Affordable Retirement Living: Understanding Your Options
Looking for a cost-effective living arrangement in retirement? You’ve got options
Retirement should be your reward for a life well lived. You've put aside punching that time clock and now it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! You should not have to worry about making ends meet at this point of your life.
However, realities of retirement living such as whether you can afford your home costs are unavoidable and must be addressed. Here's what you need to know about your options when it comes to affordable retirement living.
The Many Faces of Retirement Living
There's no lack of choices when it comes to retirement living options. That's to be expected: everyone's circumstances and resources are different. That also means there's a solution for just about everyone. Many retirees choose to age in place in their family home. Others decide to move in with family members such as adult children or grandchildren. Still others relocate to a retirement community of some sort. Some even sell everything they own, buy an RV and go cruising cross-country!
The point is that each of these options can be a viable choice, depending on your preference and situation. Aging in place, for example, is often an expensive choice when it comes to maintaining a larger and likely older home that will need repairs, lawn maintenance, utilities, etc. Moving in with family isn't an option if they're too far away, live in too small a home or if you don't have any. Medical needs or physical issues might prevent you from being able to comfortably tolerate an on-the-road lifestyle. In other words: there are benefits and drawbacks to all these options. So how do you decide?
Let’s Talk Affordability
Perhaps unsurprisingly, retirement living doesn't always come cheap. Increased medical costs, transportation costs, dietary needs and more can add to your budget. If you live in an older home, one that requires heavy investment in maintenance, upkeep and utility costs, not to mention ever increasing property taxes, it can become an increased drain on your resources.
This is why many retirees decided to downsize by putting their old family home on the market and using the proceeds to supplement their retirement income. This opens many other retirement housing options that might have been unavailable otherwise, such as that RV trip. But an increasingly more popular option is joining a retirement community.
Are Retirement Communities a Good Choice?
A growing trend among retirement-ready folks today is indeed the retirement community. There are plenty of reasons why; retirement communities offer a beneficial blend of living arrangements that allow you to enjoy your independence while removing maintenance chores and absorbing maintenance costs, while surrounding you with others in similar circumstances.
Some retirement communities consist of detached or semi-detached homes that are indistinguishable from other gated communities except for the fact they are 55-and-up. Others are condos or apartments that have been constructed specifically for accessibility and have dedicated medical staff nearby or on-site to offer full medical care. Even more provide a number of these services together. Known as continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, these last options have become even more popular as of late.
A Focus on the Continuing Care Retirement Community
The growing demand for CCRCs is only natural, especially in an age where medical science is enabling us all to live longer, healthier, and fuller lives. Today, a retiree can look forward to another 15 or 20 years of life — or even more! — and the last thing you want to have to deal with is relocating from one retirement community to another as your medical needs and capabilities evolve over time.
A CCRC takes all of this into account by what's called "continuity of care." It provides living arrangements for independent and active retirees, those who might need some occasional medical care, those who need the level of care you would find in a hospital or nursing home and everything in between. Instead of a retiree having to adapt to a new retirement community, the retirement community adapts to the retiree. That's a major advantage when it comes to long-term living arrangements — otherwise you face the possibility of having to relocate to a more appropriate facility, leaving your familiar surroundings, your friends, your social schedule — which is a disruptive process to be sure!
CCRCs and Affordability
Real talk: CCRCs can appear to be on the higher-priced side when compared to some other retirement living options. They often have contractual requirements such as a large down payment and then a monthly rental fee, and these payments may be slightly to significantly more than you would be paying for a comparable retirement community that doesn't offer continuity of care. Considering the advanced nature of a CCRC, these heightened living costs make sense. That's because CCRCs don't increase your costs of living just because your medical needs increase. You continue paying the same amount regardless of the additional services and attention needed. It's thinking and planning ahead, just as you did for your retirement in the first place.
Want to learn more? Click here to read Does a CCRC Make Sense for You?
The Final Word on Retirement Affordability
We should all be so lucky to make it to retirement age and have enough resources left over to live the high life. If you're looking for affordable ways to enjoy your retirement, and that includes your living arrangements, you've got a number of options available to you. Some of these might be inappropriate for your needs or budget, but it's important to understand the types of choices you have.
Despite the relatively higher up-front costs of a continuing care retirement community, moving to a CCRC could very well be one of your better longer-term options. If you plan on enjoying a long, relaxing and fulfilling retirement, or if you're already retired and looking for new living arrangements that are more in line with your current needs, consider moving to a CCRC today!
For more information on retirement, read these articles by Acts Retirement-Life Communities:
- Can I Afford Retirement?
- Retirement Myths vs Reality: What You Need to Know
- Should I Sell My House When I Retire?
Acts Retirement-Life Communities is the largest not-for-profit owner, operator and developer of continuing care retirement communities in the United States. Headquartered in suburban Philadelphia, Acts has a family of 23 retirement communities that serve approximately 8,500 residents and employ 6,200 in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. For more information about Acts visit actsretirement.org.