Recently I've been researching retirement communities in North and South Carolina for the sheer possibility that someday I might relocate to be closer to my sister. For most of her life, she and her husband have struggled to live and I figure that she'll someday need a place to live that she can't afford and need to share a place with me.
You can imagine how frustrating it is, however, to do a search and go to the sites only to find no cost information provided or if they do, it reads "starts at $2750 a month", "No Buy-In Fees", or "Low $200s" to "Low $300s". I'm not exactly sure why they won't put pricing up, but for the few that have, they actually believe that everyone in the U.S. spends $3000-$5,000 or more a month just on housing and utilities. (I happen to live just north of NYC and my monthly expenses are currently $817/mo, quite a big difference).
The managers/owners of these communities obviously want to get you to call them or visit so that they can give you the "hard sell", but the truth is that when I go to a site like this with no cost, I automatically assume that I can't afford it. I don't have the time to waste to call them only to find out that I was correct in my assumption or to listen to their speil as to why they think they're affordable and such a bargain. The truth is, they laugh all the way to the bank. And then you have those 47% of us who have spent our lives at a starting salary of $2,300 (yes at one time 4 figure salaries were "in") a year and are barely earning between $24,000 - 50,000 now who will need a place to go and there is nothing available that we can afford. And when by the time we reach our 90s, they want to throw us into a nursing home faster than we can say/spell our name.
For the few communities that do post pricing that is still higher than I'd like to pay but more reasonable, I'm sure there is a waiting list years long. Sure, I could stay where I am or find a place slighly cheaper somewhere, but the retirement or over 55 community offers a social aspect that is not typically found in your traditional apartment complex and that's what I'll be looking for once I leave the workplace. But, I don't think that it justifies an additional $2,183 - $4,183 a month premium.
I'm also smart enough to know that someday I may find myself in need of assisted living services or not want to cook again, but still, I shouldn't have to pay a several thousand dollar monthly premium for them or worse, even before I need them. I should be able to pay only for those services that I truly need.
I often wonder how many of you out there feel the same way I do. I'd like to hear from you.