Many Baby Boomers are about to enter retirement age. It’s time to think about what are they going to go in this critical stage of their lives. How important is the aspect of accommodation planning in retirement? What are options that are available? How important is planning before one reaches the critical point? Once again, the amazing Booms Day Prepping panelist come together on the program to discuss this very important issue that concerns all Baby Boomers.
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Booms Day Prepping. Our regular look at life in the future years for Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers all are gathered as usual and we have our usual cohort – Glenn Capelli, Bron Williams and Brian Hinselwood, we’re missing today Amanda Lambros. She’s in transit somewhere around 30,000 feet I believe and your hosts as always Dr. Drew Dwyer and I’m Wayne Bucklar. Today we’re talking about well something that’s going to be near and dear to all of us before too long, we’re going to talk about an accommodation plan in retirement and in particular, just how important is it? And to lead us off, Dr. Drew Dwyer.
Dr. Drew Dwyer: So good morning everybody. Hello, welcome to the show. Hello listeners. I like this subject as I do probably with most but in a space for Baby Boomers to reflect on where they are today, where they’ve been in the past and probably where they’re going in the future in regards to thinking about their accommodation plans. Where they’re going to live and how they’re going to be accommodating themselves as a space to live, and to retire and even going further into that last third and final stage of life where will you be, where will you live and who will be around you probably in that space. And it’s a conversation I think that has to be had, it’s a good reflection process for a lot of Boomers and older people particularly because it’s always different for everybody that I consult with or talk with or share space with when having this conversation. We spend a majority of our lives as young people probably, I know it was for me, moving out of home early, finding accommodation, sharing accommodation and taking the journey, the enjoyable journey of learning and understanding what it’s like to live with others, flatmates, people you might share accommodation with in your youth. Of course, perhaps for some of us, marrying and settling down, finding a life partner, maybe two or three if you’ve been an exciting person, moving accommodations, sharing your life with someone perhaps as you move through different jobs, changing your location and accommodation because of your employment. But then we move into a stage where we become a bit older and wiser and we want to make a few plans or settle ourselves down. In Australia of course, we have that white picket fence scenario where it’s the age-old cultural process of buy a house, get a mortgage, settle down, raise your family. And for many people who are Baby Boomers, that’s more than likely been their pathway or journey. And then of course, the big question is where are you now? Where’s your accommodation? Are you comfortable in it? Is it a stable and normal accommodation going forward or will it be a continuous transient accommodation you haven’t made plans and you’re one of these people that will sit back and see what life brings you. Now in this aspect, the listeners and the panel I want to ask them because I have not only relatives but close friends that don’t have a mortgage, don’t own a house, they’ve made a transition to the new age of living and I often have a personal fear for them that what are they going to do when they reach the place or point where they are retiring or semi retiring perhaps, looking at the aged pension or living off their Super and how will they accommodate themselves? Where will they be accommodated in that first stage of retirement? Who pays for that accommodation and what plans are people making and what do you have so that you see accommodation as a big aspect. For me, accommodation and housing is a major aspect of the way. We protect and secure our lives, it’s a belongingness and security issue when we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Need and it’s something that must considered in the plans of all people as they age and get older. So to the panel I ask, give us a quick brief of your accommodation journey from the past to where you are now and do you have any plans in regards to your accommodation in your retirement? What do they look like? And I’ll ask Bron to open the floor.
Bron Williams: Well, well, well yes, I don’t know whether mine is typical or atypical? But I’ll tell you. I didn’t live out of home before I got married, so I got married from home, set up house, married for 28 years left that relationship because it was toxic and emotionally abusive. And that was when I was 50, so I started again at 50 with nothing and went back into rental accommodation. Went then joined the Salvation Army and was given furnished accommodation which was fantastic so I kept safe. However, I was not going to be able to stay with the Salvation Army until retirement because at retirement, there was no nothing available for me because I wouldn’t have the longevity of service to then be able to go into some sort of housing with the Salvos. So at the ripe old age of 60, I took my Super and decided to start a business to hopefully that’s what I’m working on now to have some income. Of course, when I left the Salvation Army, I left accomodation and so I’ve been house-sitting now for two years, totally get it. So I probably fall into the statistics of the homeless, very much looking for a place to belong and certainly understand the difficulties of women I think particularly in my age group who do often find themselves in a similar position to the one that I am in. Through no real fault of our own, it’s just the way life works out. Do I have plans? Absolutely. I’m working my butt off to establish a good income so that I can get back into a mortgage situation or at least a rental situation. So again at 62, am I a good rental risk? I don’t know how people see me in that regard. But I’m still working at it and I think I will be working at it, but certainly very aware that I am in a precarious or particularly precarious situation. I stay safe but yes, not an easy journey.
