Understand the numbers with Village Guru

Deciding whether to move into a retirement community is one of the most important decisions in one’s life – there are costs to consider when you move in, while you live there and when you leave.

Noel Whittaker, author of `Retirement Made Simple’ writes many articles for newspapers and magazines and on 4th June the following article was published in Australian Consolidated Media publications. His article highlighted the importance of requesting a Village Guru Report and listed a number of operators where reports could be requested, including at Living Choice villages. Here is the article:

If you’ve ever investigated moving into a retirement village, you will know how hard it can be to crunch the numbers and understand the financial implications.

There are fees you need to pay to the village when you move in, while you live there and when you leave. And the exit fees, in particular, can be complicated formulas that involve paying a percentage of your original purchase price or future sale price, sharing capital gain or loss, renovation costs, sales commissions and guaranteed buybacks if your unit doesn’t sell within a timeframe.

The complexity is multiplied if you are trying to compare payment options, properties or one village with another. And you also need to work out what each option means for your age pension, whether or not you will qualify for rent assistance, how much money you will have left over to spend or invest, and what it can mean for your contribution to a home care package.

My good friend and co-author, Rachel Lane, has created a software program designed to take the financial confusion out of downsizing to a village, and it’s proving to be a big hit with operators and seniors.

“My motivation was actually very simple,” she says. “Almost every person l spoke to who had downsized to a retirement village (including my own grandma) said the same thing: ‘My only regret is not moving sooner’. I wanted to remove the financial confusion. Confusion about village fees, age pension entitlements, rent assistance and home-care package costs leads to inaction. And the delay isn’t just weeks or months: for many it is years. Those are years they could have spent enjoying the lifestyle that retirement villages offer.”

Rachel understands the complexities of the financial arrangements and knows how impossible it seems to people who don’t do it every day.

“Unfortunately, many people who are thinking about downsizing to a village simply can’t work out what it all means for them, financially speaking. In theory, people can work out the village costs from the Disclosure Document, use an age pension calculator and then go to the My Aged Care home care costs estimator. But in reality, it’s virtually impossible, even for those comfortable with numbers. And the difficulty multiplies if they are comparing different homes, different contracts or one village with another.”

So what does Village Guru do? In a nutshell it gives you a personalised report showing the ingoing, ongoing and outgoing costs of moving to a village, plus an estimate of your age pension and rent assistance entitlements and home care package fees.

It can compare different payment options (if the village offers them), different units in the village, or one village with another. So, if you are considering moving into a retirement village, ask your Living Choice sales consultant for a Village Guru report. It’s free and it makes sure you understand the numbers before you sign on the dotted line.