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Over 55, footloose and fancy-free

Their careers over, the kids flown, baby-boomers are enjoying their newly found freedom.

Over 55 and often retired, this demographic is turning the idea of the "Big OE" on its head.

Average life expectancy now means as many as another 30 years of living after retirement, and the 55 plus age group is determined to make the most of that time.

Heading away for months or years at a time, those undertaking their "grey gap years" (as it's colloquially known) may be decades older than their just-out-of-school counterparts, but their numbers are swelling.

Research in the UK has revealed that those who are 55-plus spend up to 40 per cent more on foreign travel than those in the 34-54 age group.

Ron Tustin, a retirement coach who writes for grownups.co.nz, says baby-boomers tend to travel in distinct ways.

"There are three stages; the 'go-go' time when there is money in the bank, reasonable health and a willingness to travel and explore; the 'slow-go' time, a few years on, when we may not be quite as mobile but still able to do a reasonable amount; and the 'no-go' period when being sedentary is the preferred option."

He says those in the first category can be particularly adventurous when it comes to travel.

"They may be returning to places visited as a backpacker, getting interested in family histories and researching this in the countries our forefathers came from," he says.

Tustin believes it is also common for those in this first stage to look to home swaps as a way to save money and enjoy longer periods overseas.

"These home exchanges are a good option that many retirees opt for. There are several websites where you can make contact with another family in most parts of the world and arrange to swap houses.

"This gives people experience in another community, which can be for a longer period. Many of the people who register on these sites are in the 60-plus age group."

At New Zealand Immigration Concepts we are receiving increasing numbers of inquiries from all over the world, from people who have reached their retirement age and are wanting to make the most of their well-deserved freedom, seeking the unique lifestyle New Zealand has to offer.

If you are thinking of moving to New Zealand on a permanent basis, you will need a long term visa. While the age limit for skilled migrants is at 56 years, there are a number of options for migrants older than 56.

Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers which pathway to New Zealand is right for you.

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