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Four reasons ‘retirement village’ may work in Malaysia

Last week, I wrote about retirement village in Malaysia. Some asked, would this work? It may work in developed countries but Malaysia? It may be tough. I cannot say for sure but I think if a few conditions are met, it may just take off easily. Let’s look at four.

Affordability. Let’s be very honest. The top 10% of the richest old folks in Malaysia would not consider this because they may have more than enough no matter where they decide to retire. However, for those who owns a property in a good location but not so conducive for them due to age, theymay consider selling it off and buying a spot in these retirement villages instead. Thus, the prices must be affordable enough but not too cheap because if too cheap, then the services rendered would be of low quality and it will not work in the long run. What’s affordable? Don’t worry, the developers building this must have done some homework before starting to sell. Or else…..

Acceptance. It’s one thing being old. It’s another thing altogether to accept that you are old. The worst would be the stereotype that retirement villages are just like old folks home. I have no doubt that a lot of old folks home are well run and managed. However given a choice of one whole community, with the right facilities, the extra services offered by these retirement villages far exceeds that of a typical old folks home. Thus, the perception must be well managed and the differentiation amplified right from the beginning. It should more of ‘son, I have decided to buy a unit in Retirement Village ABC’ instead of, ‘Father, why not you go stay at those old folks village, I mean retirement villages’.

Quality. Malaysia has always been associated with first world facility but third world mentality. For retirement villages operators, they should be thinking of long term and not short term profit. This is not like building a luxury condominium with a sea view and a huge profit margin. This is based on minimum profit based on the property sold but the profit should be a continuous stream based on a continuous service of whatever the operator cum developer has promised right from the beginning.

Safety. Majority of the older folks today stay in housing areas which are not gated and guarded. They meanwhile may not really like to stay on Level 17 in a condo project where no one knows anyone. It is however not just crime rates but also the fact that if something were to happen to you, immediate care and attention would be needed. If no one knows, no one can help. There are also groups which targets the older folks because they are the most vulnerable and considered easy prey.

One day, I would reach this stage myself. If it meets my budget and the quality of service I expected, I would own a unit. I have little doubt on the acceptance because by then, if it is still around, the acceptance would have been a foregone conclusion. As for safety, let’s be realistic, it is impossible for zero crime rates but it is possible to reduce this possibility to the minimum possible.

written on 2nd March 2014

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