Finding our little spot in the sun, but the ball must be set in motion.
By Rubin van Niekerk
Ageing confronts all of us but mostly offers wisdom in return. Some of us remain youthful many years longer than our straight friends and family and might even be blessed with wisdom. After a variety of articles on related topics over eight years many Peter Pans started seriously contemplating the future and how to finance it well. Research clearly indicates the link between early retirement, illness and meeting the grim reaper too soon. The few articles on this topic deals primarily with our reluctance facing the future after forty. Flaunting the ostrich tango never works and delay tactics assists the drift sand swallowing us. Our feedback consistently shows that small groups of likeminded people wish to be together across our beautiful country. These little groups are starting to grasp the enormous power that they wield when they unite their skills, pink pounds and financial savvy. People tend to be hesitant to move too far away from where they grew up as they get older. Big cities also charge much higher rates and taxes, and the cost structure are significantly higher depending on where you are. Cape Town, as an example, is the most expensive city in SA to live in, but much cheaper than Lisbon, one of the most affordable cities in Europe. This article contains well contemplated comments from highly intelligent and experienced people which should inspire some healthy debate amongst readers as we all have different views of how to deal with this conundrum. Our quixotic quest for the holy grail of eternal youth remains vigorous, but unlike Dorian Gray we have no hidden ageing painting in the attic. Loneliness is our Achilles’ heel which is exacerbated by the fact that we few of us have children. Homophobia haunts us no matter our age. Frequently its gift-wrapped in old fashioned bullying that prey on those who are different, more intelligent, and weaker physically.
Many multinational employers seek our services as I am pleased to see after spending many years in HR and psychometry where we were persona non grata. Since the nineties, enlightened countries encouraged us to choose where to live and who to love. Our pink money increases employment and the standard of living at the end of our rainbow. Travel back in time to experience the depravity of undesirability in any of those malicious countries stuck in their time warp where death awaits us. See www.forbes.com.
The UK eventually apologised for their barbaric cruelty to Alan Turing, whose genius code breaking helped win the Second World War. See www.spyscape.com and on a lighter note enjoy the satire from the original 1973 show that has remarkably subtle political references in far more than a simple dance routine. www.rockyhorrortimewarp.com.
Autocracy, cruelty, and poverty must be challenged. We have the capacity to accelerate positive change on planet earth and the power to support this evolutionary process. None of us are blinkered by the vile Hitlers, Husseins, Mussolinis, Ghaddafis and Putins of our time. Their evil war crimes earned them a prime spot amongst the most hated voodoo dolls historically. Our planet evolves spiritually, so tolerance for such evil no longer exists.
Well-travelled tourists have experienced monstrous places stuck in time warps. Few grasped the intensity to fight for gay rights since the 1860s in Germany and Europe, until a repulsive little man, sporting a silly moustache and a big mouth destroyed over seventy years of gay liberalisation in Germany and the world. Six million people were murdered in Germany because people feared the dangers of war. History repeats itself, but once again we have the satisfaction of watching another pathetic little man taking a beating. His delusions of grandeur exposed how rusty the Russian army is. Gorgeous Russian models have frequently graced our covers for ten years and along with their photographers had to flee from foul Putinesque homophobia. Spiralling inflation and the biggest humanitarian disaster since 1945 affects everybody. Locally our inflation has reached record levels, but our myopic Reserve Bank is still increasing interest rates, whilst many leading countries are starting to reduce interest rates. Their defence is the protection of the rand that weakens every time one of our government geniuses kisses dictatorial feet. The answer is simple, free the economy, stop interfering and embrace our biggest trading partners, especially the ones where we do not have a trade deficit.
We have seen an influx of rich retirees to South Africa where their stronger currencies go far and also adds to the astronomical costs at most old age homes.
