Strategies to Finance Your Retirement Community Living
Planning for a comfortable retirement can be confusing, and it's not only about having enough money to pay for day-to-day needs. Planning ahead and researching retirement communities and financing options is an important part of getting ready for your golden years. The earlier you start researching and saving for the future, the further ahead you'll be. This includes making housing decisions and figuring out how to finance it all.
Start Saving Early
The best way to prepare for what can be the massive expense of retirement community living is to start saving as soon as you can. Beginning with your very first career move, look into your employer's 401(k) and pension plans. Participating in a 401(k) program from your mid-20s is a far smarter move than beginning at 40 or older. With matching funds and time, you'll be sitting on a sizable nest egg that can be used for housing when you retire.
Buy Into a Retirement Community Cooperative
Popular in warmer states, cooperatives let you purchase a home, modular house or condo while paying a monthly service fee for maintenance and common areas. Typically, when you purchase into a cooperative, you own — or possess equity in — everything from the walls in, while the association owns and cares for the rest. Many seniors buy into these 55+ communities well before retirement and use them for vacation homes.
If circumstances prevent you from being able save a large amount before retirement, consider government-subsidized senior housing. This type of housing is typically apartment-style units, and rents are based upon your income or social security benefits. If you know you're going to be retiring soon, it's a good idea to investigate low-income options and put your name in once you've found one you like. Because the need is high, wait times for available apartments can be lengthy.
Assisted Living and Insurance Benefits
Look into your current insurance coverage and see if there are available benefits for assisted living. Many retirement communities offer assisted or independent living or a combination of them both. The assisted and independent living label comes with a rather high price tag because these communities offer the personal care of a nursing home when needed without the medical atmosphere. A rather large upfront payment is normally charged in these communities, and they tend to have lots of contracts to sign, which can end up causing headaches
Examine Options Other Than Communities
If you know money is going to be tight, and you might fall short on financing, examine other options. Think about and research the cost of living in another state or even across town. If you own your own home, look at your equity and consider a reverse mortgage. Lastly, get your family and kids involved. Sometimes moving in with your kids or having them move in with you is an excellent option for your retirement years.