The retirement dream of days of yore has somewhat lost its muster in recent years. Perpetual talk of the devaluation of pension pots, ever-increasing working age limits and much-talked about annuity changes are continually moving the goalposts for those on the brink of retirement. Yet one question remains the same: how do you make the most of your retirement?
Recently revealed by retirement specialist LV that British retirees need approximately £225,756 in their pension pot to enjoy a typical 17 year retirement to the full, it is no surprise that more and more people are looking outside the box for a solution.
Gordon Turner from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbriathinks he might just have the answer to this age-old question. Reaching retirement in March 2017, Gordon already has a plan mapped out to make the very best of this next phase of his life. Having purchased three properties at The Fountains at ChampionsGate in the top tourist destination of Florida through property investment company Brookes & Co, he plans to live in there for 6 months of the year once he retires (on a tourist visa) and to use the properties for rental outside of his own personal usage too.
Gordon explains more about the financial reasons behind his decision,
“I would like to maintain my current lifestyle once I retire and the properties will allow me to do this as they will bring in a monthly rental. There are financial benefits to living in the US like the cost of living being approximately 25% less than the UK, fuel being significantly cheaper and cars better value, there is no VAT, you are not taxed on your gas and electricity, you pay less capital gains tax too, and the list goes on.”
And Gordon’s purchases make good financial sense in another respect too. Zillow, the largest property website in the US, recently released data that showed an increase of 14.8% in the value of homes in Orlando in 2014, compared to the previous year, with a projected rise of 7.2% predicted for the Orlando Metro area in the coming 12 months.
However, it is not just the financial gains from a retirement in Florida that appeal to Gordon, he is also attracted to the change in lifestyle that a move to the Sunshine State would bring,
“The benefits to health and a more laid back lifestyle are immense. Just picture listening to the palm trees swaying in the wind and wearing a shirt, shorts and flip flops as you read the morning paper in the garden instead of hearing the rain and wind belting down on your windows before you put on your heavy coat, scarf, gloves and brolly to face the British elements!
“Just imagine being able to sit on your balcony and have breakfast in 22 degrees of sunshine every day and pop in the pool for an early morning swim – that’s a huge benefit, in fact I would say ‘that’s the start of paradise’.”
And Gordon is not alone in looking to US shores for a happy retirement. Specialist annuity provider MGM Advantage recently revealed that the USA was the third most popular country for UK retirees (behind European destinations of Spain and France), with 16% of those surveyed having a preference for a move to the US when they reach their ‘golden years’.
The family man who currently works as an Engineering Product Safety Manager in the UK did not, however, merely purchase the properties for investment and retirement purposes, although the properties are still in the development stage, he is also looking to utilise the finished homes prior to retirement for holidays with his extensive family. And with two children and four grandchildren of his own and his partner having six children, it suddenly becomes clear why he needed three properties!
Purchasing one three-bed and two four-bed villas, Gordon’s family are big fans of Florida already and have visited a staggering 35 times over the past 24 years, making the very most of all that the state has to offer. From beautiful year-round weather, the enduring entertainment options available at the resort parks of Disney World and Universal Studios and the beautiful beaches, it is clear to see why Florida – and Orlando specifically – has become an increasingly popular holiday choice, with an increase of 2% in tourist numbers in the first quarter of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.
Philip Button, Managing Director of Brookes & Co, which has been sourcing property in Florida for UK clients for the past decade, comments,
“Florida has long-since been a hugely popular destination for holidays – I have visited with my family more times than I can remember – as well as for the purchase of holiday homes. It is because of this that it also makes an excellent investment choice, with prices on the increase and a growing property market.
“And what a fantastic place to retire! The US, and Florida specifically, has much to offer, both from a lifestyle perspective and financially and I just know that Gordon will be very happy there. I am proud that Brookes & Co have been able to help him with this important decision and that our practice of due diligence has supported him step by step with his purchase.”
Giving him the best of both worlds, Gordon is optimistic that his Floridian purchases will give him the best of both worlds – the ideal base for the perfect family vacation and a retirement option that offers personal fulfilment whilst making sound financial sense. It is clear to see why he exclaims “I can’t wait until I am out in the sunshine state enjoying my new life!”