Retirement Living Made Simple! What’s the best option for you?

Retirement communities come in all different shapes and sizes and to help you consider your options we talk to Rachel Lane, co-author with Noel Whittaker, about what you should consider if you’re thinking of downsizing.

Are you best suited to apartment living? Would you want to move in with family (good for some, but not for all)? Or would you be better off at a retirement village or lifestyle estate – sometimes referred to as a ‘manufactured home park’ or ‘over-55s community’.

While no two retirement communities are ever exactly the same, let’s look at the three major differences between a retirement village and a lifestyle estate:

  1. the legal framework;
  2. the financial costs; and
  3. The ability to access Commonwealth Rental Assistance from the Government.

Legal Protection

On the surface it may appear there are too many different legal and financial arrangements that you need to compare. Most retirement communities fall into two groups:  retirement villages or manufactured home parks (i.e. lifestyle parks).

Retirement villages operate under the Retirement Villages Act and the major differences are that in a Retirement Village you have a lease or ‘licence to occupy’. In a lifestyle estate however you own your home and lease the land. lifestyle estates also operate under state or territory legislation including the Residential Land Lease Communities Act, the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act and the Residential Tenancies Act.

Both retirement villages and lifestyle estates both typically offer a range of lifestyle and community facilities from swimming pools to community centres and lifestyle programs but a large point of difference is the cost structure.

Financial Costs

Properties sold under the Retirement Villages Act will have a range of costs to consider. The ingoing contribution (purchase price); the monthly maintenance fee; a deferred management fee (a percentage paid to the operator when you leave often between 20 per cent to 35 per cent); and a share of the capital gain that you also share with the operator of the village. The disclosure statement details these costs and allows you to compare between villages and other options you may be considering.

The simplicity of the costs in a lifestyle estate is the differentiating factor. When you choose your new home in a lifestyle estate you pay for the house and own it, you rent the land, and subject to your circumstances, you may qualify for the Commonwealth Rental Assistance to subsidise this land rent. There is no more to pay! It’s that simple! Your land rent (usually between $150 and $180 per week) covers all community facilities, maintenance costs, and your council rates and village management costs. All you have to budget for is your personal utilities, home and contents insurance and your next holiday!

Both retirement villages and lifestyle estates (MHEs) are governed by legislation that controls fees and rent increases.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance

There is a lot to consider when it comes to finances of moving to a retirement community. Common questions include: what will happen to my pension?  Will I be eligible for rent assistance?  Will I be able to afford living in village longer term? What will be the cost of a care package if I need one? And how much money will I get back when I leave?

Financial confusion is one of the reasons people delay moving to a retirement community. When they finally make the move their biggest regret is not moving sooner!

If you are confused about the financial implications of moving to a retirement community, seek advice from a financial adviser who specialises in this area.

About the author

Rachel Lane is the Principal of Village Gurus and co-author of the book ‘Aged Care, Who Cares?’ with Noel Whittaker. She overseas a national network of financial advisers dedicated to providing quality advise to senior Australians and their families. Rachel has specialised in this field for more than a decade and believes her passion comes from growing up with her grandmother. Rachel also holds a Masters in Financial Planning.

First New Home Owner Moves Into Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek

Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek celebrated a major milestone on Monday 23 February, welcoming the first resident to settle in to one of its newly constructed homes.
The growing lifestyle community in Marsden Park is a popular site for affordable, permanent living for over-55s in a secluded pocket of Sydney’s Western suburbs.

Speaking the day after she moved in, new resident Lorraine Austin said she was
delighted with her brand new two-bedroom home, and impressed with how smoothly the buying process progressed, from start to finish.

“I was looking to downsize from the home I was living in, so I’d have less yard to look after and less house to clean,” she said. “Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek stood out for me because I could downsize and move to a more peaceful location, and still live within close proximity to my previous neighbourhood.”
Lorraine is thrilled with the size of her backyard that’s big enough for some lawn to enjoy the outdoors and hang her washing, but
not too much to look after when she’d rather be doing other things.

Location was also a big factor in her decision to move to Stoney Creek. “I love that I can still attend the same church I did before I moved, as it is only 10 minutes away, and I can still shop at the same set of shops close by.”

According to Lorraine, Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek’s setting, including an expanse of open space and trees, provided a real sense of community and felt like an escape from the world of hustle and bustle.

“There are a lot of trees all around the estate. It’s very relaxing and based on the plans for the future, it’s going to be quite beautiful, too,” Lorraine said.
Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek allows residents the opportunity to choose their First new home owner moves into Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek brand new home from a range of designs at an affordable price with no stamp duty, legal costs,
or entry or exit fees. A small weekly rental fee is paid to lease the land and the resident owns the home, which means they keep 100% of the capital gain if they choose to sell.
If you’re interested in living at Active Lifestyle Estates Stoney Creek, contact ALE Stoney Creek Project Sales
Manager Rachel Pullicino on 0459 995 919.

New Homes and Green Thumbs at Albury

Just moments from the beautiful Murray River, the first stage of the Active Lifestyle Estates Albury redevelopment is well
underway, with almost all the new homes snapped up and another five two- and three bedroom homes due to arrive by mid-April.

Priced from just $195,000 and finished to an exceptionally high standard, the new homes are not likely to be on the market for
very long.

For many, the appeal of an Active Lifestyle Estate home is the opportunity to enjoy low maintenance yards and a hassle free garden. But this doesn’t mean residents miss out on the benefits of growing fresh herbs and vegetables, and the arrival of new vegetable garden beds recently was met with great enthusiasm.

Birdfeeders and birdbaths will also be installed to encourage native wildlife to make
their home around the village as well.

Official Opening at Active Lifestyle Estates Ettalong Beach

Since the opening of Active Lifestyle Estates Ettalong Beach in August last year we have had incredible response to the new homes and the community.

Out of the 12 homes released in Stage 1 only two remain left to be sold…

The residents are also very excited because they can see the construction of the new Community Centre and swimming pool is well underway and will soon be able to take advantage of the activities, library and interaction with the new residents and all the benefits that the new facilities will provide.

Ettalong Beach has also completed the new entry and was officially opened this month with Ingenia Communities CEO Simon Owen and the local MP, Lucy Wicks.

Ingenia Care Assist

Active Lifestyle Estates launched Ingenia Care Assist in October 2013, extending our commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents.

Ingenia Care Assist is a free advisory service for residents, which links them to a range of local services from personal care to physiotherapy, podiatry and domestic cleaning. “Our residents enjoy their independence and autonomy, but now and then, certain services and support are needed,” said Janene Eagleton. “That’s where Ingenia Care Assist comes in, providing free advice, and care plans if required, allowing residents to stay as independent as possible, for longer.” The ground-breaking program, puts residents in the drivers seat by providing tailored information, advice, care coordination, and referrals to health and case management services so that residents can get on with enjoying life and ticking off their bucket list. Active Lifestyle Estates The Grange will be holding an information session about Ingenia Care Assist’s Free 7-week Wellness Program on Wednesday 25th March. To register your interest or for more information please contact Jason Webb on 02 4973 1883. For more information about Ingenia Care Assist, please call 0418 698 694.