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Planning the perfect retirement

Retirees adopting a new mindset, choosing peace of mind and financial stability

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February 20th, 2014
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If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it’s this: the golden years aren’t a guarantee.

A joint study released by AIG Life and Retirement and AgeWave reveals that older Americans are changing their views on retirement.

Eighty percent of respondents, ages 55 and above, say they now exercise more caution with their finances and cite financial peace of mind as more important than accumulating wealth.

“Americans are rightfully concerned about retirement and more careful in their investment strategies,” said Jay Wintrob, president and CEO of AIG Life and Retirement. “The 2008 global financial crisis provided a financial wake-up call that people have taken to heart. They are now seeking a safer and more predictable road to retirement, one with less risk and more financial security.”

Planning is key

Maudie Auvenshine, a retired elementary school teacher, says planning is key to navigating retirement.

“When I think about the future, two things are important to me,” says Maudie. “The first is having a feeling of security, and the second is knowing my health care needs will be met.”

As Maudie began to weigh what she wanted from her retirement years against the lifestyle she led in her McKinney, Tex., home, she realized that staying in her house wasn’t a long-term option.

“One of my daughters lives in California, and the other lives in Allen, just north of Dallas,” says Maudie. “They both have families and busy lives, so it wasn’t fair to ask them to help me with home maintenance and repairs. I didn’t want to be a burden on them, but I also wanted to be able to maintain an independent style of living.”

So when Maudie’s friend Audrey Couvillon announced that she and her husband Jim were moving to Highland Springs, Maudie began to ask questions.

‘Everything I needed’

“Audrey and I are in the same quilting club,” says Maudie. “She told me she was looking forward to moving out of her house. At the time, I hadn’t been to Springs, so I thought Audrey and Jim were moving to a nursing home. That couldn’t have been further from the truth.”

Maudie’s view of Highland Springs changed as soon as she visited the North Dallas community.

“I couldn’t believe the amenities at Highland Springs,” she says. “It has the on-site restaurants, the medical center, the fitness center, and the salon, not to mention the continuing care neighborhood. Everything I needed was within these walls.”

Maudie says the monthly service package, which includes maintenance, utilities (excluding telephone), a flexible meal plan, heating and air-conditioning costs, and property taxes, was appealing for its ability to streamline her finances.

“The monthly service package doesn’t change from month to month during the year, so it makes it easy to budget,” she says.

After consulting with her daughters, Maudie felt Highland Springs was a step in the right direction. With help from Personal Moving Consultant Gail Wrzesinski, Maudie settled in to her two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath Hastings-style apartment in early 2012.

Best of both worlds

Now that she’s lived at the community for two years, Maudie says she’s met both of her criteria for retirement planning.

“I feel safe here,” she says. “I also know I’ll be taken care of should my health care needs change.”

And, as an added bonus, Maudie has been able to merge new opportunities at Highland Springs with her previous activities.

“I still belong to my quilting club, bridge club, and prayer group outside of Highland Springs,” she says. “But I’ve also joined a book club, a craft group, and another quilting group at the community. It’s the best of both worlds.”

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