The Early Days of Retirement


I’m into Day 5 of retirement and already beginning to realise that it is not like a ‘Stay-at-Home’ holiday from work. During those such weeks I always felt I was up against time as there were jobs to be done before trudging back to the daily grind.

Already I am losing track of what day it is! No wonder my Mum insisted on having a daily newspaper, not to read but to remind her of the date. Thank goodness for the iPhone calendar.

Last night, because I was dealing with a few financial matters, I didn’t get to bed until after midnight, very late for me. As a person who needs a certain number of sleep hours, I would usually panic knowing full well that I had an early start the next day and without my allotted hours I wouldn’t function properly. When I finally got into bed, the voice in head told me that it didn’t matter anymore I could wake up when I wanted to – oh what joy!

One important thing I need to learn is that it is ok to dawdle, I can take life at an easier pace, there is no rush to get things done. That stomach churning panic of I’ve got this to do and have that to do and all must be done within a time scale. Not any more! It doesn’t matter as long as it is done eventually. There is a little tinge of guilt if I spend all morning doing something that should only take an hour or two and not taking out the vacuum cleaner. I didn’t like housework when I was working so I am not miraculously like doing it now. Any way why should I feel guilty?

An explanation for the pic of Little Book of Positivity:- I’m going to use it to write down things I need to do and tick them off as they are done. This is another lesson for me to learn, make lists, write notes, don’t carry it in my head – I have never been a list writer, leaving thoughts and worries whirling around in my brain, not a good idea.

It is an odd feeling knowing I don’t have to go back to the office after a few days at home. I suppose it will really strike me when pay day comes around and my bank balance fails to jump up, even if the good looking balance was only temporary.

If you are retired how did you manage the early days?

(The clip art pics are from

Exploring All Avenues

Project ‘New Home’ continues. I have a buyer who is not in a chain and happy to wait until I have found somewhere I want to live. With not much equity after paying off the mortgage I am restricted to what I can afford. Lots of things need to be taken into account:

  1. Ease of access to family and friends – so the North of England, Scotland and Wales are out of the question!
  2. With my health history I really should be near a good hospital – God forbid I would ever need it again;
  3. I must have some sort of outdoor area, even if it’s a small sunny courtyard for 30 pots at the last count to find a home for and I am happy never having to mow a lawn again; and
  4. I need to be near the sea. Some things I am not prepared to compromise on.

At the suggestion of my youngest, just to keep her happy, I looked at retirement flats an option I had dismissed out of hand. I know, I thought the same – even though they advertise for the over 60’s I am still not old enough for the communal lounge scenario.

However, exploring all avenues, let’s call this one Plan X, it had to be investigated. I went with a good friend on Saturday to view a ground floor, one bedroom flat just down the road from me. It had a lovely west facing aspect looking out on to lawns and a large patio area, just right for my pots. With a large lounge, small but decent kitchen and the bathroom, although internal, and needed the shower chair removed (!!), had recently been modernised. At a good price with money to spare it ticked all the boxes, despite the age of the nosey residents who where itching to find out who we were, I thought this could possibly suit and it meant not moving far from where I am now. I even felt quite excited at one point.

Then I looked up and saw a large crack right across the ceiling and down the wall. “Oh” said the estate agent, “that’s just cosmetic, the owner’s daughter is arranging for it to be repaired and it will definitely be dealt with before anyone moved in”. He must have thought me totally stupid and gullible, I wasn’t going to accept that. The first thing I did on Monday was ring the Estate Manager of the flats, to be told there was a major leak a year ago from the upstairs flat, the damage had been repaired but the cracks have appeared again and they are monitoring to check it is not structural – eeek! He told me it would be at least until the middle of the year before anything is done as it is an insurance issue.

Financial Folly

After reading several articles about the hidden costs of buying a retirement home, I can now fully understand why they are so reasonably priced (cheap) and notoriously difficult to sell.

Leaks leaks and more leaks

  • You are in the hands of the retirement company who own the complex and they are responsible for buildings insurance so repairs of any defect can take an age to fix. We spoke to one resident who is still waiting after 3 months for her ceiling to be fixed after a leak from upstairs. Yes, another leak – imagine how often that might happen with forgetful elderly residents upstairs who turn on taps and walk away.

The sting in the tail

  • The majority of residential home companies charge an exit fee into what is called a sinking fund. This particular company Anchor Homes charge 2.85% of the purchase price times the number of years you have lived there. So for example if I bought the flat at £115,000 and live there for 10 years, I would pay Anchor almost £33,000 on selling. As well has having paid £3,000 a year service charges.

Whilst a retirement flat rarely makes a good financial investment, they can be a life saver for some – but not for this girl!

Back to Plan A – the Isle of Wight and more about that soon.