Dr. Drew: I think plans that you write down Bron. Are they conscious plans and subconscious thoughts that as a woman in their 60s who as you state probably falls into the category of homeless? And I just stated there to let everybody know some of the statistics I sit around homelessness from the US, the UK and Australia and particularly is that they currently have a statistical record that 11% of women in your age group are living in a homeless transition and the fear of this is that more than 33% of women in this transition will become homeless without accommodations over the next 10 to 15 years. So they have an expectation in the social services that a large majority of elderly or older women around about the 70 to 75 up sit in a very high risk factor of being homeless or not having accommodation and it’s a huge fear for the feminist movement, for the women’s movement generally because as the statistics state from divorce, from separation or from a partner dying and the wife or the female not understanding or not having a hold of the financial security and all of a sudden, that death or that separation has left or exposed the woman to a new space of, “I didn’t know my house wasn’t paid off. I didn’t know the mortgage wasn’t where it was or I didn’t know we did not own a home or the property.” So is it a conscious thought for you who lives in the space, do you worry about it or is it something you just let flow through you hoping the energy in the world will you bring you what you need?
Bron: It’s a huge worry. I’m very aware of the precariousness of my situation. And yes, I still have a plan, it’s not necessarily written down. But I am working towards being financially secure and once you’re financially secure, then being able to be have secure housing. So yes, that is my plan. But I think that one of the things that you realize as you get older too is that the best laid plans often go array and so certainly my plan when I was in my 20s, 30s and 40s was to be married and to have that settled home and now those plans did not eventuate because of the life situations.
Dr. Drew: I’m going to come back to that thought. Glenn, being a person who I would assume lived a life of Gulliver’s Travels and traveled the world, where did your journey take you? How was you thought about accommodation and housing and where is it now and what are your plans for the future?
Glenn Capelli: Love it Drew. I’d like to re-introduce the topic and we did this one on ABC radio decades ago and then on 3AW in Melbourne. And I asked every listener to think of what their nomadic score is and I’d ask us all to think of our nomadic score and how you work out your nomadic score is one, how many years you’ve been on the planet and then how many places have you lived in? And the rule is 3 months or longer, so they’re many, many places I was there for one night, or two nights or a week in 7 years of being a hobo or now traveling around living in hotels and what-have-you. But I’ve got a nomadic school somewhere around about 13 or 14 and the higher your nomadic score, the more nomadic you’ve been and then the lower, we had one chap who rang in and said that he is still in the house that he was born in, lived in up with his mum and dad, bought it from his mum and dad and he’s never been anywhere else and he is 68. So his score was one place 68. And how much you’ve moved around I guess gives you a chance to think of how well are you with flexibility. And how do you think a lot of people when they get a place they just want to stay there and they like doing the old Jackson Browne or Morris Williams wrote the song “Stay.” They just stay. Or are you more than Lee Marvin born under a wandering star? And at what age do you then considerable? How many more moves do I reckon I’ve got? So Lindy and I, we live in a house now, that first house we’ve ever built, Lindy designed it, it’s on 5 acres, we love it, it’s a great community. It’s in a totally different state than the state that I was born in and the state that Lindy was in. I’ve lived in several different countries – United States of America, Israel for a long period of time. So I’m quite used to the flexibility of shifting and moving and that means that I’m quite used to the idea of shedding things and doing “rid of” and living with “less of.” And I think this becomes important because if you’ve got a big place and you’re living in it and you’ve got many rooms because guests sometimes arrive or grandchildren come and stay once a year, then you’ve pretty well got a place that suits others and maybe doesn’t suit you. And how flexible you are with going, “Okay, now I think it would be a couple more moves before I make the ultimate move and move on from this planet.” And that ability to live with a little bit of flexibility and I think it also means that at a society level Drew, we need to have more flexibility and more options available for people as they age. We don’t have any children, so I don’t know who’ll be at my deathbed. In the best of all possible worlds, I may be choosing to administer something inside myself when it’s my time to move on from the planet and that might be a legal process by the time that comes around. So yes, I do think about this, Lindy does think about this and we think we’ve probably got a couple more moves ahead of us before we make the ultimate move. But we’re quite used to doing that and got a quite a bit of flexibility with it and maybe, that’s something we all need to consider. And those flexibility, and options, and ability to make choices, and live with a little bit of “less of” and do a little bit of “rid of” as we travel through life.
