Independent Living: Cost vs. Value

Homeowners put in a lot of time, money and elbow grease maintaining their home and property. Then there are additional costs like the mortgage, homeowners insurance, taxes, and utilities. These costs really add up at home, but pretty much just vanish in independent living. When considering independent living’s value be sure to also consider how much more it costs to live at home.

Determining independent living’s value

Maintenance, repair and replacement

Living at home in retirement is no different from when you were working and receiving a steady paycheck. Homeowners must continually care for their home and property to maintain their value and livability. Although these costs are generally spread out over time, they can be either small or substantial. For example, changing furnace filters, mowing the lawn, and cleaning gutters are all required but can often cost just a few hundred dollars a year.

Then there are big ticket items such as new roofs which notes can range from $3,500-$6,700 for a 1,000 square foot home to $13,400-$26,800 for a 4,000 square foot home. Furnaces are another high-cost item which the article “How Much Does A New Furnace Cost In 2023?” notes can cost from $2,000-$7,000 for electric, $3,800-$10,000 for natural gas, and $6,750-$10,000 for oil.

Then there are major appliances that need repair or replacement and for those who haven’t been appliance shopping recently there may be some sticker shock in-store. According to a new refrigerator can cost from $430-$10,600 while the cost of a new clothes dryer ranges from $445-$2,100 and a new dishwasher from $330-$1,900.

Even if an appliance can be repaired the costs can be surprising. According to the article, “Appliance Repair Cost” average dryer repairs run $100-$300, refrigerators are $125-$500 and dishwashers $100-$300.

Now consider the value in independent living of never having to maintain, replace or repair anything again except your personal possessions. This is just one part of the outstanding independent living value that can make a big financial difference in retirement.

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Staying Home vs. Senior Living – Should you stay or should you go?

Mortgage, taxes and insurance

Selling a home to move to independent living obviously also means saying goodbye to paying a mortgage, property taxes and insurance as well. But there is more to it, since property reassessments can cause tax increases and insurance costs can also increase depending upon the economy, location and claims, it’s only fair to look at how much will be saved over time as well. For example, according to the article, “Here’s How Much Your Home Insurance Will Rise This Year, According to a New Forecast,” the national average cost of homeowners insurance is expected to rise 9% with some states seeing huge increases, such as Florida with an anticipated 66% increase on top of premiums that are already 437% higher than the national average.

Obviously, those costs are a moot point when considering independent living value because one monthly fee covers it all.

Utilities, entertainment, and food

Not to be overlooked in the comparison of independent living’s cost versus value are other monthly and weekly costs. Start with utilities — heating/cooling, electric, water, and trash collection — which senior living communities include in the monthly fee.

Entertainment is another item to add to the independent living value list. The cost of movies, theater seats, concerts and sporting events are all going up according to the article “The (Not) Rising Cost of Radio,” with movie, theater and concerts increasing 11% and sporting events up 24% in just the past six years. While no one wants to give up entertainment, independent living value includes free onsite movies, local entertainers and many, many other fun and fulfilling activities and events that are all included In the package.

Food is another line item that shouldn’t be discounted, especially considering current inflation with even the basics reaching new heights. According to article, “How expensive are groceries in 2023? These 5 graphs show prices skyrocket,” in early 2023 eggs were up 250%, milk increased from $3.35 a gallon to $4.20 in under a year, bread rose 22%, and a pound of butter increased from $3.67 to $4.88 in one year.

Included in the value of independent living are options for chef-prepared meals as well as à la carte options at cafés and bistros and planned events for holidays and other events. Residents can still enjoy cooking in their own kitchens but they have the leeway to choose.

For help deciding if senior living is the right choice for you, download our free guide, “Staying Home vs. Senior Living – Should you stay or should you go?”. Contact us to learn more about Thrive Senior living and schedule your tour today!

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