Prior to cofounding myLifeSite, I spent 14 years as a financial advisor. During my last couple of years in that role, I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about the senior living industry and, in particular, life plan communities (also known as continuing care retirement communities or CCRCs).

It seemed that a growing number of people were interested in the benefits of a life plan community, but there were a variety of factors that made this particular choice more complex in terms of the decision process. The clients I was working with in this regard were thrilled to have a reliable, unbiased resource they could turn to for guidance and to understand what questions to ask as they explored their senior living options.

Greater financial clarity

Of course, as a financial planner, one of the things many of these clients asked me about was the affordability of moving to a particular community, or comparing the affordability of two different communities. Quite often the question was not purely whether they could afford it or not. Many of these clients had ample assets and/or income to afford this lifestyle choice. In fact, some had already been financially qualified by the communities they were considering.

What my clients really wanted was better clarity about the extent to which they could afford it or to better understand the potential financial impact of one choice compared to another — not just today, but over their lifetime, and using various hypothetical assumptions.

However, the more I learned about CCRCs, the more I realized that most financial planning software programs are ill-equipped for this specific and important task. Quite simply, these programs typically are not designed to take into account the many nuances of CCRC contracts. This challenge forced me to finagle the software inputs to try to generate a projection that was as accurate as possible, but it wasn’t ideal, and it took hours of my time.

Continue reading about senior living cost and affordability calculators here.

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