Exploring—and planning—for the cost of retirement living

Have you decided that a retirement living lifestyle would make life happier, healthier and more fulfilling for yourself or a loved one? Now that you understand the benefits, it may be time to understand the cost, including seeking advice on how the numbers are adding up. 

Having the conversation and planning ahead

As Ted Rechtshaffen, President and CEO of TriDelta Financial Partners, explains in his recent article, “Here’s what is costs to live in a retirement home—and the bottom line is less than you might think,” it isn’t uncommon for his clients to experience a sense of “sticker shock” when he educates them on the price range of retirement residences in a given area. Though he explains in his article that retirement living is more attainable than people think—thanks to a number of factors—he adds it’s important to discuss options like retirement living early on so appropriate financial planning can take place. “This entire topic is often not discussed, so even getting the questions out in the open is a great start,” he says. “Unfortunately, many families find the topic too difficult to broach, and as a result, informed decisions sometimes never get made."

This is a sentiment echoed by gerontological social worker Dr. Amy D’Aprix, who believes planning for our later years is essential to leading the retirement years we want. “Choice, control and independence are things we all want for our entire life,” she says. “Planning for and adapting in our later years can help ensure we get them—as well as adventures, fun and a life of continued meaning.” 

Understanding the costs

In his article, Rechtshaffen explains that it’s important for seniors and their families to remember that the cost of retirement living can vary due to a number of different factors, including:

How much health care support you require. The more personal support services you need to live comfortably, the larger you can typically expect the cost to be. For example, an independent senior who requires no care services and who will still be cooking their own meals won’t necessarily be paying as much as an individual who requires dedicated assisted living or memory care support.  

Your preference of accommodations. Retirement residences come in all shapes and sizes, and thus so do the costs. Aspects like what type of accommodations you’re looking for (i.e. a studio suite versus a two-bedroom apartment or townhome) and what amenities are available will affect the price.

Location. Geography can play a big factor when it comes to how much it costs to live in a retirement home. For example, you’ll find a residence in a rural setting may come with a more modest price tag than a residence in downtown Toronto or Vancouver.

Keeping these factors in mind will help you understand some of the costs that you will come across as you begin to visit retirement residences. Retirement Living Consultants at the Chartwell homes you’re exploring will also be able to help you understand the services included in different packages, illustrating all the benefits and conveniences so you can see the value that accounts for the cost.  

Rechtshaffen does offer some assurances when it comes to the cost of retirement living: “The health care costs of Canadians in their later years will very likely rise, but in many cases those extra costs will not only be largely covered by expense reductions, but for homeowners who sell their property as part of the transition, the income generated from the sale of the home can often more than cover off any additional living expenses.” He concludes, “While declining health can bring many challenges, the impact to your finances doesn’t have to be too bad…or not nearly as bad as you thought.”

Trying to add up your current monthly expenses and sources of income to determine if you can afford retirement living? Chartwell’s Budget Assistant can help. 


*The following source provided reference for this blog:
Rechtshaffen, Ted. “Here’s what is costs to live in a retirement home—and the bottom line is less than you might think.” (2019), online: https://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/retirement/heres-what-it-costs-to-live-in-a-retirement-home-and-the-bottom-line-is-less-than-you-might-think