Views On Retirement Communities

How do you feel about retirement communities? Such places, often reserved for those who are age 55, or older, have many supporters and detractors, and opinions may vary widely even from one spouse to another. In the end, this is a personal decision that you have to make for yourself or as a couple. Consider these key considerations:

         Common Advantages

  • There's generally plenty to do in a retirement community. Depending on the location, you may be able to use your newfound leisure time for golfing, tennis, swimming, gardening, theatre, clubs of all sorts, and numerous other activities.
  • Security is another reason why many senior citizens are flocking to these developments. Many communities are gated and have a visible security presence. Plus, with so many neighbors around all the time—rather than being away at work—suspicious activities tend to be reported quickly.
  • The homes usually are located close to a reputable medical facility, shopping, and other conveniences. Some even have retail stores.
  • A retirement community may offer peace and quiet, with no teenagers revving up their car engines or having all-night parties.
  • Homes are built with retirees in mind. They generally provide easy access for disabled individuals and the elderly.
  • You can meet and socialize with people in your own age group.

         Common Disadvantages

  • You may have strong ties to your current community. Many people feel most comfortable staying in the home where they raised their kids and living close to long-standing friends and neighbors.
  • Do you have adult children or grandchildren living with you? If that's the case, you may not want to uproot them. In addition, they may not be allowed to live full time in an age-restricted community.
  • Even if you don't have youngsters living with you, you may enjoy being around younger people. The age mix in your neighborhood may suit you just fine.
  • One frequent complaint of young retirees is that they don't want to live with "old" people. They see themselves as being young or at least acting as if they were. And some people view living in a retirement community as a stigma to be avoided at all costs.
  • The association fees for maintaining the community grounds—often including swank clubhouses, golf courses, and other amenities—can be pricey. If you're not a golfer, or shun the swimming pool, the extra costs might not be worth it to you.

In any event, get all the information you need to make the best choice for your situation. Your advisers can help.

This article was written by a professional financial journalist for G.W. Sherwold and is not intended as legal or investment advice.

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