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BW Businessworld

Retire In Peace

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When Sir Richard Branson bought the teeny-weeny Necker Island, he was 39 and nautical miles away from retirement. Last year, when a fire razed his £60 million haven, the now 60-plus Virgin boy ran around naked to save his guests, including Kate Winslet, who generally hates nude scenes. Pause!

The story is that he has a posh mansion. So does Warren Buffett, who invested in one at Laguna Beach when he was 41. Both the Caribbean and Californian villas are dream getaways for an exotic retired life, where one can relax in cliff-side villas beside a  pool and enjoy never-ending views of the azure seas. And if you are yet to grab a piece of any peaceful remote corner of the world, here are some offbeat options for young hearts with fat wallets. Thanks to the tiring crisis, the retiring rooms are getting cheaper.

Contadora, Panama
The seventh largest in the Pearl Islands archipelago is a closely-guarded secret playground for wealthy and famous politicos, writers, entertainers and businessmen from all over. Well off the radars of most tourists, Contadora has two big resorts and a small air-strip, beside 13 white-sand beaches. Settle in one of the several dozen large mansions here, one of them available now for $5.5 million, and even Facebook can't poke you.

Mallorca, Spain
The cashed-up hordes used to jaunt to the fabulous beaches of Mallorca before the Euro crisis shipped a share of trouble to the country. Prime prices have fallen by 25 to 30 per cent and the $12.7 million luxury villa facing the Mediterranean Sea would have cost you an extra $4 million a year ago. The clean and healthy bustling town also offers modern studio apartments, townhouses or traditional seignorial manors.

Seychelles, Africa
Africa has always been a haunt for the super-wealthy looking for adventure and luxury. Seychelles is a small, intimate community off the Madagascar coast, with a headcount under 90,000. The real estate in this area is rare, and there are countless plans to build luxury condominiums on the undeveloped beachfront properties. Opportunities are abundant for those who may want to create their retirement experience in a tropical oasis.

Maui, Hawaii
The beaches, the palm trees, the rest of the clichés and a retired volcano. But Hawaii is the most wealth-friendly place in the US for the baby boomers. Probably, that's why Oprah Winfrey owns 451 acres here. Basic one-bedroom condos start at a steep $800,000, while a oceanfront condo with a few bedrooms can cost anywhere between $5-$8 million. If you have more guests than bedrooms, send them to the nearby Four Seasons resort.













CATCH 'EM YOUNG: Prime properties at (from top left) Mallorca, Maui (AP) or Côte d'Azur can add benefits to your retirement plans (Shutterstock)


Eureka, Utah

If you want to dig your own, ahem… gems, this is the place to be. Workaholics could find semi-precious and precious stones of all varieties, along with native American artifacts. Deep canyons and landmarks are fabulous areas to explore for retirees who always wanted to visit some of the earth's most fascinating geological features. This historic mining town, with population of less than  1,000, provides the ideal base from which to go forth for awesome digs.

Côte d'Azur, France
Your love for art, wine and music can take a leisurely Gallic pace at the French Riviera. Plus, while watching MI-5 on your couch, Tom Cruise might whizz past your window, horizontally or vertically. It is a hot spot for the rich, a town where the best property can cost a small fortune. Brad Pitt used to fancy a $17 million-villa. Expensive means exclusive. David Beckham or Johnny Depp could well be your neighbours. Settling in southern France means only one thing:

C'est une réussite. It's a success!

The World
If retirement gives you a sinking feeling, the largest privately-owned residential yacht can keep you afloat in luxury. Residents of the community-at-sea ship can travel to over 800 ports in 140 countries without ever leaving home. Many of the 165 homes are valued at more than $5 million each. From a golf course to a banyan tree spa to a diesel engine, the ship of dreams has it all. Each year's itinerary is made by the ship's captain and its residents, all of whom share a passion for travel and learning. For many of them, life begins at retirement. Well, 60 is not an age at all.

If you doubt, rewind to Branson.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 23-01-2012)