Dr. Drew: I hear those Russian counterparts of yours coming through thick and thin there Glenn. And Brian, from the perspective of the thespian, how is this subject and where do you look at from yourself being a free person?
Brian Hinselwood: Right. Well look, I left home at 15 and sort of fended for myself. And in my early 20s, I spent on and off. And best part of 7 years, hitchhiking around Europe and Asia, constantly going back to the UK to earn a few more pounds to carry on traveling and I eventually hitch hiked to Australia. So I was just trying to mentally work out the thing that Glenn said for how many places have you lived? I’m terribly glad that he said that a 3-month minimum was the criteria. But I think I lived in probably a dozen or more places for 3 months or more.
Dr. Drew: Wayne tell us from your own existence and of course being a person who’s been on the go and in the move quite a while in your life, have you found where would you like to take your journey accommodation wise? Have you found that special place that you’re going to stay?
Wayne: Well I’m not so sure that it’s where I’m going to stay because I’ve never stayed in one place for terribly long. In the days when I was married, work caused some shifting around, working a job where you’re transferred from one place to another. And then since I’ve become a sole agent back into rental accommodation, and apartments and the beauty of rental accommodation of course is you can give vent to that getting sick of some place and just decide to move on and 3 or 4 years, I tend to do that. These days, I’ve actually moved overseas. I’ve shifted both my life and my business focus into the Philippines. And I take Glenn’s point about packing, I mean I decided when I came here that I would only bring my allowance on the aircraft so 30 kilos, and so 1 suitcase and 30 kilos and that was it, that was me. Everything else went to the auction block. So I’m becoming more friendly with Glenn’s Russian friends in doing “rid of” and “less of” with much less pain now than I used to have. Going back into my 40s, there was a necessary reason to keep the old fridge motor for at least 10 years in case it came in handy one day. So these days, Less Of and Rid Of are friends of mine and my plans for the future depend on that other Russian More Of because it’s a bit like Bron, I’m not in a situation of being well superannuated into my retirement. So there’s a need to keep earning money and the plans largely depend on the income. So I would happily like to live in the Taj Mahal. I can add for those people who are reaching for their keyboards to complain now. I know no one lives in the Taj Mahal, it’s an expression folks, don’t pick on me. But I quite like stylish accommodation in the luxurious places of the world but if you don’t have the money, then you can’t live there.
Dr. Drew: That’s true Wayne. This is part of the aspect of looking at accommodation. We have the factor of the Grey Nomads when Glenn talks about Nomadic scoring. And the Grey Nomads are consistently becoming a larger and more focused or bigger identity within the world and globally. These are the elderly or the older retirees that do “less of,” get “rid of” but then buy “more of” other objects, items, mobile homes, caravans and RVs and then they spend a considerable amount of time and try to on the Nomadic sale – traveling around, seeing the world, living and spending their livelihoods as they caravan, and commute and take a nomadic journey around the different countries, places that they’ve always wanted to see in their bucket list. A great thing to do when you can afford it. Some of the interesting things that sit around this is that one, when you look at statistics from the epidemiology on this, the women are the first ones to want to keep this in touch. It’s generally a male dominated or driven passion. So you’ll generally find a lot of RVs, caravans and things like this on the market with very little kilometres as a result of after the first 6 months, 12 months of doing it, the wife has thrown the hat into the ring and said, “No, put me back in a house. I don’t want to do this anymore.” And of course, those objects become “less of” as they try to squeeze their lives back to their house, and their mortgage or maybe their debt-free home so they can get more of something else. So Glenn’s Russian friends play a big significant role here in the transitions of retirees and Boomers as they keep and look for accommodation. But one of the aspects of accommodation that’s not often considered or playing into for Boomers and retirees is that end stage accommodation. And it’s a tough question to ask people and that is where do you plan or what is your thoughts and processes on where you will spend the end stage of your life? Where will you be accommodated? Recently in Australia, we’ve just had a 104 year old professor and has sorted his life out sold everything off and taken the journey over to Switzerland to euthanate because he’s reached the end of his life. It’s quite a big media focus at the moment and he’s made it very clear to the elderly cohorts that as an academic, eloquent and an emeritus person in the country, he’s pushing the message once you reach a point, there’s no more left, there’s nothing more to have and off you go. But it’s not a point of subject that I want listeners to focus on, it’s the point of where is your accommodation plans at that very late stage? How long will that be? For some people, it’ll be the case of they will want to live in their own home forever. My advice is to all the Boomers to make sure that home is debt-free so that you don’t have any financial burden because the risks of trying to get rentals in your retirement are extremely difficult. A rental agency will not want to rent to somebody who doesn’t have a steady income or an income that is consistent. And of course, what does that accommodation do for you when you transition into an end-stage and unwell stage or palliative stage of your life? So for me, I’ve been quite nomadic, the military made my wife and I very Nomadic. We did settle down with our children and marriage and raised our children down at home. And now we’re downsizing, we’re getting “rid of” and planning to move into a smaller house more suited to our next stage. And our next stage is a small place to live, very centralized that we can walk, stay active and mobile. But I will say when it gets to end stage, I’ll be quite happy to transition into a retirement village community or a nursing home at the end stage of life so I can be cared for with a bit of dignity and respect and probably pass away knowing that there’s a safe roof over my head, some food and mobility, clean sheets under my bum and I’m not bothering anybody with the care and accommodation as I trip into the end stage. So what’s your thoughts there Bron?
