Retirement Communities

Retirement communities have become popular places for seniors to enjoy their golden years. These communities offer many benefits, including a strong sense of community, recreation opportunities, and increasingly, services like personal financial advising and investment assistance. Even seniors who managed their money well before retirement can benefit from professional financial advisors as they must make adjustments to their original plan. Since no one knows exactly how long their retirement funds will need to last, being able to react to unexpected developments like health concerns, dips in the market or new life goals is essential to maintaining the standard of living that you enjoy when your first retire.

Retirement Tips for Seniors

Most people who live in retirement communities understand the importance of good financial management. Some seniors may have even used the help of financial advisors or a retirement calculator to manage their money while they were younger to reach their current level of savings. Many of the same strategies that helped you save enough to enjoy the benefits that retirement communities offer will work for you again as you make your dollars stretch through retirement. Just as you created a budget when you were first out of college to determine how much you could put into savings, a financial advisor can help you create a budget that will allow you to live comfortably in any of the retirement communities you might choose.

If you haven't already moved your funds from the higher-risk accounts of your youth to steady, liquid accounts like mutual funds, Treasury bills and good old-fashioned savings accounts, a financial advisor will probably recommend that you take another look at how well your investments can weather risk and how easily you can access your money when you need it. You might not be comfortable keeping your money in cash because of inflation, but as you grow older, inflation becomes less of a worry and accessibility becomes more important. There are good financial advisors in many communities who can help you make this transition.

Reassessing Your Goals

As seniors settle into retirement communities, the reality of how much money their preferred standard of living requires on an annual basis can cause many people in their 50s and 60s to reconsider their goals. Some might begin to appreciate the value of their own communities and choose to spend more time with friends and family nearby versus traveling to different cities around the country. It might take sacrificing a few weekend getaways or giving up nights out at restaurants to stay on track with your bigger goals, but a financial advisor can help you make the most seamless transition from your original vision of retirement to your standard of living after making compromises.

For an example, consider the Smiths. After considering several retirement communities, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, both age 65, decided to sell their 5-bedroom home in Connecticut and move to one of Arizona's many sunny senior communities. They had originally planned on keeping their residence on the East Coast to be near their kids, but after going over the numbers with their financial advisor, they realized that to live on 75 percent of their combined pre-retirement income as planned, they needed more than they had in their nest egg. Unfortunately, the Smiths only chose to seek the advice of a personal finance advisor as they started searching retirement communities, after they had lost a large portion of their expected investments in the stock market. Their advisor showed them how they could recover by diversifying their accounts and recommended a schedule of moving funds to more liquid accounts as they got older.

The Smiths had a relatively painless transition from their dream scenario to reality, but they still had to make some concessions once they moved to their retirement community in Arizona. For one, they could not visit their kids as much as they would have liked, and they had to select one of their second-choice communities because of expense. Fortunately, the community they joined offers a lively atmosphere with a country club and social activities so they don't feel the need to go out to expensive restaurants or sign up for a pricey fitness club.

Choosing a Financial Advisor

Seniors in retirement communities might have more decisions to make after retiring than they'd anticipated, leading to a greater need for financial advice post-retirement. Some communities offer financial planning lectures or on-site counseling, while others have advisors on hand for suggestions and guidance. Although you might not feel like you need guidance when you first retire, a professional adviosr can help you navigate the unexpected obstacles that can keep you from realizing your long-term dreams. Retirement communities can give you a lively place to enjoy your golden years, but it's up to you to seek the help you need to keep your finances in order.

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