Looking for stability in your retirement plan?

Big and small changes you can make for a more reliable financial future

Created date

May 29th, 2020

Wind Crest's predictable monthly service package makes life virtually maintenance-free.

When researching retirement living options, one aspect should be at or near the top of your priority list: financial stability. 

“You’ve spent your life saving for these years,” says Samantha Long, a certified financial planner with Ameriprise Financial. “Whether you choose to stay in your house or move to a community, it’s important to choose a retirement living option with proven financial strength, value, and reliability to ensure you can meet your basic monthly expenses while managing any investments.”

That said, she stresses that the costs of home ownership must be accounted for in retirement. “If expenses of home ownership, for example, a new hot water heater or air conditioner or even larger expenses like a new roof, are not prepared for, they can severely impact your retirement goals,” she says.

You may have set up a budget before or during retirement, but homeowners are more likely to get hit with unpredictable big bills, says Long, than people who live at a retirement community.

Among retirement communities, there are many differences in the way each one operates. A number of financial structures, in addition to lifestyle and amenity options, exist among area communities.

Exploring options 

The Denver metro is home to a variety of retirement living options outside the single-family home. Let’s look at the main differences between each type.

Active adult 55-plus communities typically provide activities and a return on investment, but homeowners are still responsible for home maintenance.

Those who live at a senior rental community don’t buy in to the property, so they don’t receive a return on their investment. They pay one monthly fee to cover their rent and use of on-property amenities.

Life care communities, another option, require a long-term, upfront financial commitment. Residents pay a substantial fixed monthly payment that remains the same as they progress through levels of care.

At fee-for-service communities, residents pay for advanced levels of care only if and when they need it. It’s a financial model that’s both affordable and secure for most retirees. 

No surprises

Dave Pfeifle, former president and CEO of a global manufacturing company, has lived at Wind Crest since 2011. He says the financial components of Wind Crest, especially its predictable monthly service package, make it a good financial decision for people looking for an amenity-rich community and a wide variety of apartment styles. 

“It’s obviously a good financial decision when you look at everything: getting rid of maintenance issues and the ongoing costs that come with owning a home, and dealing with the unknowns,” he says. “Here, you know what your costs are on a day-to-day basis.”

Mel and Jane Birky have lived in the Denver metro area for around 50 years and have two sons in the area. They wanted to stay local. They visited several area retirement communities before choosing Wind Crest. 

“We felt Wind Crest had the best combination of price, value, amenities, and location,” Mel says, adding that the friendliness of staff and neighbors was also a big incentive. 

Standardizing monthly expenses

Two sales counselors, Tony Stephenson and Sandy Shelpuk, assist people who are deciding to sell their house and move to one of Wind Crest’s maintenance-free apartment homes.

“Our monthly service package includes nearly all monthly living expenses in just one check each month that remains the same throughout the year,” Shelpuk says.

The predictable monthly service package, which corresponds to the size of each apartment home, includes all home maintenance, professional landscaping, property taxes, 24/7 security, utilities, a flexible meal plan, and use of all amenities like the indoor pool and fitness center.

Aside from home maintenance costs, Wind Crest’s grounds crew keeps the campus landscaped with perennials and annuals all year round. Community members who enjoy gardening may opt to care for a personal garden space in the resident gardens area. But those who’d rather shed that task can still enjoy beautifully manicured grounds. 

During the snow season, grounds crews plow the campus loop and shovel and salt sidewalks. 

“I shoveled quite a bit of snow before I moved to Wind Crest,” says Mel. “It’s nice having all that taken care of.”

Free shuttle transportation between the three clubhouses provides an easy and safe way to get around campus, whether to dinner, the medical center, a group fitness class, a club meeting, or coffee with friends. 

“When you start thinking about all the amenities available, including the medical center and continuing care neighborhood on campus,” says Dave, “I think it’s a very good package…a significant value.”

Ensuring a healthy retirement plan

“Our on-site amenities and predictable monthly costs give such peace of mind to our residents,” says Sales Counselor Tony Stephenson. “They don’t have to worry about which bills have been paid and which need to be paid. It’s convenient and budget-friendly.”

Which, Long adds, is imperative in retirement. “A monthly budget should be strictly followed and reviewed at least quarterly,” she says, adding that a financial plan should also be done annually by a trusted financial professional. 

She suggests reviewing the following to ensure a healthy retirement plan: 

•Your current financial position

• Cash reserves

• Life insurance

• Long-term care

• Retirement 

• Estate planning

Long recommends reviewing your retirement plan sooner rather than later. “Remember, the longer you wait, the more limited your options for change,” she says.

No matter where you are in your retirement timeline, you should give your finances an annual checkup. People are living longer, which means their financial plans are more likely to run out before they do. But the sooner you make adjustments—like standardizing your monthly expenses—the better.