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Embarking on retirement

Retirement planning has always been in the back of our minds, and we finally got into gear-up mode this year.

I’ve been thinking about retirement since I was in my late thirties.

  • Can I retire comfortably?
  • How much money would I need to retire?
  • What would my lifestyle be?
  • Do I have enough to sustain my life?
  • Would I have enough for some travel, some splurges sometimes?

I have no definite answers for all the above. But I know that I needed to plan for the retirement I have in mind.

Started with a casual chat

A few months ago during Chinese New Year (in 2022), hubby and I were casually talking to his siblings and in-laws about the idea of moving out of the city after retirement. We found out that they had similar thoughts about going back to nature, and we decided to kickstart the process of searching for potential land to purchase.

Hubby and I immediately sprang into action, scouting for potential areas where we could retire in. At that moment, the only criteria we had was not being too far away from Kuala Lumpur/Selangor. So we were thinking about 1 to 1.5 hours distance. Below were some potential areas we considered:

  • Pahang – Janda Baik, Bentong, Karak, Raub
  • Perak – Tanjung Malim, Slim River, Behrang
  • Selangor – Kuala Kubu Bahru, Ijok
  • Negeri Sembilan – Mantin, Port Dickson, Pantai

Why move away from the city?

Honestly, I never thought about it seriously until that chat we had. A lot of things made sense, because we wanted to slow down after retirement, enjoy life in a tranquil environment, and possibly have a small vegetable garden.

We have a great home in Gamuda Gardens, and I’m very thankful for that. We are blessed with a 50-acre park that comes with cascading waterfalls and the clubhouse is just a 5-minute walk away. It is truly an amazing place to live in, just 45-minutes away from the city. However, I was not able to do much gardening. I wanted to grow my own food and fruits. Maybe have a goat and a goose? Below are the reasons why we are looking to live a little further away from the city:

#1 Air Quality

The air quality in the city is deteriorating, even without haze. We have to put up with all sorts of foul smells, traffic fumes, open-air burning, and endless construction. Dust settles on every nook and corner of the home as fast as a few hours after cleaning. Imagine inhaling all these. That’s city living, no matter whether you live in a landed house or 40-storey condo. It is all the same. That is also why air filters and purifiers are doing brisk sales!

#2 Quieter Environment

I love it when everything is quiet and peaceful. I have to accept the fact that living in the city includes all sorts of noise. We used to live in an apartment, and it was really difficult to have a quiet moment. Currently, we live in a terrace home. Much quieter but there is still traffic (even though we are nowhere near highways or major roads), renovation/construction noise, and all sorts of noise pollution. It would be ideal to have a place that has lesser noise pollution.

#3 Farming

I would really love to explore growing my own food. I can foresee myself having a few vegetable beds and fruit trees. If the land is big enough, then probably we could sell the produce on a small scale.

#4 Slowing down

I have been thinking about slowing down for a long time. My mindset about life has changed significantly in the last few years. If we can live happily, that is already the ultimate goal of living. Bigger houses, more expensive cars, and material things bring temporary happiness. So in short, we will give up some of the material things we own and cut down to only what we need. Simplifying life and living like how our forefathers did.

#5 High cost of living in the city

Over the last 2 years, I noticed a drastic price increase in everything. If we are continuing this trend, we will find ourselves financially strapped. We can still afford to live in the city when we are actively working but when we no longer have an income, can we? I don’t know the answer, it is too far to predict but what I do know is that I can plan for an eventual outcome. So before I become a beggar in the city, I will have to start planning.

#6 The appeal of kampung living

I have always liked the idea of going back to the ‘kampung’ but we don’t have one to go back to. A slower pace of life, friendlier people, and just taking things one at a time.

Retirement planning is a must

It is easy to put off thinking but doing so means that we are just letting ‘nature take its own course’. While it may work for some other things, it doesn’t for retirement. After working all your life, you would want an ideal retirement lifestyle. It may not be luxurious (or it may be?) but it should fulfill the dreams you have.

My next article is on why I think retirement planning should start early (earlier than you think!).