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Let's talk about money and over 50s communities

How To
November 15, 2019

If you’re thinking about downsizing from the family home, there’s a broad range of residential alternatives to ponder; from over 50s lifestyle communities and traditional retirement villages through to apartments, duplex living and even granny flats. Dr Bevan Geissmann, joint managing director of Halcyon, discusses the costs involved with over 50s community living - a way of life that’s common in the US and on the rise in Australia.

Over 50s lifestyle communities are about simplifying things so that you can remain independent, enjoy more freedom, make new friends and afford a better quality of life.

Here in Australia, these communities are based on a simple and transparent financial model that is governed and protected by state legislation.

It involves downsizing to a contemporary, low maintenance home on land that you lease in a secure resort-style community with lots of recreational facilities and like-minded neighbours.

The move allows you to unlock the equity in your family home, freeing up money for holidays, a boat or caravan, or simply more cash in the bank.

In an over 50s community you’re also gaining greater certainty around your ongoing living expenses, with many of these wrapped into a convenient weekly site fee.

At Halcyon, these fees range from $165 - $245 per week per couple, and can be reduced by up to $66.50 per week if you’re eligible for rent assistance.

The site fee covers your land rent, council rates, water rates and all the costs of maintaining the community and its facilities.

The only other housing-related costs you need to think about are telephone and internet, gas/electricity, and home and contents insurance.

With all that squared away, all you need to do is take it on or take it easy while someone else does the mowing, cleans the pool, and keeps the community looking beautiful and running smoothly.

It’s important to highlight that, unlike retirement villages, over 50s communities do not charge entry or exit fees. There is also no stamp duty on your purchase, no taxes, no strata or community title fees, no body corporate, and no sinking fund.

So, it’s easy in and easy out, and if things change or it’s not for you, there’s a simple exit strategy, and you keep 100 per cent of your capital gains.

Of course, before deciding to move into any type of community living, it’s important to first be clear about your current financial circumstances.

At Halcyon, we recommend that you consult a financial planner who can help you get a clearer picture of the next 20 years. They will also ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions of any agreement you enter for community living.