Assessing Your Financial Needs When Considering Independent Living

Published: August 12, 2022

There’s a reason that the time after retirement is often called “the golden years.” It’s a time of life when many people finally get a chance to do what they want after decades of working hard at their jobs. Millions of New York and New Jersey retirees move to communities designed around their needs. Community residents enjoy carefree lifestyles, meet new friends, and have security. It’s an inviting lifestyle that takes careful planning to achieve, and the best time to begin is now.  

Independent vs. Assisted Living

Assisted Living is designed for seniors who need some care, so the cost is higher than for independent lifestyle arrangements. Communities that offer Independent Living options may also provide Assisted Living. We offer Independent Living only at The Residences at Plainview, but we have sister communities in the area that can help with other senior living options. While both arrangements have many things in common, they differ in meaningful ways. 

Independent living is about a lifestyle choice rather than receiving care. Both Independent and Assisted Living in N.Y. offer seniors housekeeping services and crucial social opportunities, but Assisted Living includes medical and personal care. While independent living communities are usually more affordable than assisted living, they are not covered by most insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.  

Planning Ahead Is Essential 

Most people have a definite idea of how they want to spend their senior years, but it takes planning to make those dreams a reality. It’s never too early to begin creating a retirement goal and begin taking steps to get there.  

It can be challenging to think about getting older and discussing your plans with family. But, waiting too long may leave you with no time to make the necessary financial arrangements. Whether arrangements include Independent or senior Assisted Living, it’s crucial to have a plan. 

Create a Realistic Budget 

The best way to create a workable plan is to look at future costs realistically. You’ll need to understand the cost of senior care before making arrangements to finance it.  

Creating a budget that includes essential and non-essential needs helps bring expected costs into focus. Most Independent Living communities such as The Residences at Plainview include necessities like housing, utilities, meals, yard work, social activities, and housekeeping in their prices. They offer everything needed for a vibrant lifestyle, but may not account for personal needs and wants.  

For example, you may want to ensure you have the money to continue hobbies and other interests. Suppose you want to ensure you can have a pet, continue gardening, or easily arrange for visitors. It’s essential to consider communities that allow desired amenities, which can affect costs.

We also offer therapy services at The Residences included with your cost of living and on-site medical appointments, which can be arranged in your apartment or in one of our two Wellness rooms. 

Even if you choose Independent Living, it’s wise to factor in the potential costs of Assisted Living or even respite care. Many seniors who are robust at retirement develop health issues in later years and need help with personal needs or even medical aid. 

Once you have a breakdown of future needs, you can make a financial plan to ensure you have the funds.  

Evaluate Investments and Income 

There are various ways to fund the cost of moving to a senior community, and it’s never too early to begin saving for it. Review your earning potential, Social Security benefits, and savings to help determine whether you can meet your retirement goals.

Independent Living communities are open to seniors 55 and older, but Social Security benefits aren’t available until age 62. Benefits are highest if seniors do not begin collecting until they are 70.

According to Aging Care, most seniors use personal funds to pay for the costs associated with a senior community. Social Security is not enough for the expenses of retirement communities. Most seniors save for retirement via a 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), profit sharing, or an IRA. Regardless of the type of investment you choose, it’s vital to review investments routinely and make changes as necessary to maximize savings. 

U.S. News and World Report experts say that long-term care insurance, some life insurance policies, and Veterans’ benefits can often help pay for Assisted Living but do not cover Independent Living. 

Think About Downsizing 

Overall, the cost of living in a senior community is usually less than maintaining a large house. Some communities that offer Independent Living arrangements can provide fully furnished apartments. Even if housing is unfurnished, seniors typically need fewer belongings than they have in their current homes.  

Elders who are moving into senior communities can often downsize. Many sell possessions they no longer need, including appliances, clothing, books, furniture, bedding, and recreational items. The extra income can go toward the cost of moving to a senior community

The Residences at Plainview is a Long Island community providing living arrangements for seniors. We offer a vibrant lifestyle to 55+ adults looking for more than just a home. Our community is a worry-free environment that offers residents friendship, fun, and forever family.