Bron: Oh gosh, I’m hearing you loud and clear Drew. I have set a date or a year age of 80, by the time I’m 80 so that gives me 18 years now to continue to the plan that I had because I’m feeling I get tired but gosh that’s life. So I feel I’ve got a good 15 to 18 years left in me to achieve the dreams that I have. By the time I’m 80, I want to transition into some sort of supported housing situation, having and continuing to work through this with my 93 year old mother who has just come out of hospital and I don’t think she’s dealing particularly well with being at home but this is where she wants to be and this is where I am at the moment for the next few days. We’ll bring her into transition back into living on her own after 10 weeks in a hospital with a broken leg. I don’t want to put my children through the stress that myself and my siblings have had with mum as beautiful as she is and there’s a lovely person she is this whole process.
Dr. Drew: You think it’s selfish of her Bron?
Bron: Oh gosh, will I go that far? And I will say yes. Yes, I will because she is thinking about what she wants and I get that. However, she puts huge stress on the three of us because she is so cognitively aware like my sister and I have enduring power of attorney. So if mum had dementia, we would have already made a decision to put her into a much safer place. But because she is so switched on, we are not able to do that, we don’t want to do that but we have to bear the consequences like this morning of mum waking up in pain because she’s moving more and anyway, I won’t tell you.
Dr. Drew: Tell me Bron, I got a question. Mum lives in her own home? She owns that home?
Bron: She does.
Dr. Drew: And then, does the family and your mum think about the consequences of that accommodation? Her life savings? Her journey to own that place now she wants stay in right to the end? Through some unforeseen reason, she does fall or require transition at a later stage into a supported or a nursing home. The reality is that home that she’s in and she’s worked her life off in Australia in particular will become the asset or the means test that pays and funds the accommodation that she transitions to. The family loses, she loses, it then goes across to the provider, the accommodation service, the nursing home, are these thoughts that the family has?
Bron: Well actually we’ve looked into that because mum, she’s on DVA benefit, she has a very strong superannuation policy from my father’s work and my sister works in the aged care field. So she’s sort of right across as she works with Anglican Retirement Villages in there sort of admin as in administration at a top level. So we have looked at that. And what mum gets in terms of aged pension, superannuation and I think even she gets a war widow’s benefit as well, all of that she gets on a fortnightly basis will pay for her ongoing care in a retirement or nursing home situation and leave her with money to spare.
Dr. Drew: I’m going to move across to Glenn. Glenn, for a person who’s now built their own home which is of course brings emotional connection to that property and the accommodation and now has meaning and value for you and your beautiful wife, what are the thoughts and processes around the next transition where that emotional attachment to that house is about to be changed or forced change because I find with a lot of my elderly, or older cohorts particularly my retirees, they are very emotionally attached to their home that they built with their blood, sweat and tears?
