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Published: April 17, 2020

[blog] living-plans-in-uncertain

People have had to change outings, vacations, even wedding plans because of COVID-19, but what about your plans for retirement living? An industry expert on continuing care retirement communities, also a certified financial planner, offers advice on how to proceed with your retirement plans, with tips that focus on the big picture.

Maybe your retirement plan will have to be tweaked but make sure you have a plan with clear objectives, says Brad Breeding, president and co-founder of myLifeSite. For instance, do you want to have enough money to live comfortably and also be able to leave money to family and/or charities? 

“Then ask yourself, ‘How does the current situation affect my plan?’” Brad says.

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Here are 3 tips from Brad to help you answer that question, which he outlined in an hour-long webinar prepared for Kendal at Oberlin and five other Kendal affiliates entitled “Planning for the Future in an Uncertain Environment.” (The recorded video of Brad’s presentation will be available through June of 2020).

Review Your Financial Security

Along with the worries of how to stay safe and healthy during COVID-19, we are also concerned with the economic fallout, both globally and personally.

A financial planner can help you sort through the turmoil and what changes you may want to make to your portfolio, but keep in mind that the U.S. economy was strong going into the pandemic. Yes, the market is down for the first quarter of 2020 but compared to 5 years ago the market is up 25 percent, Brad says.

“This is not a systematic collapse of the financial system as we saw in 2008,” he says.

You’ll want to look at your fixed income (pensions, Social Security, any annuities) and your living expenses. Most people have a shortfall, which is where your investments come in play. Talk to an advisor about ways to lessen the shortfall and make changes to your investments.

Research Your Housing Options

For many older men and women, retirement is a two-parter not necessarily in this order:  You leave the workplace and you leave your current home and move to a condo, life plan community or smaller house.

Is this a good time to sell or buy?

Well it depends, Brad says. The housing market varies greatly by region and housing type, and the pandemic’s impact on regional housing markets varies too. 

Talk to realtors and bankers, both where you live and where you want to relocate, who can give you a more accurate assessment of supply and demand, housing prices and mortgage rates. The good news is that virtual online showings are becoming more common, so the housing market continues to operate during the pandemic.

Consider a Continuing Care Retirement Community

CCRCs (also known as life plan communities) offer various contracts, hospitality services and amenities, but most provide a full spectrum of care, from Independent Living to Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing.

MyLifeSite provides free tools to help you compare costs and services of various communities. Keep in mind that a portion of the entry fee may be deductible as a medical expense.

An important question today is how the community is responding to COVID-19. What protocols are in place to prevent the virus and deal with any positive cases either among residents or staff? How transparent is the community with its residents, their families and staff?  For instance, Kendal at Oberlin posts a daily update on its webpage.

Skilled nursing is a highly regulated industry and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has already announced that it will be making changes in light of COVID-19, Brad says. “I think senior living will become even safer,” he says.

Ask to talk to residents of prospective communities so you can hear firsthand what it’s like to be living at a life plan community during a pandemic.

Brad has. “Residents feel far from trapped. They are grateful for where they are. I’m hearing that over and over,” he says.

Free Guide: Straight Talk: Financial Facts for Choosing a Retirement Community

Learn about more financial considerations to help you evaluate a life plan community!

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Writer Molly KavanaughIn the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.