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Sun tans and cocktails. Is retiring to the tropics a reality?

Sea-change or tree-change, we look at the costs and complications of moving for retirement.

Recently, Australia, especially Tropical North Queensland, has become the haven for retirees and people looking for a calmer lifestyle, away from the hoopla of the city life. This stands true for not only Australians but also for many migrants opting to move to Australia for their post retirement life.
Queensland's enviable reputation for innovative business practices and rapid economic growth has led it to be recognized as the Smart State. It is one of the fastest growing and dynamic States in Australia and has a strategy in place designed to make Queensland the intellectual hub of the Asia Pacific. With Australia's fastest population growth, Queensland offers the perhaps the most optimistic prospects for residents.
While it is true that Australia is an extremely beautiful country and tropical North Queensland is even more beautiful, given its natural beauty and the fact that it houses one of the natural wonders of the world – The Great Barrier Reef; there are many hidden costs that need to be considered before making the decision to move.
There are a lot of costs that affect a person’s decision to move from one state or country to another. One of the major cost would be that of housing, be it a rented place or a property you buy. According to a report generated by the Queensland Council of Social Services, renters are finding it difficult to make the ends meet in Queensland.
'Much of the difficulty facing renters in the private rental market results from the high cost of renting combined with inadequate support to meet these significant costs. While private rental costs have increased significantly over the past five years in Brisbane, assistance provided through the Commonwealth Rent Assistance scheme has failed to keep pace. With few financial resources at their disposal individuals and couples relying on the age pension are struggling to find appropriate accommodation due to a lack of low-cost housing options,’ the report says.
Other than the accommodation cost, other costs that need to be considered are moving costs, tax differences and increased cost of necessities. Moving from one state to another can cost thousands of dollars, in addition to the other ad-hoc costs related to furniture moving, possible breakage, selling your current property or working with a property agent, legal fees, etc.
Since all the retirement villages are situated in a calm and peaceful place, it is difficult to find all the necessities in near proximity and the overall cost of food and other amenities is higher in Tropical North Queensland, as compared to other states. In addition to these costs, once you move to a tropical environment, you will need a change of wardrobe to suit the tropical weather, depending on your sense of style, this can be quite expensive too.
Finally, also look at the cost of travel itself, since Queensland public transport is not as well connected as that of NSW or Victoria. Neither is the state that well-connected with the rest of Australia, in terms of easy availability of flights. The remoteness of your quiet plot of peacefulness, could in fact end up costing quite a bit in monthly fuel and maintenance costs.
Pensioner households living in regional and remote areas of Queensland are also likely to be impacted by higher transport costs, particularly when they have medical transport needs and the required services are several hours away.
So although the call of the tropical tree or sea change may be on the horizon, as always don’t forget to look at all the costs involved before packing the suitcases and selling all your winter coats.
Have you made the decision to head to the warmer north?
Do you know anyone who has? How has it worked out for them?
Let us know in the comments below.
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