Glenn: Lindy my wife had always from the age of 5 had drawn house designs which I mean kids always do except hers wasn’t a box with a chimney and a window. Hers was a three-dimensional design with multiple levels. So she designed this place and to actually build, it was really very, very nifty and you would think, “Okay, well having done that, we’d have an emotional attachment to it.” But within 2 years, Lindy was looking at, “Well, if I was to build another one, if I design another one or if we were to live somewhere else.” So no, we’ve never been attached too much to physical things in life, on our entire journey. We’ve been more attached to learning, keep on learning and keep being healthy and I think that mental shift so whilst there are options, I think we should take them and when you have choices, you should make them. And we’re still at that time where we can so we constantly skim a rock into the future for a variety of contingencies. If this was to happen, what would we do? If this was to happen what do we do? And it might be that still in my working life, I still got some of my work, I do overseas and we might find ourselves based over there for a while again. Now, there’s some interstate clients that want me to make a move and do more and we would be there for 3 months or 6 months. So there are shifts and changes but one of the interesting things for me is that in the state we now live in Victoria, the state government’s just worked out that actually it might save them some money and that aged care costs more than staying at home. So can you provide a series of carers and a variety of options for people to be staying at home? So that becomes an interesting thing that we might have greater options as we’re moving forward than what my parents had and what Bron’s mum has at the moment. And I just want to quickly mention before because you mentioned that the traveling Nomads and they’d buy their their vehicles to go traveling. I want to cite some friends of mine, Mike and Jane who for 15 years ago sold up their house and bought a caravan but not to move around in that caravan. They put their caravan in a secure space and they returned to that caravan. And the rest of their life, they spend house-sitting. So they’re professional house sitters living in Europe, living in America, living in Australia. They invest in their health very strongly, they’re very committed to health and they’re in their 60s and well into their 60s now. So they’ve started this way ahead of time but the caravan becomes their secure place if you like, they own that and they’ve got a long time lease on that, there are all these options.
Dr. Drew: Yes, we’re doing the same. I mean for me and my wife, she’s a little older than me but we’ve always had a nice big family home. As I said, we’re about to downsize and get rid of that but we’ve already purchased a very small home. The family actually giggles and says, “It’s a quaint little beach house,” but it will be our un-incumbent place of security and we are planning to travel and to do these things to take up residency overseas, take contract work and jobs, probably house it. But more or less knowing that we have our security at home that is ours, it hasn’t got a debt, it can’t be taken from us and we’re going to try and live quite a few years away in the future just experiencing a bit of life that we haven’t experienced. So the options are great. One option that I do often hear of and see particularly around my retirees, my older Boomers, those who are over 70 years of age is they end up living with their children. It will not be an option for me, I do not want to live with my children and I don’t want my children planning to say, “You’ll be right mum or dad,” or if we’re both alive, “Mum and dad, you can live out the back in the bungalow or in the garage.” It won’t be happening for me. Wayne?
Wayne: I agree with you Drew that living in the bungalow is perhaps not the ideal thing. But I don’t share the attachment to places that other people do. I am intrigued, I have some friends though who have taken this notion of the family home as being the base of security and being the eventual funding source for their retirement plan and all the rest of it. And what they’ve done is opted for Airbnb, online rentals basically. So they’ve converted their main house into an Airbnb rental property which is fairly lucrative if you’re in a reasonable location, more lucrative than just renting it out. It’s also short-term so if you want to spend a few nights at home, you can book it yourself and spend a few nights or a few weeks in your house. And then they’re taking Airbnbs of other people in other parts of the world and saying, “Well we’re going to Spain and we don’t know how long we’re gonna be there” and roughly, the cost of renting accommodation there is the same as we’re earning from our place in Australia. So they’ve kind of liquefied their house in terms of the cost of their accommodation and built a lot of flexibility around and I think we might see more of that. I think we might see more Baby Boomers getting into house swaps and in these more flexible arrangements with the family home once the families moved out and it’s not such an emotional attachment for the kids in anymore.
Dr. Drew: Yes, good. And it’s also for us Wayne, Boomer land and retiree land. I often say, let the younger Millennials sort a few things out for us. The more tech savvy that we become or become stable is the more eager to experience what these younger generations are doing. They are setting up the uber eats, the uber transport, the Airbnbs, they’re becoming more pro in this Nomadic transient live free lifestyle, the sharing, the bartering, the negotiating. And you’re right Wayne, it’s quite cheap to live. Recently my wife, I want to spend some time very soon to return to sit and write another book. My wife found the most beautiful two-bedroom bungalow cottage in Santorini looking over the Adriatic Sea, the most gorgeous scenario, an absolute picturesque view for 32 Euro a week. Now there’d be a nice 3-month stay when we wanted to go and sit and write a book. So these things are achievable and workable and of course, it’s not an accommodation aspect per se for longevity but it gives you the opportunity to travel, to do what you want to do. But it brings me back to the point of having that accommodation planned and depending on where Boomer lives and where retirees live in their life, it all depends on the plans they make. In Australia of course it’s very expensive to retire and it’s very expensive to transition into care because care costs money. So it is important that that home or that asset be debt-free because it will more or less eventually be the funding mechanism to your final accommodation. Or it will be the place where you are with your family trying to pay or manage the bills and the care that you are able to stay in that accommodation. But the fact is they don’t want that accommodation or the cost of accommodation to be the burden on the family budget, or the pocket or the purse. So for Boomers out there retirees listening to the show today and reflect a bit, step back and have a look as what all the panel is saying, what do you need more of? What do you need less of? What are your plans? I’ve often said it, I said in my book, “Aging in the New Age,” that prior preparation prevents a piss-poor performance. And this sits with a lot and resonates a lot about the subject matter we’re talking about. I know a lot of retirees at the moment that have nothing, they have never planned to do it, never plan to own anything, they are now more or less stuck in the position of struggling to find accommodation, struggling to get security in a rental lease agreement and it’s burdening and stressing them quite considerably. Now when we look at health associated to accommodation, this has a large impact. The risks that come with the increase of anxiety and depression so simply not being secured in a place as we get older is a huge health risk to the older person and the retiree. In retrospect, it’s better for them to have that security issue, settled down and taken care of because in the Maslow’s Theory of Human Need, we understand the common needs scale, we must meet all the human needs in a stepping approach otherwise the human being starts to present signs and symptoms of being unwell or sick. Now mental health is a huge concern for ageing people because we without the support networks and planning around mental health, a person’s health deteriorates quite quickly. So the fear factor or the warning factor is understand that the connection between accommodation housing, and security, and your mental health and your stability. Bron?
