There are 76 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 and many of us looking forward to our next phase of life – retirement.
Millions of baby boomers are very well off. On the other hand, many baby boomers will be facing a tough financial future. Because our savings are low, our 401(k) portfolios have been reduced, some of us took forced retirement early and almost no one is getting paid pensions.
But the main question is where you are going to live in retirement still valid never matter your financial situation.
Everyone has their own take on retirement lifestyle and retirement living preferences. But today many boomers are interested in moving to an active adult or 55+ community rather than retiring in a traditional neighborhood.
When you reach the age of 55, you have a new choice of lifestyle. It is a neighborhood where people live with neighbors who are at the same stage of their lives. Many have raised their children and are ready to focus on their new phase of life without the responsibilities of parenthood and careers.
As you start exploring your retirement living options you may find that active adult communities are not different than any other residential community, besides their age restriction. Most of them are designed for a retirement-friendly and low-maintenance lifestyle.
These 55 and over “age-restricted” communities typically mean that someone in the residence must be at least 55 years old. But moving to this type of retirement community can offer you plenty of benefits when it comes to amenities, services, and social life.
If you are planning to move to a 55+ community, you can choose from different types of these organizations.
Types of 55+ active adult communities:
There are several different types of 55+ communities to choose from.
Active senior communities. These 55+ communities are designed for those who live a more active lifestyle. They offer plenty of various activities such as swimming, biking, hiking, etc.
Golf and resort communities. These communities offer a resort-like environment with high-quality amenities. Your lifestyle will be like a year-round vacation living on a beautiful gold course.
Luxury communities. In this type of 55+ communities, you will find larger homes with more refined amenities, impressive landscapes, and luxury features available to their residents.
Gated communities. This type of community offers all the bonuses of a 55+ community with added security and enhanced privacy.
These types of communities for active adults make life easy and enjoyable each day. However, is a 55+ active adult community the right choice for you?
Perhaps the best benefit of living in 55+ communities is that they provide plenty of amenities. The community will give you many opportunities to socialize, exercise and stay active in your retirement years.
Amenities that may be provided include:
- Golf courses
- Fitness centers
- Swimming pools
- Tennis courts
- Dining areas
- Social events
- Arts and crafts classes
In addition to the amenities, the community residents often organize social events, affinity clubs, volunteer groups, and other ways to stay active and involved.
When you move away from a neighborhood where you have lived a long time, you would appreciate the opportunity to make new friends.
In active adult communities, residents are likely to be in the same place in life. Everyone worked hard for many years, raised a family, and now is looking to enjoy a relaxed and comfortable retirement.
It will be easy to find people with whom you have so much in common and who want to develop a great friendship.
When you retire and have plenty of time on your hands you would like to have neighbors who share your interests and activities.
When you have the more available time, it is easy to make your schedules more in sync with others. Each community has different activities and amenities, you just need to pick and choose what you want to do.
Your community may often present many opportunities for activities like potluck dinners, parties at the clubhouse, regular board and card games, book clubs, and organized outings for residents.
The best part is that you do not need to wait for weekends or take time off from work to go on a trip or schedule some activities. You can explore new hobbies, meet like-minded people, and have a varied and interesting life. People you meet will like to stay busy, social, active, and have fun.
This might be the best-selling point for people who choose to move to an adult active community.
If you are tired of lawn care, yard work, exterior upkeep, and everything else in between, you might find that low maintenance and hassle-free living is appealing.
There is no more yard work, snow-blowing, raking leaves, or painting the exterior. Many residents choose to downsize from the big homes where they raised their families and move to smaller homes with less maintenance.
The interior maintenance and daily upkeep are still the responsibilities of the homeowner. However, as a resident, you will enjoy your life without the burden and hassle of dealing with your home exterior repairs and maintaining the yard. Your homeowner’s association (HOA) fees will cover the costs of community maintenance and your home exterior.
Typically, the homeowner’s association provides all services to keep the community beautiful and pristine.
Quiet and peaceful environment
Adult active communities often offer a more peaceful and quieter environment than residential neighborhoods with families that have young children.
Adult children and grandchildren are of course welcome to visit. But overall, the requirement for residents of 55+ communities is to have a less noisy and more quiet place to live.
Even though you like a kids-free environment, occasionally you might want to host your family including grandchildren. When looking at an active adult community, make sure to learn their policy about having visitors and overnight guests who are younger than 55.
Some communities have restrictions on how many family members can visit and for how long.
Affordable cost of living
Today these types of communities are located in many regions and became very popular.
Also, it triggered more interest from the residential developers and builders. Perhaps, you have an option to move into one of these new construction homes which are built to be more modern and energy efficient.
With the new construction, you can personalize your home by selecting the details, materials, features, and the latest eco-smart technology. This means you can avoid complicated renovations to make your old home more age friendly.
However, if you are planning to move to a retirement community at age 55, you have to consider how the monthly HOA fee fits into your budget. You can only start taking Social Security benefits as early as you turn 62. But that would still leave you with a 7-year gap to fill.
Also, taking money out of a 401(k) plan and IRA before age 59 ½, can trigger tax penalties. Hence, if you are not working full-time or part-time you may have to pull money from your savings accounts, CDs, or even an investment account to cover the cost of living.
Keep in mind, that taking money from your taxable investment account can affect your tax liability. You have to make sure that you have enough money to pay your taxes.
But as you compare the cost of aging in place and moving to a retirement community, you might find out that buying a retirement home in a 55+ community may be a cheaper option.
According to statistics, the average annual spending for people aged 55 to 64 adds up to $57,180 per year ($4,765 per month). It includes the costs of housing, utilities, transportation, food, healthcare, and entertainment.
But if you still want to live independently but with the benefit of added amenities, the average cost of a 55+ community will be between $1,500 – $4,000 per month.
Again, you have to look closely at what you are getting in exchange for what you will be paying. Then compare all this to your current budget and see what you might spend in the future.
Homeowners Association (HOA) fees
Most of the adult retirement communities have some form of the homeowner association, and they collect HOA fees from the community members. These dues and fees are used to pay for the community repairs and renovations, and upkeep of the grounds.
Rules and regulations
While the homeowner association (HOA) collects fees from the community members, it also carries out community laws, rules, and regulations. These regulations and rules can be quite broad. If a resident violet a rule, the HOA may impose a fine.
Thus, before moving into the community, consider reading through the rules thoroughly so you will not be surprised by how you may customize your home or can and cannot use the amenities.
No medical care on-site
Most of the active adult communities do not provide any kind of healthcare services as part of your HOA monthly fee. Also, there are no on-site medical facilities.
These communities are mainly created with a focus on independent living rather than healthcare services. If you expect additional services, you can arrange for home care assistance through a third party. But if you need extensive medical care, you may want to look into another community with assisted living medical care.
Lack of age diversity
There is also a lack of age diversity in these types of communities since they are an age-restricted, and at least one member of the household should be 55 or older.
Not everyone finds it appealing to live with mostly old people. If you want to live amongst diverse age groups, you should reconsider moving into this type of environment.
The final words of advice – it is never too late to start finalizing your retirement lifestyle and retirement living options. The earlier you start, the better prepared you will be.
Here are a few related posts you might want to read:
- How to Organize Your Time in Retirement
- How to Adjust to an Empty Nest Lifestyle
- Where Will You Live When You Retire?
- 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Place to Retire
- How to Stay Fit and Healthy in Retirement
- Planning for Retirement in Your 50s
- How to Use Home Equity in Retirement
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