Tribune Print Share Text

Two hours that will change your life

The prudent approach to retirement research

Created date

August 20th, 2013
Ruth Phillips

If you re nearing retirement age, or even if you ve already retired, you should be researching retirement living options. It s the prudent thing to do, says Ameriprise Certified Financial Advisor Samantha Long. You may discover you can enjoy a healthier, happier, more financially stable retirement if you make some changes, but you have to do your research first.

Discovering your wants and needs

Ruth Phillips, retirement expert and sales counselor atCedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J., meets with folks in any stage of retirement to help them discover their needs and options in the area. She not only answers questions about the lifestyle at Cedar Crest, but she s also knowledgeable about the area s retirement living options. A typical first appointment with Phillips lasts about two hours. We find out what they are looking for, what their current living situation is, what their timeframe is, and what they specifically would like to focus on, Phillips says. Most importantly, We listen, she adds. People usually come in with lots of questions and concerns, or they aren t really sure what to ask and aren t familiar with what a retirement community is all about. We take an approach to find out exactly what they want, what their needs are, and who they are as people. Like Long, Phillips encourages everyone to do their retirement research and helps get her clients started. I m well educated on the retirement market in the area. If someone has questions about another retirement community, I can help, Phillips says. I also encourage people to check out our competitors if they haven t done so already. We understand this is a process and want our residents to feel confident in their decision.

Retirement priorities

During your research, ask yourself questions to help discover your retirement priorities. For example, People who move to Cedar Crest are usually looking for peace of mind. That comes in the form of a health care safety net, financial security, camaraderie and socialization among peers, and less home maintenance, Phillips says. Cedar Crest has more than 180 clubs and activities for those looking for camaraderie, 24/7 home maintenance for those looking to lighten their load, and an on-site medical center for those looking for quality, convenient health care. Other people may be looking for more predictable expenses in retirement, Phillips says. Long agrees: In retirement, a monthly budget should be strictly followed and reviewed at least quarterly. Cedar Crest s monthly service fee includes use of all community amenities, 24/7 home maintenance, transportation, food, and all utilities except telephone and Internet. Instead of writing ten checks a month for various expenses, you have only one check or automatic deduction for almost everything, Phillips says. People love that convenience and predictability, and the time it saves them to do the things they enjoy.

Don t get left in the dark

If you decide to make a lifestyle change in retirement, Phillips recommends setting out a clear plan for yourself. We have a team here to work with our members every step of the way from downsizing to choosing a real estate agent to moving, she says.