Bron: I totally understand that. Actually I have been quite encouraged by the conversation so far because I suppose with the things that you’ve been saying Drew and Glenn with yours and Lindy’s plans to move again. It has put my own situation into a much more normal in inverted commas ‘light.’ So I’m actually coming away from this conversation, feeling quite encouraged about my future which is a great thing because I think, we can tend to get stuck with place. I totally get that and that was my plan. Even though my ex-husband and I had moved houses many, many times, there was always this sense for me as woman of building a nest and I no longer have that situation. So I’m encouraged and I think the whole planning is important, it’s about being, you mentioned emotional intelligence because when we let our brains go to a future that we can’t see and perhaps look incredibly uncertain, that uncertainty does weigh on us. We’ll get their sense of overwhelm and everything just seems too hard. And it’s very easy, I think to spiral down into despair and hopelessness. So I think it’s about being able to take that step back and for me, that’s where this conversation has been incredibly helpful because it’s allowed me to take a step back from the personal details of my own situation and go, “Oh yes, I see.” So I think that’s helpful for whatever it is and if this podcast actually help other people in our generation to be able to take a step back from their lives and go, “Oh maybe, I could look at my situation in a different light and therefore, have more energy, and more hope and more plans.”
Dr. Drew: And that’s the thing and I think that’s what creates a more healthy positive ageing Bron. You’ve mentioned the word for you as a building your life with your husband’s to building a nest and of course, I often talk about and we’re going to have a podcast soon on the effects of empty-nesting which always brings a chuckle to many people when you hear and talk about it. Some people go into the empty nesting subject, some people just refuse to acknowledge it but you would have been experiencing at some point, the empty nesting syndromes when your children grew up and left home. And then for women, it creates a strong emotional attachment to the home where they raised their children. Of course, wanting to keep that home so the children have somewhere to come back to. But then a woman like you, who transitions in her 60s to a divorce without having a home, now empty nests again for yourself. That nest you built has now been taken away, so pretty much like the bird that builds a nest through the springs and then the winter comes and the autumn and the nest is blown away and then they have to rebuild and retake the nest or find another place to build a nest. But some people are not in this space, I mentioned some people without children who don’t have a nesting connection won’t feel this accommodation subject matter at all. But probably as you say, we’ll think about it and think as, “Well, this is still my nest or do I have a nest?” And what what do these type of people need to reflect on and think about. I’ll push that to Glenn knowing that Glenn is a married man without children. Glenn, what is the empty nesting scenario or syndrome bring connection to you?
Glenn: It’s interesting that the word “nest” with my cryptic love of crosswords can become ‘nets.’ So your nest can become a net that traps you and stops you too. So really I think it’s that ability of how we see things inside our head and how we feel things inside our heart. Wayne mentioned that the metaphorical version of living in the Taj Mahal or you can live in a tent and listen to Taj Mahal, the blues singer play his guitar. And wherever you are, I think if you can find the things you do that enrich your life and that’s that constant thing, a constant enrichment. Now being childless in life or not having our own children has always been an interesting thing because Lindy and I, a lot of people they connect with other human beings because of the primary school, or sports their kids play or the workplace that they’re working in. Well our workplace is Lindy and I. So it’s a very small Christmas party and we don’t go to the primary school, we don’t have all that. So we’ve been forced to find other ways to connect with human beings throughout our life and I think in many ways, it has put us in good stead because a lot of folks now, they have children but the children really have left them. They are left alone.
