The motto of the Scouts movement is well known – “Be prepared” – and being prepared is something to bear in mind in life too, especially when it comes to planning for retirement. In retirement, demands on finances can be particularly strenuous, so planning well ahead for such eventualities makes a lot of sense. Health issues and accommodation requirements also have to be taken into account.
People are living longer and retiring later in life. Most individuals now retire in their mid to late 60s, and the average life expectancy in the US is 78.74 years, according to 2012 figures. Faced with this reality, individuals nearing retirement age will likely need to have a sizable fund already built up on which to survive, even after taking a social security entitlement into account.
Financial advisors recommend that people start planning for retirement early, including investing in a pension fund, to give themselves plenty of time to build up the necessary funds. Not everyone expects to live the same kind of lifestyle in retirement that they did while working, but there will be unexpected expenses as well as day-to-day expenses to take into consideration. With income static or certainly relatively so, having access to sufficient funds is imperative. Living in a senior community can be beneficial to some individuals in terms of finances, because it can help save on certain costs, such as home maintenance. The size of a senior community also means that some costs, such as energy expenses, can be pooled, ensuring a discount that retirees living on their own would not otherwise enjoy.
As people age, their health deteriorates, so it is common sense to plan for that eventuality. Having appropriate levels of health insurance is essential to meet ongoing medical costs during retirement.
Where to live
When it comes to retirement planning, a key issue is where to live after retirement. For some retirees, remaining in their current home may not be practical for all sorts of reasons. The house may be too large for their needs now that their family is reared, or there may be future maintenance and renovation costs that may be too much to bear financially. A senior community may be a more practical option for the retiree. In addition, living in a senior community can turn out to be beneficial to the retiree’s health. Senior communities tend to have nurses on-site and ready access to doctors and other medical professionals. Of course, living in a senior community by its very nature means living alongside other people. For many retirees, growing old can mean growing lonely, resulting in a negative impact on mental and, as a consequence, physical well-being. Living among others going through similar experiences can in fact be a great positive.
To get a better idea of how senior communities work and what type of community might suit individual needs, it is recommended to visit a number of different sites. Ask plenty of questions and talk to different people – residents, staff and family of residents included – to get a feel for what a particular community would be like to live in.