A large gay organisation for older members of the gay community called Prime Timers exist mainly in the USA, but thus far have shown little interest in South Africa, but our own Facebook group named, “Gay Seniors” now have over 1200 members after just over a year of existence. I approached a few people who are as passionate about this topic as I am and here are some comments…
Nicholas Melck – Estate Agent and Developer, Eastern Cape
In the past two years there has been a growing need for off the grid living. It is no longer a luxury to have a big house with a big garden but rather for small and functional. There have been a few changes in the market and the need from tenants and buyers as a requirement is for electricity and water. The older generation or people at retirement age are wanting to scale down from their big and high-maintenance properties to properties that are more manageable. One of the reasons is that people have gotten used to the idea of traveling, going out to dinner, and spending more quality time with friends and loved ones. The younger generation cannot afford big high maintenance homes. This is not because they do not earn the money but since Covid, it has made a mental change in how they want to live. People spend more time going to the beach, taking walks with their kids, and having some time out. For young and old the problem is exactly the same…no water and no electricity. Every one of them fears the uncertain future. It just makes a lot of sense to have a property in a secured area that is not relying on governmental factors and assistance. Even though off grid living comes at a premium, most people are willing to sacrifice a little bit of space for the convenience of living. More and more people are working online, and they are working with international clients. The clients do not understand our problems or our schedules. They require their schedules to be met in their time frame. Buyers also tend to favour smaller secure complexes because their return on investment is less volatile. When there are 80 – 150 units in the complex, you are put in a position where you are governed by the last best price.
The buzzwords in the financial sector are “retirement communities”. That is where the new money is and they’re MILKNG THAT COW.
…However, none of them are geared for a special interest group of people – all of them are “gay friendly”, so they say! Well, they are governed by the Constitution so no discrimination, which is good.
There are plenty of gay friendly retirement communities out there…so not a problem, albeit very expensive, the gay community, as a whole, is a very dynamic group, it’s not disputed, however, what about the few that were catapulted into a situation , where they need to scale down? there are many reasons for that…my point is, there are NO affordable “retirement Communities” for gay men.
We do not need huge compounds, just 7 units or fewer. Building units that will suit a single person is easy – that category will not be our first rodeo. To be successful we need a l entity that make this happen. I know there are thousands of companies that can build, however, not a single one in South Africa is specialising in catering to the needs of the senior gay community. Not one! We need a reputable company that can serve the community.
Building affordable homes is easy and it’s been done for years, and in the most expensive areas of South Africa. You really do not have to go into hinterland. A single entity must be able to liaise and secure the financial loans, secure and develop the land and just make it happen. The goal should be to supply a person with a brick-and-mortar home – from R375 000 to one million. If this entity needs to operate as a private “club” so be it. We all can buy membership into that, then it will be a phone call away: “Joe, I want a home”, or “Joe we are seven friends who would like a compound, R375 to R500 each”. It must be within a radius of five kilometres from a major government hospital, for example George, Knysna or Margate…or wherever”, as long as it’s one phone call away. Building homes are easy, it’s the single entity that we need, the one that can be the glue that hold this process together. The gay community must unite and just realise we have to start taking care of each other, or we are all doomed to become cellophane men.
Dave Robbins and Barry Greyvenstein
Gay retirement homes: when the topic was raised as a possibility, my partner and I had a very interesting conversation about it, and raised a whole number of points which would need answers.
Who will run it, and how?
There are already a number of companies and organisations that run retirement homes, so rather than try and reinvent the wheel, approach them to find out the feasibility of having such a place, the potential costs and legal implications.
Where is the best place for it to be situated? Naturally we are biased and would love to have it close to the Great Brak River area. However, property in the area is expensive so perhaps one should look at being inland and away from all those expensive sea views. Situated inland, though still within range of hospitals, airport and shops.
Would it be exclusively gay?
Legally, this may cause a problem – however, a vetting committee for prospective residents could stress the need for a single gay person to be given priority. We would naturally suggest that race and religion not be taken into consideration in the vetting process.
Would it only be open to those who can afford it?
Often those who most require a place like this can’t afford it. Our suggestion for a fund, much like the Retired Actor’s Benevolent Fund be established, may be the way to go. Financing the shortfall of what the person can afford and the actual costs.
Do the residents have ownership of what they stay in?
Residents would own a section of the property and live in it. When they pass on, the property is sold on the condition that 25% of the sale is retained by the retirement home (body corporate) and the balance into their estate. This business model is currently used by many retirement homes.
Will there be a monthly levy?
This is inevitable, as there are monthly costs which have to be taken care of.
Again, a Gay Benevolent Fund would fund the shortfall if necessary for those who would not be able to afford the full amount.
Mention of a Gay Benevolent Fund has been made. How would this work?
Ideally this would be a trust, run by a board of trustees, that would actively seek to attract financial investment through bequests or donations. Often members of the gay community have no-one to leave their money to and this could be a cause that they would feel comfortable being associated with.