Dr. Drew: Very much so in a lot of cases.
Glenn: Yes and it’s a sorrow, there’s a lot of estrangement that goes on or they’re rubbing their hands together looking at the financial things that mum and dad can give them. And I know with my folks it was like, “Please mum, dad, don’t have anything, use it up whilst you’re here. You’ve given us a great start in life, you deserve it.” And they wanted to leave something for us financially but thankfully, the trio of us were pretty consistent and being able to say, “Listen, this is yours for you.” Now they did end up leaving us something but we didn’t demand that of them, we didn’t ask that of them, we encouraged them to not do that. So I think in every situation and circumstance, flexibility and options, whilst there are options take them and when you have choices, make them but a lot of human beings don’t make choices, we get stuck.
Dr. Drew: Yes, that’s right. Now one of the things in consideration of accommodation of course, when you ask many people about, “What is the center or the heart of their house?” They’ll often tell you it’s the kitchen, the kitchen is the center or the heart of the house. Kitchens have a very strong place within a central home or accommodation. I often advise in people who come to me, talk to me about joint housing or shared housing which is becoming a very common thing and it’s probably something Bron you want to put into your plans. Many older retirees getting together, putting whatever they have left into a shared house, a joint house. Making that house a bigger place in the heart with a bigger kitchen at a bigger shared area with less sleeping accommodation attached. But that’s where they focus, picking the right people to be accommodated with, to have that connection and to making the central focus or connection the living or kitchen space that’s where they group, they gather, they communicate, they talk and it’s very popular, it’s called a “Butterfly Home” and it’s very popular with the older and more astute retirees in the world today.
Brian: Can I just say something there? There was a fairly large section of the news here in Brisbane last night on that very subject of older people getting into the market again with friends, people they’ve met, whatever. Apparently, there are suburbs that really cater for older people getting back into the market.
Dr. Drew: It’s a very smart move because what they’re working out is, “I’m going to spend the next probably 10 to 15 years of my life older, less mobile, probably less active. Who are the type of people I can actually spend some time around and be comfortable in that space and yet still feel connected, be part of their family or our group and our community in a very small space.” We’re talking about 5 or 6 maybe 10 couples or singles and leaving in a very big shared accommodation.
Glenn: I’ve spent 18 months living on a Kibbutz in the North of Israel at Kfar HaNassi. And the harder the Kibbutz was the “Heder Ochel”, the Heder Ochel was the dining hall. They actually shared meals and you would share your stories. Now Kibbutz has shifted in transition since I’ve been there but we’re seeing now as exactly as Brian said, there’s almost a return to this idea of a Kibbutz type thing, separate houses but some shared facilities within those houses with some like-minded people who have got a similar ethos. And I think it’s an option that it’s coming into being and we will need to see more of it and I think it’s one of the wonderful things because that the Kibbutz type approach allows you to be so low when you want to be solo, to be alone when you want to be alone, to go to the Heder Ochel or you go to the work shed or you go to the work field when you wish to as well.
Dr. Drew: It’s something that I think’s becoming popular in the Philippines, am I right Wayne?
Wayne: Yes. The concept of group homes is taking off all across Asia where multiple groups of 4 to 8 individuals or couples are sharing houses and supported by the low cost of household labor so they can have cooks, and cleaners and household staff very economically here. Well maybe, it’s alarming but one of the things that I see in looking at this retirement living question is the difficulty in getting accurate figures about the costs in the dependency things. I was recently intrigued too, reading them in the media that a lot of people living in Australia, in aged care are living in a state of inadequate nutrition. And so I thought, “Well that’s a good question, how many calories is this diet if someone else is going to cook it for me and feed it to me, what’s the diet like?” And I found that almost impossible to find an answer just looking around the web. So I’m a little perplexed that I can go and buy a luxury boat or a car and every detail is specified on the internet and covered by consumer law and all the rest of it. And yet, when I come to finding out the detail of staff ratios for nursing care, calorie counts for diets, refunds of monies and deposits. I found the retirement industry very obscure and very hard to get in. So yes, it’s becoming more popular in Asia to answer your question Drew but it’s being done in a very “do-it-yourself” transparent kind of way which I find quite different to what’s happening in Australia.
