One of the biggest decisions that any American will make in their life involves moving into a retirement community. After living independently in your own home for decades, a day is likely to come in which you want retirement to be easier. You will want to forego maintaining a home and paying all the costs of upkeep. If you are like most Americans, you are likely to move into a retirement community where you can enjoy all the amenities and comfort of home with less responsibility for the property. According to SeniorLiving.org, there are some 4,815 senior retirement communities in the United States. This means you will have some research to do prior to making a decision because not all retirement communities are equal.
What Amenities are Available?
Modern retirement communities in the United States have evolved in the past two decades. In recent years, retirement community operators have upgraded and modified communities to offer amenities similar in scope to those of a luxury resort. Even the most basic facility likely offers extras such as onsite swimming pools, three chef-prepared meals per day, and organized transportation to local shopping, dining, and entertainment.
However, some communities have opted to take amenities to a new level. The most popular, in-demand amenities among retirees right now include fitness centers onsite, organized fitness classes, multiple dining venues to choose from (bars, bistros, and cafes), secure walking paths, and pet parks. Take the time to research your possible retirement communities to determine which ones have the amenities that fit your lifestyle preferences.
How are the Company's Books?
As you do research about various retirement communities, do not overlook the importance of occupancy rates. Sparsely occupied communities may be struggling to attract residents and could face financial troubles down the road. Even locations with a 90% occupancy rate could face issues later if it struggles to fill certain units or maintain that high occupancy rates. Keep in mind that even though facilities can be bought out by other operators, that change could come with changes in amenities, services, and you could lose your initial money paid to the original operator.
What are the Rules for Retirement Communities?
Retirement communities in the United States are not federally regulated, but rather are regulated by each individual state. Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or CCRCs, are regulated at the state level and communities must adhere to contracts which have been approved by state regulators. Those contracts include operating policies and other practices such as how and why monthly fees may increase. The New York Times suggests starting your research on CCRCs and their finances with the help of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
What Questions Should You Ask?
The most important piece of research you can do comes in-person. Take the time to take a tour of any facility you are considering moving into. While you are there, do not be afraid to ask the important questions that provide clarity. Not sure where to start? Consider these questions:
- How much of the entry fee is refundable?
- Can I see your balance sheets?
- Do you work with an actuarial firm?
- What is covered by my monthly fee and what's not?
For further advice on this and many other financial topics contact Manhattan Ridge Advisors.
The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of Social Advisors, and should not be construed directly or indirectly, as an offer to buy or sell any securities mentioned herein. Due to volatility within the markets mentioned, opinions are subject to change without notice. Information is based on sources believed to be reliable; however, their accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed.