November 25, 2023 08:24
The nest place to live after retirement from a salaried job in Korea is somewhere out of Seoul but not too far either, a straw poll suggests. Middle-aged Koreans still value areas with good hospitals and access to all the mod cons rather than the deep countryside.
Half of office workers in their 50s who live in Seoul dream of living away from the city after retiring. Mirae Asset asked 2,000 urban office workers in August about where they wish to live after retirement and found that only 47.3 percent of Seoul residents want keep living in Seoul while 48.2 percent said they wanted to live in smaller cities. But 62 percent of respondents in Incheon and Gyeonggi Province said they never want to move.
The results reflect discrepancies in living costs. Retirees can cut their expenses by up to 22 percent if they live outside of the capital. A study last year by the National Pension Research Institute showed that the optimum monthly living expenses needed by a couple in their 50s or above is W3.3 million in Seoul, W2.8 million in a big city outside the capital but W2.59 million in other areas (US$1=W1,306).
Kim Dong-yup at Mirae Asset said, "A look at the lifestyles of senior citizens shows 35 percent live alone and 35 percent live with their spouses. They need to think hard whether to keep living in their current homes after their children move out or whether to downsize and generate extra cash for retirement."
There are also fears that moving to an unfamiliar place could cause considerable stress in people's twilight years. Asset management consultant Chung Bo-hyun said, "I don't recommend selling your only home and ending up with an unstable residential status. Many people long to live in the countryside, but you need to remember that houses in such areas don't have a lot of resale value."
Lee Sang-woo, another consultant, said, "The older you get, the higher the chances of getting ill, so it is advisable to live near a big hospital in later years since it could be burdensome asking your kids to drive you to the doctor all the time."
"Major hospitals in Seoul have built branches outside of the capital or plan to do so, so new apartment complexes being built in these areas could be smart choices for retirement."
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