What to consider when choosing a retirement village

There are over 175,000 Australians that call a retirement village home, and with our ageing population this number is likely to increase significantly over the coming decades as more and older Australians beginning to consider this lifestyle change.

There are important questions to ask before you make such an important decision.

Ideally, begin your research before trying to choose a retirement village. There’s a lot of information in brochures and websites published by operators, and the Consumer Affairs website has a list of questions to help you compare different villages.

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It’s important to discuss your wishes with family, friends or other people you normally consult about important matters. If you are moving to be closer to someone, you should ask about their plans for the future.

Don’t be shy

You are more likely to make the right choices if you know what you want. List the things you consider essential in a retirement village, versus those you consider desirable. Take time to shop around, and don’t let anyone hurry you into a decision.

The law requires that you be given a retirement village contract at least 21 days before you sign – take longer if you want to, and seek expert legal advice. You may also want to speak to an independent financial adviser before you sign.

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Investigate the financial commitments

Financial arrangements may not be as straightforward as they seem. Costs you should clarify include:

  • Waiting list fees
  • Ingoing contribution/purchase price
  • Maintenance fees and other recurrent charges
  • Metered services and insurance costs
  • Deferred fees, departure fees and exit fees
  • Capital gains tax

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