December 21, 2023

Exploring “55+ Communities” - Does This Retirement Lifestyle Make Sense for You?

If you've been reading our blog, you know how much we like to emphasize what a truly significant milestone it is to retire from your life's work. It may seem redundant to continually state, but we can assure you there are endless emotional and logical layers to how retirement changes one's existence, beyond what many people realize. One big decision is choosing whether or not to join a “retirement community” - a residential community designed for older adults, typically aged 55 and older, who are retired or semi-retired. These communities are created to cater to retirees' specific needs, preferences, and even interests - i.e., Golf Communities, RV Communities, etc - while providing a supportive and comfortable living environment. So, as retirement approaches, you may find yourself asking if this is the right path for you. While only you and your financial advisor can fully address this question within your overall financial plan, we can guide you through core considerations associated with retirement communities and offer insights to help you make informed decisions

Understanding the Costs:

  • Entrance Fees: Many retirement communities require an upfront entrance fee, which can vary widely depending on the type of community and its amenities.
  • Monthly Fees: Regular monthly fees cover services such as maintenance, utilities, and access to community amenities. It's essential to understand the breakdown of these costs.
  • Additional Charges: Some communities may charge extra for specific amenities, healthcare services, or social activities. Clarify what is included in the standard fees and what might incur additional charges.

Financial Planning for Retirement Communities:

  • Budgeting: Work with your financial advisor to establish a budget that accommodates the costs associated with retirement community living. Consider both immediate and potential future expenses.
  • Long-Term Financial Health: Assess the impact of entrance fees and ongoing monthly expenses on your overall financial health. Ensure that your chosen community aligns with your long-term financial goals.
  • Tax Implications: Consult with tax professionals to understand any tax benefits or implications related to retirement community expenses.

Choosing the Right Type of Community:

  • Read Reviews: Research online reviews to understand the experiences of current and former residents.
  • Ask Questions: Inquire about daily routines, available activities, and any restrictions or policies.
  • Seek Recommendations: Ask friends, family, and healthcare professionals for recommendations based on their experiences.
  • Schedule Visits: If possible, visit the communitie(s) to get a firsthand feel for the atmosphere, amenities, and resident interactions.

Investing in a Fulfilling Lifestyle:

  • Amenities and Services: Evaluate the amenities and services offered by different communities. While some may have a higher cost, they can significantly enhance the quality of life during retirement.
  • Social Activities: Consider the importance of social engagement and activities in maintaining mental and emotional well-being. Some communities include a variety of social programs and clubs.
  • Health and Wellness: Assess the community's focus on health and wellness. On-site fitness facilities and healthcare services can contribute to a healthier and more fulfilling retirement.

Evaluate Financial Assistance Options:

  • Government Programs: Research government programs or subsidies that may assist with the financial aspects of retirement living.
  • Veterans Benefits: Veterans may be eligible for certain benefits that can contribute to the costs of retirement communities.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Explore the possibility of long-term care insurance coverage to help manage potential healthcare expenses.

Explore Different Types of Retirement Communities (Plus, A Few Examples):

Resort-Style Communities:

  • Mimic the atmosphere of a vacation resort.
  • Feature luxurious amenities such as golf courses, pools, spas, fitness centers, and social clubs.
  • Emphasis on leisure and recreational activities.
  • Vi at Bentley Village in Naples, FL is a great example of a community where life in retirement feels more like a never-ending tropical vactation. Located in gorgeous Naples and situated on 156 lush acres, the community offers beaches, golf attractions, a thriving cultural scene and, most importantly, boasrs exceptoonal guest service.

Golf Course Communities:

  • Geared towards golf enthusiasts.
  • Often include golf courses, clubhouses, and social events centered around golf.
  • Ideal for seniors who enjoy the sport and a golf-centric lifestyle.
  • The Landings in Savannah, GA features six - six!! - 18-hole private championship Georgia golf courses are available for play to members of The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, each one designed by top golf masters, including Arnold Palmer.

Arts and Culture Communities:

  • Focus on providing cultural and artistic experiences.
  • May include art studios, theaters, and spaces for cultural events and performances.
  • Appeals to seniors with an interest in the arts.
  • You don’t have to be an artist, but you do have to love the arts to appreciate the many benefits of the Burbank Senior Artist Colony. The residents enjoy a live performance theater, a Hollywood-themed clubhouse, a fully-stocked art studio, and poetry classes.

Nature-Oriented Communities:

  • Surrounded by natural landscapes and outdoor amenities.
  • Walking trails, parks, and outdoor recreation areas.
  • Attracts those who appreciate nature and outdoor activities.
  • Nature enthusiasts flock to Hot Springs Village, spread across 26,000 acres in West Central Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains where residents live among endless strectehs of sweeping vistas, lush forests, and sparkling lakes.

RV and Motorcoach Communities:

  • Cater to seniors who enjoy the RV lifestyle.
  • RV parking, storage, and sometimes on-site maintenance services.
  • Appeals to those who travel frequently in their RVs.
  • Uncompahgre River RV Park in Colorado is a dream come true for this particular community. The mountains in the area create a scenic backdrop and provide hours of adventure. If you aren’t quite 55, don’t worry. This senior RV park caters to guests 50 and older.

Choosing the right retirement community is a significant financial decision that requires careful planning and consideration. By understanding the costs involved, working with financial professionals to create a budget, exploring financial assistance options, and investing in a lifestyle that aligns with your preferences, you can embark on your retirement journey with confidence and financial peace of mind. At Fiat, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the financial aspects of your golden years, ensuring a secure, prosperous, and FUN retirement.

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Our job begins where most advisors stop—saving money is great, but how do you spend it without risk in retirement? Welcome to Every Day is Saturday with Brad Gotto and Matt Stahl, partners and private wealth managers at Fiat Wealth Management.

In this podcast we help guide you to think about your money in a practical sense and make the boring and complex financial decisions, fun, informative and educational. Join us on this journey where Brad and Matt will explore different strategies on how to spend your money without guilt and have peace of mind knowing you are spending it the optimal way in retirement.

You’ve saved money for a lifetime. Now it’s time to spend it.

In Spending Money and Having Fun, Retirement Income Certified Professional Brad Gotto teaches you how to be smart about spending so you can stop worrying and live the life you want. Old habits are hard to break, but Brad helps you embrace the counterintuitive and build new habits to support your next chapter. You’ll learn how to:

  • Change your mindset around spending

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