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Living a life of leisure in retirement is getting pretty pricey. The average yearly expenses for households of people 65 and older total around $45,756 according to the latest data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s about $3,800 a month. 

Today’s seniors are living longer with healthier lifestyles and better preventive care, which is a big positive. However, the increasing cost of groceries, fuel, health care, and utilities makes living on a fixed income more and more challenging.


Is a Senior Living Community the Solution?

Todd Dickerson, field sales manager for Holiday Retirement explains why independent living communities can be a valuable option for seniors, both financially and socially. He says the biggest portion of savings comes through consolidating the majority of your regular expenses into one steady, affordable amount. Here are 10 ways that works.  


#1 Transportation

Getting from point A to point B has never been more expensive. Americans spend an average of $9,761 on transportation each year according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Senior living communities like Holiday Retirement provide complimentary shuttle service. This means you’re freed up from car payments, unpredictable fuel costs, vehicle maintenance and repairs, insurance expenses, and the hassles of public transportation.

All-inclusive transportation is also important for seniors who’ve decided not to drive anymore. “If you’re home by yourself, you have to find transportation from a bus, train, taxi, or Uber if a family member or friend can’t drive you,” Dickerson says. “That’s still money coming out of your pocket.” At Holiday Retirement, drivers take you to appointments, errands, and outings, while you sit back and enjoy the ride.


#2 Food

Even though seniors spend 20% less on food than the average consumer, they’re still shelling out a lot of cash for cuisine. Data shows that on average, households with adults ages 55 and up spend $6,000 or more on food every year. 

Holiday Retirement serves three chef-prepared meals from scratch daily in a restaurant-style dining room. Their purchasing power enables them to serve affordable, yet high-quality, healthy food. 

“Residents don't have to worry about going to the grocery store and buying food,” says Dickerson. “In Holiday Retirement communities, meals are prepared three times a day by a professional chef.” Another perk of all-inclusive dining: save valuable time preparing meals, cleaning up, and shopping for items in crowded supermarkets.


#3 Utilities

Heating, air conditioning, water, and other utilities can really take a toll on the pocketbook. The average American household spends over $2,000 a year on utilities according to the federal government's ENERGY STAR® program. This number doesn’t even include phone and cable bills. 

An all-inclusive independent retirement community typically combines utilities, except for personal phones, into one convenient payment. You’ll find budgeting to be much easier without multiple, fluctuating bills every month. “Paying your electric bill, cable bill, and other utilities every month, as well as the upkeep of all of that can be expensive,” says Dickerson. “Having all those items included in rent is very helpful for Holiday residents.”


#4 Buy-In Fees

Independent living communities are a modest alternative to continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) or ownership-style senior communities, which almost always require a hefty down payment and monthly fees that increase substantially. AARP pegs the average down payment on a CCRC retirement community at around $329,000, but can be as high as $1 million.

Independent living communities like Holiday Retirement do not require costly buy-in fees or long-term contracts. Each rental agreement is month-to-month. While they don’t offer medical or nursing assistance, you can use outside home health care providers. This helps you tailor medical care to meet your specific needs, and avoid paying for any additional, unnecessary services.


#5 Home Maintenance

Home repairs and upkeep are time-consuming and costly. One analysis of homeowner costs by Zillow and Thumbtack, found on average, Americans pay almost $10,000 on repairs, taxes, insurance, and other costs associated with homeownership. 

Each Holiday Retirement community features an onsite maintenance technician who immediately responds to any needs. They also make sure the community’s grounds are clear of snow and ice, and beautifully manicured at all times.

Dickerson makes the point that many seniors have been living in their home for 20 to 30 years, or more. The upkeep gets more difficult and expensive as structures age, especially in the snowbelt states. “A huge money-saving portion of moving into a Holiday community is home maintenance and upkeep,” says Dickerson. “You won’t be shoveling snow, cutting grass, and making repairs.” Holiday even provides housekeeping services, so you needn’t spend time and money maintaining the interiors of your home either.


#6 Travel Accommodations

If your retirement wish list includes traveling, it’s going to cost you. Money Magazine reports that around 26% of traveling costs go toward hotels. 

A unique aspect of Holiday Retirement is its travel program, which allows you to stay free of charge in a guest suite at hundreds of Holiday communities throughout North America. “This is a tremendous benefit of being a resident at Holiday,” says Dickerson. “Our travel program is popular among residents who stay very active and travel to different areas of the country.” 

While visiting your destination of choice, you’ll enjoy the same amenities you do at home, including chef-prepared meals, activities, transportation, housekeeping and more – at no additional charge. Use the money you would have spent on expensive hotels to make your trip even more enjoyable.


#7 Entertainment

In 2018, people ages 65 and older spent almost $3,000 a year on entertainment. Independent living communities like Holiday Retirement include activities and other sources of fun. Mary Finch, Regional Connector of Resident Experience at Holiday Retirement says there’s no need to spend lots of extra money on entertainment if you so choose. 

At Holiday, each community offers amenities like a billiards lounge and game room, television and media room with Nintendo Wii, and private dining rooms for special occasions. “Bean Bag Baseball is a little old fashioned, but still a fun and popular activity,” says Finch. Holiday Retirement’s enrichment program also provides residents daily activities, entertainment, educational seminars, and volunteer opportunities.

You can even save money on entertaining others. “Some residents throw parties in our activity rooms with friends and family and we provide meals for just $5 per guest,” says Finch. “That includes salads, drinks, four dinner options and dessert. A lot cheaper than going to a restaurant.” 


#8 Fitness Memberships

The average cost of a gym membership is around $58 a month, but it’s not uncommon for gyms in bigger cities to charge around $100 or more a month. Physical activity is a pivotal piece of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but expensive and crowded fitness centers may not appeal to you. Holiday Retirement communities offer on-site fitness rooms or access to exercise equipment. “Residents can also participate in group fitness activities such as Tai Chi or Bean Bag Baseball,” says Finch. “A lot of our communities do Drums Alive or Pound Class too.”


#9 Laundry/Housekeeping

The upkeep of washers and dryers or paying for laundry at the laundromat can add up. House cleaning products or professional cleaning services can also get expensive. At Holiday Retirement, washers and dryers are conveniently located throughout the community and are free of charge. Complimentary cleaning service provides linen service and weekly housekeeping such as vacuuming and dusting.


#10 Savings in “Emotional and Physical Accounts”

People have three “savings accounts”: A financial account, an emotional account, and a physical account. While Holiday Retirement communities help you save actual money in your financial accounts, perhaps the biggest gains come in the emotional and physical accounts. 

An all-inclusive living situation frees you up to enjoy life more. From friendly neighbors and pleasant housekeepers, to attentive servers at mealtime, and helpful maintenance technicians who are there when you need them, the community becomes an extension of your family. 

“One of the biggest things I see in ‘peace of mind savings’ is the social aspect of living in a Holiday community,” says Dickerson. “If someone’s living at home by themselves, they’re not getting social interaction, and Holiday is all about social interaction, which can increase longevity of life.” 

If you’re thinking about making the move to an independent living community, Dickerson encourages you to stop by a Holiday Retirement community. “We’d love to have you come in for a tour and have lunch,” he says. “We’ll sit down and discuss your budget and the potential savings you’ll enjoy, but also learn about you and the little things we can do that will make this feel like your home -- your likes and dislikes, favorite foods, activities you enjoy, and hobbies.”

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