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Living it up at the local village

September 8, 2016

On my recent business trip to Durban, my parents-in-law were kind enough to put me up in their place situated in the hidden and tranquil corner of the border between Assagay and Hillcrest.

They live in a compact yet comfortable home in a “retirement village”.

There were a number of observations that hit home during my short visit to the folks.

A feel-good place

The “retirees” that attended the weekly Friday night get-together at the clubhouse were the most upbeat and vibrant set of people you could ever hope to meet. They had an absolute whale of a time that evening and, despite some of them facing health challenges, they were in good cheer and optimistic about their futures.

The majority of the older people had had successful working careers and had managed to save enough towards their retirement to able to live in this village. The management company provides an onsite nurse, and frail care is available. The village is very secure (touch wood), yet one never feels claustrophobic.

At Chartered we assist retirees with dealing with both the financial and psychological aspects of retirement. Having witnessed this community and how they engaged with each other, we would strongly suggest that potential retirees at least consider such an option when planning their retirement.  Be aware, though, that waiting lists can extend to over eight years, depending on your choice of village, so don’t wait until you feel you are ready – do your research now, select those villages that suit you, and submit the forms.  You are allowed to decline a number of times when you are offered a vacancy, and still remain on the list.  Some villages may have a ceiling in terms of age (they may not accept applications from those over 80, for example), so that’s also a good reason to apply early.

Accessible healthcare for residents

Directly opposite my in-laws’ village is a private hospital run by the doctors themselves. I am sure that the need for such a hospital was established and hence permission was granted to build it, but the thought did cross my mind that one of the contributing factors to rising medical costs is higher utilisation. A recent report in the Financial Mail indicates a material increase in members of a prominent open medical scheme claiming over the last seven years. This same report stated that in 2006, an average course of chemotherapy to treat cancer would have cost R65,000. Today it’s R1.4M.

Adrian Gore, the CEO of Discovery Group, cites a study which says that in the long term, health-care costs don’t drop – they just end up taking a greater share of your wallet at the expense of other things.

We are entering the time of year when the medical schemes in South African launch their new products for 2017. There is much fanfare as the medical aid consulting community eagerly attends these launches and waits to hear about the increase in medical aid contributions (usually expressed as a percentage across all their plans. Watch Chartered EB’s social media platforms for updates.

Let’s hope there is enough left in the wallet for our jolly retirees and the rest of us making the journey towards retirement to enjoy another glass of wine.

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