When Should I Begin Planning for Retirement?

Let’s face it, many activities are on pause thanks to COVID-19. But there’s one thing that doesn’t pause even during a pandemic: aging. The aging process continues regardless of world events, personal plans, or even hopes and dreams. Because we can’t press the pause button on time, when you plan for retirement becomes crucial. Some retirement experts would even suggest that when you begin planning is more important than where you will actually retire. One of the reasons the “when” is so vital is because of waiting lists.

Waiting lists for senior living communities are often a fact. The length of that list is dependent on the type of community and a variety of other factors.  For example, in Life Plan Communities (also known as continuing care retirement communities) the residents typically move in eight to ten years before other levels of care are needed.  Residents are considered “independent living.” This means they are enjoying independent living neighborhoods longer, making the waiting period greater for you. At Friendsview and nationally, the average waiting list time period is four to five years, but they can be as long as ten years. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Your Preferences. Your preferred home in a community may not be available for a while. While wait times for studio and one bedroom floor plans can be shorter if you want anything larger you may be waiting a long time. For example, if you want a two-bedroom duplex home on a corner lot, but the community only has five of those available and they are all full with newly retired, independent living residents…what happens? You guessed it! Onto the waiting list you go, perhaps for up to ten years.
  2. The Demand. Over 10,000 Boomers are retiring each day. By 2030 this entire generation will be considered retirement age and ready for their “freedom years.” With such a massive population all searching for affordable, personalized retirement experiences, the need for senior living could exceed what is available. It’s an issue that AARP, Investopedia and Forbes are saying could be a serious “retirement crisis.”
  3. Unknown timeline of needs. It’s hard to predict what level of care you will need and when. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services someone turning 65 has an almost 70% chance of needing long term care, women needing it for longer than men. Because health incidents can happen unexpectedly, the ideal time to move into a Life Plan Community is before you actually need it – remember that most Life Plan Communities require you to qualify medically as an independent-living resident before move-in. The hope is that by joining a waiting list, if the time comes where moving becomes your top priority you will be at the very top of the list.

Joining a list does come with other benefits. For example, Friendsview hosts an annual complimentary luncheon and in-depth, relevant seminars for applicants as well as other life-enriching events. Some offer use of their facilities when they have availability, such as their fitness center and classes. Each community has different fees ranging from $200-$2000, with various perks for becoming a member of their priority waiting list.

At Friendsview our waiting list is called the intent list. By joining the intent list, not only do you get to hold your place in line for your preferred home, but you get the peace of mind that comes with making a plan for your dream retirement. Residency Planning Director, Frank Engle, suggests that if “there is a 50% chance you would like Friendsview to be in your future, and are willing to pay the $325 non-refundable intent list application fee, I strongly advise you to get on the list. This is how you get on our radar – how you get contacted about availability. While our minimum age is 62, it’s not unusual for applicants to get on the list in their mid-50s on up.”

Friendsview also offers an off-campus residency program for those who are not ready to move, yet want the security of access to health services as well as the other full benefits residents enjoy. As an off-campus resident your name will also have priority over the intent list applicants. Plus, it’s one step closer to realizing your plans for retirement.

For our newest neighborhoods such as Sutton Terrace at University Village we also have a program called the Priority Club. Joining the Priority Club gives you unique benefits such as construction pricing and guaranteed occupancy. Though these benefits are only available for a short time and will transition into Founders’ benefits. A Founder is a person who places a deposit on a home in one of our expansion neighborhoods. Even though construction has not started on these duplex cottages and apartment homes, technology has made it possible for residents to still plan.  New Founder, Linda L. says, “Virtual tours gave us glimpses of our future residence, floor plans provided us opportunities to determine what should be kept and other items to donate, and portrayed windows and doors to help us envision furniture and accessories that would be appropriate.”

Whether your dreams for your freedom years include spacious living, life-long learning, or peace of mind for your family, we urge you to start by researching several Life Plan Communities and, for those that come to the top, place your name on their waiting lists. While we offer the intent list for our current residences, to learn more about our expansion neighborhoods you may consider our Priority Club list. To find out more go to friendsviewexpansion.org. The club offers significant benefits but the time for joining is limited so contact us today!

 

 

Nikki Deckon has been on staff at Friendsview since 2018 in various roles and in long term care for several years. Before working with seniors, she wrote/produced hundreds of talk radio programs and vignettes; was published in a couple of editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul and other print publications including The Oregonian, Kids NW, The Sun and more. After twenty years of marriage she feels that she’s still in the “honeymoon” phase and is enjoying raising her teenage boys in Newberg, a mere two miles from Friendsview.