Affluent gay men often opt for luxurious communal living in stunning properties, but most gay men over thirty are choosing a simple lock up and go lifestyle. Many highly qualified expats are relocating to South Africa where they work for large multinationals who often pay for furnished rentals for a while.
We enjoy more options in how we choose to live after forty. Examples of stunning lifestyle villages in the US and Europe present shows and entertainment, which is irreconcilable with morbid retirement homes. Most of the top twenty-two Way Gay Retirement Communities offer far more fun than imaginable. If you dare, visit www.debtfreeguys.com.
The northern hemisphere is less safe now since 1945 and pricier than most of the southern hemisphere.
South Africa offers an attractive destination for gay expats to work from remotely from a young age with far more buying power than where they hail from. It is between 30% and 300% cheaper here than in the US and more affordable than almost anywhere else in the modern world, with comparable levels of self-sufficiency ranging from energy to food. Our sophisticated mixed, economy offers luxury products and some of the world’s best protection of wildlife with stunning wide-open spaces to explore. Recently our fuel was 10% more expensive than in the US, primarily due to our unpopular fuel taxes. Half our fuel is produced by Sasol at 40% of the fuel pump price, whilst much of our oil comes from Angola. Taxes hurts our economy, but it is great for Sasol shares that increased stratospherically in 2022. Two interesting sites to visit is www.numbeo.com and www.expatica.com.
Cost comparisons between countries and different cities globally is incredible. I believe smaller gay villages in different parts of the country is the answer and each small group can make its own rules. Loneliness is a choice, but finding the right land countrywide, means we could live there happily for decades if we network and utilize our skills in creating something fabulous at much lower than market rates.
In Portugal a youngish guy could happily stay with older people without any legislative complications. See www.getgoldenvisa.com.
The Portuguese, Swedish and Swiss model of lifestyle villages attract gay men of all ages. Visit www.retirefabulously.com and www.swissinfo.ch or visit www.regnbagen.com.
Portugal is the least expensive in Western Europe and with its relaxed visa requirements is a popular gay retirement option amongst South Africans, Americans, and Canadians who don’t mind that it is 20 percent more expensive to live than SA.
South Africa shamefully has not a single gay retirement village. A consistent influx of inlanders and outlanders bolsters Garden Route property prices from Mossel Bay to Jeffreys Bay, due to access to airports and two great government hospitals that are better than most private hospitals. Consequently, mainstream developments in these areas with superb infrastructure cannot supply in the massive demand, so undesirables need to remain closeted to be on the safe side. Let’s build our own small lifestyle villages wherever there is demand and drive, with minimal fuss.
Small groups of people will save themselves a fortune by involving people they trust and know well who are not too greedy. A rare species admittedly.
After eight years doing research on the intense demand for rainbow homes amongst like-minded people, not a single person in our community said they intend to crawl back into the closet. We all share this dream to fight loneliness from the day we tumble out the closet, so it is your choice whether you realise this dream with the contagious energy of a few friends.
Years ago, I worked as a qualified estate agent over weekends on the Atlantic Seaboard, whilst working in HR in Cape Town. Life moved on and I spent years as a successful financial consultant in Johannesburg before I founded Africa’s first gay business association in 1992, which evolved into the Gay Pages. Recently however I registered again as a candidate property practitioner with Kopano Properties in Jeffreys Bay who are teaching me again about all the new developments as an intern property practitioner. Contact me if a fun lifestyle appeals to you in your little town called Agteroormoerfontein or anywhere else where there are a just a few active gay people who may warm to the idea of a lifestyle cluster development. Being a principal at an estate agency you may also be willing to recruit an unqualified local who learns the tricks of the trade fast. There are many determined people all over the country who dares to dream and learn fast. Our thirty-one-year-old global business network improves the odds of success if we share this vision with locals all over plus a few imports. Neither I, nor you need to abandon our careers, as we can work from anywhere our hearts’ desires but let’s not be lonely not now, nor ever.
Visit www.gaypagessa.com where our 8000 articles reflect our drive and fascination with life. Enjoy our wonderful growing collection of magazines dating back to 10 December 1994, which makes us one of the ten oldest printed gay glossies in the world, which is also digital and available on Apple and Android Apps. Being archived in different countries and academic research archives, our content outlives everybody.
Anyone interested in investing in a project to build housing for gay men, or who would like to book a home, please contact me at 082 777-0830 or email@example.com.