A silver lining for the golden years

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At a recent gathering of friends where we were looking for the oldest couple and those who stayed in Bahrain the longest to toast, my husband and I found with rather horrified amusement that all the indicators were pointing to us all. the two.

Yes, as sixty-year-olds who spent nearly four decades in Bahrain, we were now the “elders of the community”. It also meant that many of our friends who had made the expat travel easier for us over the years had returned home while others, like migratory birds, would come to Bahrain in the winter and spend a month or three making the trip. party smoothly from their well appointed. service apartments.

What surprises me is that despite sunshine all year round, excellent infrastructure, an excellent lifestyle, a good time zone positioning vis-à-vis the east and the west and this Golden Deal for Retirees: Good Health Care – Bahrain has not established itself as a great place to retire.

Of course, many expats choose to settle here and in recent years many have even chosen Bahraini nationality after generations of serving the nation. But unlike promoting Bahrain as a tourist destination, for example, there is no real effort to build the Kingdom’s reputation as a quintessential retirement destination, which Portugal and Spain have done with it. very successful at one point.

However, the decision to move here after our active professional life is not an easy one. On the one hand, the pace and direction of an active life is very different from that of a retirement. A friend who was visiting after leaving and settling in India, told us that his brief stay reminded him of his children’s summer vacation – when everyone was busy and cousins ​​had school and could only play with them in the evening.

There are pockets of retirees and seniors who have their own circle and activities of their own, but the chances of finding yourself stranded in a lonely wasteland without friends (and certainly not with family) are greater here than at home. for many of us.

The time to plan for retirement is when you need it least. Experts advise us to start in our forties so that we have a good 20 years to put the plan into action.

Bahrain has a golden opportunity to show its appeal as a retirement destination and promote its freehold properties to potential retirees, establish gated communities for retirees, and help revive an underutilized real estate sector. .

Those who say that accommodating retirees will entail high costs for the health sector should remember that Bahrain already imposes mandatory health coverage and financial autonomy for those seeking retirement.

What a properly planned and monitored retirement sector will do is unleash potential investments and create a dynamic liner for secondary growth.

As for those of us who choose to return home, remember that there is an investment even more important than your money – and it is your time.

Obviously, you will have to decide where you will settle and find a home for yourselves. It’s important to make sure you take into account how much mobility you want – whether your knees can support a multi-story house, or whether you want an airport nearby to catch a flight to see the kids. And, most importantly, spend time before you settle in, getting to know your retirement neighborhood, making friends, and setting the stage for a successful sunset zone.

Remember that these can be wonderful and fulfilling years in your life and you should plan today to enjoy them in the future.

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