Dr. Drew: And I think the more and more that the retiree and the Baby Boomer now is being connected through technology, internet and let me say now to all the listeners listening, you’re a very smart group of people and I’ve always said it, I think Baby Boomers are going to change a little more of the future than they think they’re capable of changing because we were the developers or Baby Boomers were the developers of technology, they’re the creators of big market brands, they are the innovators that created the platform we see now. Just because most of the entering into retirement years, it doesn’t mean they’re not able to. As I said, the Millennials behind us are now making platforms which I believe that the Baby Boomer generation can step backwards or take a step back into and master and take better advantage of and of course accommodation, housing, shared housing, group housing, this type of thing is a clear good option generally because most of the Boomers do have a bit of asset behind them. Maybe some Super and savings and can set themselves up very well so that at least, the accommodation, security issues around their life have been taken care of as they enter that final stage of their life, that retirement end stage, that last place, that last 10 to 15 years. So these are constant thoughts to think about, there are many options when you go searching for these things. It comes down to the location, the geographical location, the country, where do you want to live? This is a thought, what climate do you want to live? I wouldn’t recommend a cold climate for an older person particularly one with arthritis and I wouldn’t prefer a climate that’s too hot. But if you have a look at the statistics in Asia and particularly they love a cohort of elderly retirees called the “Sun Worshippers” and these are of course and Wayne will understand this living in the Philippines. These are the Danish, the Swedish, the Germans, the Netherlands, ones that live in the snow and the ice who after all their life of doing and living in some sub minus climates want to take their money, their assets and their life and they find some tropical Asian places and they follow the sun. They worship the sun and they chased the hot climate for the end stage of their life. Do any of the panel have these desires to chase somewhere in particular?
Brian: I’m quite happy to live anywhere. I do prefer a warmer climate. I will say coming from the UK but I equally and Brisbane gets terribly hot. I just want to pick up on something that Drew said when he was talking quite poetically about birds building their nests and getting blown away in the winter and re building the nest and I think that’s a great analogy. I don’t think we should be building, I mean I’ve got a house, we don’t have a mortgage, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s ridiculous, we’re kind of stuck here with millions of things that we don’t need and tens and thousands of things that we sold. I just think rebuild a nest every couple of years, the way Glenn that is talking about.
Glenn: Queensland, a cyclone might blow it away some time Brian.
Wayne: And let’s Brian make that your last thought because we are like many of us in our lives, reaching the end stage of this podcast. So let’s have a quick whip round, that was the best segue I could do I’m sorry. Let’s have a quick whip round because we’re running out of time. Bron?
Bron: Look, I love those words. Yes, it’s important to build a nest. Women really find that but it’s actually okay to rebuild your nest. It doesn’t have to be the same nest all the time.
Wayne: And Glenn?
Glenn: Two songs for you Wayne. One, given the Nomadic theme of earlier the “Beautiful In My Life” by the Beatles, There are Places I remember. But I’m going to go out with Carole Bayer Sager, “You’re Moving Out Today.” One of the great things and it’s all about a list of things and at some stage we’re moving out, so let’s plan for it. We’re moving out today or we may be moving out tomorrow.
Wayne: And I should say for our listeners, Glenn always has wonderful jukebox suggestions for us. Can I suggest that you just type that into your search bar on YouTube and you’ll be able to find that music and listen to it and you’ll be able to share some of the ambience that’s happening in Glenn’s head while we’re recording the podcast. Drew? Final thoughts from you?
Dr. Drew: Well I don’t know about trying to pick a song that relates to the subject, they’re probably too far too many songs have been written about what is a home, and where home is, and home is where the heart is and blah, blah, blah. Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home. But it’s a subject matter for anybody in the retirement space, the Baby Boomer cohort to really take a listen to what the panel has discussed today. Find a connection with some of the information, step back, reflect, have a conversation with your partner and your loved ones and really do give yourself some meaningful thought about what you’re going to plan as an accommodation space because irrespective of all the laughs and the jokes we can make, the reality is this is a heavily connected decision-making process to our security, and our health our belongingness. As we age, don’t stuff it up by being ignorant, have some emotional intelligence, make the right choices. And if any of our listeners want to sponsor of any of what we’re talking about, you might be an accommodation supplier, please contact Wayne and get onto the panel.
Wayne: And with that, it’s time that we closed now our microphones and speakers one more time. So thank you for being with us for the podcast today. It has always been a bit of an adventure for some of us Baby Boomers to share our thoughts for some of you Baby Boomers. Today, we’ve had a talk about how important is your accommodation planning in retirement and we’ve had a discussion about the various options that are available and in fact how important it is to do some planning about that before we actually get to the point where it becomes critical. So happy planning and we look forward to you being with us again next week when we will be talking about a whole new topic with our panel, Brian Hinselwood, Glenn Capelli. Bron Williams, your co-host, Drew Dwyer and myself Wayne Bucklar. This is Booms Day Prepping.