Brian Sherlock and his wife Cilla are dyed-in-the -wool Jo’burgers who did their sums properly and swapped city life for the peace and tranquility of the “Pioneer Country” (as Brian calls it) of the Eastern Karoo

Here is what Brian says:

Well fellow oldsters - what is to be done about retirement and property? I have no intention of setting myself up as a Retirement Consultant but just thought that our situation might be of some interest in re your own decision making.
The “Country Life” magazine is partly to blame for where I find myself living today with my darling wife. I say partly, because affordability was the primary consideration in our quest for suitable retirement relocation. More and more of us find ourselves in this position because of the state of the economy.

One piece of advice I cannot put to you too strongly - when calculating what you can pay for your retirement home and what you will have left to pay for medical aid, insurances etc., try your very best to put aside as large
a reserve as you possibly can - things can get worse - as they duly did for us and many others over the last two years or so. and that is when you really appreciate the fact that you retired to an affordable region.

When relocation becomes a financial imperative, then of course one must also take other considerations into account such as:

Lifestyle/culture Leisure/sporting facilities
Local travel and exploration
Health/medical Climate New Hobbies
Just keeping busy - renovation?, a small business?,
  gardening?, community good works?,

Perhaps the tranquility of being away from your previous environment would allow you to find the time and inspiration to write that novel you’ve always had in mind - although you’ll have to explain to the wife where you
learnt all that stuff!
And so down to a little more about our lot in a small town in the Eastern Cape, some 300kms plus from the nearest city.
Prompted by “Country Life” we spent some time reconnoitering various small towns and dorps around South Africa. The end result? For the last four & a half years we have been living in one of them, Steynsburg, in the Eastern Karoo. As you know, the 1820 Settlers were frontiersmen in coastal Eastern Cape and in a somewhat
different light the Eastern Cape hinterland, the Eastern Karoo, is one of the last frontiers for affordable relocation within South Africa.

We arrived at a B&B in that little town to take a look at the house that had been advertised in Country Life by a major estate agency - yep, they used to do that before they tightened their belts and unwittingly made their own contribution to the contraction of the economy.
This B&B had a small bar which some of the locals used. They were interested in us as potential incomers and made us very welcome. Next day we made an offer and
it was accepted.

Several subsequent visits to bring in hardware for our new home’s renovation and we were made even more welcome - what a sales job they did - and didn’t even know they were doing it!

From Johannesburg where we worked and lived, to the Eastern Karoo was one huge leap of faith.
We settled in well and quickly. Our lives had changed and so did our outlook on life.
You rediscover values and find new priorities that you have lost in city life. The wife was fleetingly a member of the Gardening Club, is toying with the idea of taking up bowls at the local Country Club (golf, squash and a gym are also there), joins in ladies teas at a local eatery, goes
on walks with a friend but spends most of her time looking after the garden and me, although when the mood takes her, she does some painting, in acrylics ,or some of her variegated craftwork in order to add to the décor of our home. As for me, I serve on the Ward Committee, the Community Policing Forum and the
Residents/Ratepayers Association. I have spent most of my time renovating two properties in the town which have been sold to other incomers and provided me with a little income. I have just finished the third - please make me an offer!!!
As a matter of interest, whilst we have been here, a dozen or more new couples have arrived from cities and towns around South Africa.

If you can feel the pull and your finances suggest that you seek the best solution to make your nest egg last, this is a viable option. There are various publications that talk about “other places” in South Africa - e.g. Country Life, Getaway, Farmer’s Weekly, there must be others and then there are websites - major estate agencies, Property 24, Private Property, Property for Sale - and more. Look hard!!

Are we happy?
Of course we are! When the town gets a bit small we take a couple of days and visit the big city, take in a show, eat in restaurants and socialize ,but before long we are ready to return to our home and country life.

There you are - just a taste - hope it can help you move onwards and upwards.