellent, internet is high-speed, healthcare is world class, and it has a mild climate, beaches and low cost flights to Australia. Foreigners can buy property, easily obtain visas and bring their cars and household goods duty free.
Beaches, friendly locals, a warm climate and a laidback, low cost lifestyle are all in Thailand’s favour. Coupled with its proximity to Australia and great infrastructure, amenities, entertainment and healthcare, it’s a pretty attractive proposition.
A bit further afield, but Mexico has a low cost of living, great healthcare, excellent highways, airports and high-speed telecommunications, as well films and TV shows in English. But the local culture is still very strong, children play in the streets and neighbours remain connected. And don’t forget its great beaches and warm climate.
With friendly locals, a welcoming expat community, low-costs, top-notch cuisine, white-sand beaches, widely spoken English and lots to see and do, Cambodia is another Asian destination that also ticks a lot of boxes.
The attractions of Bali are well known to Australians as a popular holiday destination, and it seems retiring there is just as good. It’s a low cost paradise, with a good mix of things to do and peace and quiet. Although foreigners aren’t permitted to own land in Bali, you can obtain long-term land leases and build or purchase villas on your leased land. Healthcare is constantly improving and Bali has become renowned for its dental care.
It’s a bit further afield but this South American gem has a lot going for it. Beaches, mountains, rainforests and a year-round temperate climate are just some of its attractions, there’s also great healthcare and a low cost of living. Plus, this is a country that really respects its older residents – if you’re 65 and older you can access half price public transport, discounted airfares and refunds on sales taxes, plus you get to skip the queue at the bank and grocery store.
The Central American country of Panama also ranks highly for benefits and discounts offered to retirees, along with a tropical climate, and living options ranging from mountainside villages to beachfront towns and thriving cities.
First things first
Whatever takes your fancy, relocating in retirement is about more than packing a suitcase and booking a one-way plane ticket.
Be sure to get your finances in order and plan ahead first. Start by using our retirement needs planner to find out how much you’ll need to fund the lifestyle you’re aiming for.
And if you’re considering selling your home to fund your retirement, our selling the family home education module can help you work out how your home fits in with your plans.
Discussing your plans with your financial adviser is also a smart move – if you don’t have an adviser you can find one online or call us on 131 267 and we’ll put you in touch with someone who can help.
While nearly nine in 10 say they have a preference, less than five in 10 have discussed their wishes with their family. What about you?