How you can afford a retirement community

(BPT) - Are you retired or approaching retirement age? You may be thinking about the best options for where to live moving forward. Perhaps your house has become more than you can handle, or you have health concerns that require more care — or maybe you’d just like to live in a warmer climate. Whatever your reasons for considering a change, you’re probably concerned about the cost of such a move.

You may be surprised to learn that there can be financial advantages to moving to a retirement community.

Here’s what you need to know:

Your (or your spouse’s) care needs may change

Choosing a “continuing care retirement community” (CCRC) means that you will have options within a continuum of care, so you’ll be taken care of no matter what your needs are, and how they may change over time. This can make it much easier — and much less costly — to transfer from an independent living situation all the way to receiving any level of care that you may need in the future.

For example, within one single community like The Spires at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, your options include Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing & Rehab and Memory Care.

It may be more affordable than you expect

While many CCRCs require a significant entrance fee, most of the time that fee is almost fully refundable at the end of the contract, meaning that you get money back if you decide to move somewhere else or your family inherits money when you pass. It’s important to review the different types of contracts that are available to you within the CCRC model.

The sale of your home can help pay the entrance fee for this model, and if you add up all the costs of living in your home now, you may find that a retirement community is actually much more affordable than you thought — especially if you need or may soon need in-home care as well.

Your current expenses probably include items like:

  • Homeowners insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities
  • Lawn service
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • Mortgage and/or association fees
  • Cable, internet and phone
  • Recycling and sanitation

Once you total up these costs, remember that at a retirement community you won’t have any of these expenses or worries.

Tax benefits may apply

Everyone’s situation is unique, so you should always consult your personal tax advisor for specific advice before making a move. However, there are potential tax benefits you should be aware of when making your decision.

For example, residents of entry-fee retirement communities may be eligible to deduct a portion of the entry fee and possibly monthly fees as well, depending on the type of contract offered by that community.

Continuing care retirement communities may offer financial assistance

Many CCRCs can help you find bridge financing to help bridge the time between the sale of your current home and moving in to the community, among other possible financial resources.

“Check with the community you’re interested in to find out about financial options they may have that may not be advertised,” advises Jill Trapp, marketing director for The Spires. “For example, we work with potential residents on finding creative solutions to help with their financial needs.”

Moving in sooner can save you money

Over the long term, the sooner you make your move to a CCRC, the less expensive it will be. Many communities offer an easy-to-use online calculation tool that can help you determine if moving there would be a good financial fit for you. To evaluate your situation, try out the Affordability Calculator offered by The Spires at Retireatberry.com/pricing/affordability-calculator.

Making any move can be challenging, but continuing care retirement communities are focused on helping you relax and enjoy this time of your life to the fullest. To learn more about some of your options, visit RetireatBerry.com.

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