Author Alfred Montapert once said, “Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take.” We think this sentiment is particularly true when it comes to retirement. When you’re young you may feel like life is predetermined: school, work, family and so on. So it may initially feel freeing to wing retirement, but you may be shortchanging yourself. Proper financial planning can actually open up more options for the retirement you want in an over 55 community.

What’s Your Goal
First, ask yourself what your dream retirement looks like. If it includes relaxation, fun, amenities and a carefree lifestyle then it sounds like retirement living could be an ideal fit. But, don’t let the initial sticker shock of an over 55 community deter you. That’s exactly where the planning part comes in; to help put retirement living well within reach.

Start by Taking Stock

To prepare financially for retirement living, start by organizing your financial documents including:

  • Bank and brokerage account information
  • Deeds and mortgage papers
  • Insurance policies
  • Monthly or outstanding bills
  • Pension and other retirement benefit s
  • Social Security payment information
  • Stock and bond certificates

Then, consider consulting a financial advisor and/or estate planning attorney to discuss ways in which you might be able to offset the cost with resources already at your disposal such as:

  • Insurance options including long-term care insurance and/or life insurance conversions
  • Pension, Social Security benefits and personal property like your home that may be potential income
  • Programs in which you may be eligible like the Aid & Attendance benefit for veterans or their surviving spouses
  • Potential tax deductions
  • Analyzing your savings as well as your investment portfolio with long-term needs in mind

What to Expect

Retirement living (also known as independent living) falls under the umbrella term senior living; however you might say it’s the entry point in a continuum of care that also includes assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.

Retirement living is designed for active seniors like you who need little daily assistance and although there is little published data on average cost because it varies so greatly; it typically ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 a month. Keep in mind this costs comes with meals, weekly housekeeping, laundry services and transportation often included, as well as access to a range of activities and amenities such as fitness center and pool.

More for Your Money

Now that you know where you stand financially and in general what to expect in retirement living costs, let’s look for ways to make your hard-earned dollars go further. It’s important to understand that there are three main factors that affect the cost you’ll pay:

  1. Level of Care – Essentially the more assistance you need, the higher the cost. You might consider a community that offers multiple levels of care on one campus so you’ll benefit by paying less for retirement living now but have the peace of mind that a higher level of care is available if needed.
  2. Geography – Where you live affects the cost of senior living the same as it does real estate. In order to keep costs down you might consider communities outside the city or in nearby towns, even a different state.
  3. Amenities – The more luxury you want, the higher the cost as well. Options that affect your monthly cost include your type of residence (private, semi-private, studio, one- or two-bedroom), pet fees, concierge services and private transportation.

Another area in which you have different budgeting options is the fee structure you choose. Although not every retirement living community offers all these options, the most common pricing includes:

  • All-inclusive –All services and amenities the community offers in one monthly cost.
  • Tiered – Different levels of cost options available, each one with a different variety of included services.
  • A la Carte – You pay a base rate for rent that may include some basic services then you’re charged a flat or per-hour fee for every additional service or amenity you use.

Bonus Way to Save

Retirement living in an over 55 community may offer move-in incentives such a month’s rent for free or perhaps assistance with moving costs so always make sure you double-check.  Any little bit helps when it comes to making your retirement dreams reality!

For more information on retirement living in one of our over 55 communities, contact us today to schedule a visit →


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