Imagine retiring to a high-rise apartment where a doorman greets you and a concierge arranges for tickets to the latest show along with complimentary transportation. Or perhaps you’d rather spend your retirement enjoying European river cruises or golfing at the best courses in the country.
While these may seem like retirements reserved for the wealthy, these lifestyle options could be within reach for retirees with more modest means. The key is to identify retirement priorities and focus money there, financial experts say.
Freedom equals happiness. Steve Cordasco, owner of Cordasco Financial Network in Philadelphia, says many high net-worth people live relatively modest retirements. Since they often spend years living within their means to accumulate wealth, they continue to be restrained in their spending during the senior years.
High-wealth retirees may not necessarily be using their money to buy luxury yachts and gold-plated dishware, but their money does buy them something else: freedom. “Those who are happier in retirement [are those who] have more freedom,” Cordasco says.
Having plenty of money in the bank ensures these people are able to do whatever they want, whether its spending their summers at a second home or taking the grandkids out for ice cream each week. Those with smaller nest eggs may not have as much money to play with, but they can still take their lead from rich retirees. “It’s not how much money you have; it’s your enjoyment of it,” says Ken Moraif, founder and senior advisor at Dallas-based Money Matters.
Travel is not only for the rich. Advisors say people are often surprised at what is affordable in retirement and what ends up costing significantly more than expected. Travel, for instance, is often considered a hobby for the rich, but there’s no reason less-wealthy retirees can’t also see the world. Moraif says seemingly luxury travel such as European river cruises can be just as easily pursued by someone with more modest means. “The wealthy person might be in a room with a living room and a library,” he says. “You can do the same trip in a smaller room.”
Both Moraif and Cordasco say they have helped clients find a way to fit their travel dreams into a reasonable budget. Cordasco worked with a retired utility lineman who wanted to live overseas with his wife in retirement. While Naples, Italy, was out of the budget, gated communities in Thailand and Puerto Rico offered the amenities and lifestyle they craved at an affordable price.
Meanwhile, Moraif’s client dreamed of playing the best golf courses in each of the 50 states. To make that a reality, the couple sold their house and bought an RV to travel the country, using money from the house sale to fund their adventure. “They feel like they’re having a very luxurious retirement,” Moraif says.
While retirees may be surprised at how easily they can travel within their means, they may be shocked by the price of dining out. “It’s what can kill a budget in retirement,” Cordasco says. For those who want to live like they’re rich, fine dining might need to take a backseat to free up money for other expenses.
Consider the total cost. If travel is not a priority, many of today’s retirement communities offer a luxury lifestyle closer to home. At The Clare in downtown Chicago, residents live in a 53-story building that comes complete with a full-service concierge, pool, wellness center and five on-site dining options. “The views they have are pretty spectacular too,” says Kyle Exline, executive director of The Clare.
For access to this luxury living, residents must pay a steep entrance fee that starts at around $300,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. Monthly fees begin at $3,000 after that. If that sounds like a lot, Exline says it’s not out of reach for current homeowners. He notes the sale of an existing home often gives residents enough cash to cover the entrance fee, and the monthly cost includes meals, transportation and, most importantly, long-term care.
“Where the value really kicks in is when someone needs an extra level of care,” Exline says. As a life-plan community, The Clare offers on-site assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care for those who need additional services as they age. The care is guaranteed for life at roughly the same rate charged for independent living. That represents significant savings for seniors, especially considering that the annual cost of a private room in a nursing home runs an average of $92,378, according to a 2016 Genworth survey.
Talk to a financial advisor first. For those who aren’t keen on living in the city, life-plan communities are located throughout the country in a variety of settings. Exline recommends seniors discuss both their current and expected future expenses with a financial planner. While it can be an expensive initial investment, luxury communities can actually be an affordable option once you factor in all the included living expenses, not to mention long-term care.
However, living like you’re rich may be more about your state of mind than how much money is in your bank account. As Cordasco reminds clients who are worried about money in retirement, “There are a lot of people like you, and they are doing quite well.”
This article was written by Maryalene LaPonsie and originally published by US News & World Report.
View the original article by clicking this link: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-06-09/how-to-retire-like-the-rich-even-if-youre-not