“Do I have enough assets to cover the cost of whatever care I may need down the road?”
This is one of the most common questions our sales counselors are asked. It’s right up there with “How can I protect my estate so my children will have an inheritance?”
These are challenging questions for nearly anyone who is trying to plan for their retirement years. No doubt these and other questions are responsible for many lost hours of sleep.
If you’re trying to decide (for yourself or your parents) whether moving to a retirement community is the right choice or if staying in the family home is a better option, you may be feeling stressed. We understand. It’s a huge decision.
The good news is there are many resources you can turn to for help for financial planning resources. We’ll point you to some frequently used resources as we go through several steps to get you started.
How To Begin Planning Your Future
These are only suggestions, of course, and not all of them will apply to every situation. You may also find it works better for you to approach these steps in a different order than we’ve presented here.
Talk with your family.
In many cases, the best first step is to sit down with your family — whether that’s a spouse, adult children and/or other family members who may be involved in or affected by your decisions — and start a conversation about your financial options. Others may have thoughts and ideas that could prove helpful.
Evaluate your needs and priorities.
Be as candid with yourself as possible. There are many things to consider, so making a list might be a good idea. Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling.
- Is traveling something that’s important to you?
- Do you need a home with a lot of space, or could you be content with a smaller home?
- How is your health and your medical history?
- Do you want your children and/or grandchildren to inherit the bulk of your estate?
- Is connecting with others and being part of your community key to your happiness?
Create or reevaluate your budget.
Most of us live according to some sort of monthly budget, even if it’s in our heads. But it’s especially helpful when mapping out your financial planning strategies to have a written budget that takes into account all of your income and expenses.
While it’s true that there will always be unexpected expenses, you may be able to factor those into your budget to some extent as well. For instance, if you own a home and a car, you know that repairs and replacement items are going to be necessary at some point.
Our online cost calculator can be a good resource to use as you start building or revising your budget. It’s also useful if you want to compare the cost of staying in your current home versus what you might expect if you lived at Christwood.
Seek resources you can trust.
The internet and social media are filled with financial planning resources. Unfortunately, not all of them have your best interests at heart. So, it’s critical to make sure that any you decide to use are legitimate.
There are other options, too — books, courses and seminars, certified professionals. An entire industry has been built around helping older adults plan for their future. Just be careful. Check out online reviews. See if they’re rated by the Better Business Bureau. Ask for credentials. The time you spend digging around for information could prove to be invaluable.
We offer a no-cost retirement planning guide that can be quite helpful as you begin to sort through your options.
Consult a qualified financial advisor.
There’s no overstating the importance of this step in the process. Whether you turn to a financial planner, an accountant, a tax expert or some combination thereof, these professionals can offer advice that will form the bedrock of your retirement plan.
How Affordable Is Living In A Retirement Community?
So often when people begin a conversation with us, they say they can’t afford to live at Christwood. They’ve already made the assumption that it’s too expensive to live here.
What they don’t realize is that we offer a variety of entrance fee options and an abundance of floor plans. That gives us the flexibility to welcome many residents who once thought our community was out of their budget.
“We are much more affordable than what most people think,” says Raina Rudolph, a sales and marketing counselor at Christwood.
When deciding whether to move to a senior living community or stay in your current home, it’s important to make an accurate financial comparison.
That’s true whether you’re comparing a specific community versus your current home or you’re comparing multiple retirement communities. Not all senior living communities are Life Care or Life Plan communities, and not all of them offer the same options, financial or otherwise.
As we noted earlier, our cost calculator can be quite helpful when it comes to making these comparisons.
The Cost Of Procrastination
Some people find it uncomfortable to even think about planning for retirement, much less put the wheels in motion. If you’re among them, just know that time can limit your options.
To be eligible to live in a Life Plan Community like ours, you must be able to live independently — at least at the start. For couples, we can sometimes make an exception if one spouse is the primary caregiver for the other. We evaluate each situation on its own merits.
Too often, we see people who put off their decision, only to regret it later. Physical and cognitive health can change, literally, overnight. Financial circumstances can change just as suddenly.
Incidentally, if you haven’t looked into the cost of long-term care, you might be surprised how expensive it can be. Round-the-clock memory care and skilled nursing services can easily exceed $100,000 a year, whether provided in the home or elsewhere. And many times, there’s a waitlist.
As a resident of Christwood, you would have guaranteed access to health services that include assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, if ever needed in the future, at greatly discounted fees. That’s in addition to all of the services and amenities you can enjoy from Day 1.
Instead of continuing to use your time, energy and financial resources to maintain your home, would it be smarter to choose a Life Plan Community for your future? Ultimately, only you can make that decision. But we do recommend that you don’t wait too long to make it.
Other Financial Aspects To Consider
Before deciding if you should move or stay in your home, it’s an excellent idea to discuss the pros and cons with a tax professional and a legal expert. For many people, moving to a senior living community helps them to:
- Protect their assets
- Ensure their heirs will inherit their estate
- Take advantage of tax benefits
Oftentimes, these three outcomes are intertwined.
For example, some residents are able to deduct a portion of their monthly fee as a medical expense. Some can also write off a substantial percentage of their entrance fee on their tax return for the year in which they pay it.
Both of those help to safeguard their financial assets and preserve the value of their estate.
Financial Planning Resources At Christwood
It’s a lot to think about. With a decision this important, you want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right choice for your situation.
Raina and our other sales and marketing counselors are here to walk you through the options available at Christwood and answer your questions. They can also help guide you toward other financial planning strategies and resources you can rely on as you go through the decision-making process.