What is The Cost of Senior Living?

You’ve spent your whole life saving up for it and maybe dreaming about the days when you’d have nothing else to do but find a beach, catch a round of golf, or finally dedicate more time to that hobby of yours. But just when it seems like the hard work is over, there’s plenty more to think about.


What exactly is the cost of senior living? How much does a retirement home cost? Should you buy a home before retiring? Here are a few things to consider when deciding what your cost of senior living will be.


Cost of Living in the Area

The first thing to consider, when trying to determine the cost of senior living, is what the cost of the area is. When weighted on an index of 100, with 100 being the average cost and anything less being below average, you’ll see there are a few states that you can choose for retirement that will save you on housing costs, groceries, and even visits to the doctor.


Perhaps one of the most affordable places to live in the US right now is Indiana, with an index of around 82. While groceries are just slightly below the US average in Indiana, healthcare costs are significantly lower. How much does a retirement home cost in Indiana? Del Webb offers a couple of options for  over 55 communities in Indianapolis with prices that start in the mid $200s.


Another affordable area is Tennessee, where the cost is reasonably below average at around 87. The cost of retirement homes in the area is slightly more, however, with new construction retirement communities in Tennessee starting at about $430k.


Not sure what area would be best for you? Check out our helpful guide on picking states for retirement to find additional options for areas that can offer you a lower cost of living.


State Taxes

Another thing to consider when living on a more fixed income is the amount of taxes you’ll be paying. Some states are better than others when it comes to giving seniors a tax break. Georgia, Florida, and Nevada for example, are all considered to be extremely tax-friendly. But just what exactly does that mean?


Typically, these states either have no state income tax, no tax on retirement income, or a significant tax deduction on retirement income. Plus they usually have friendly sales, property, estate, and inheritance tax rates.


Nevada, for example, has no state income tax—that means all retirement income is tax-free at the state level. It also has relatively low property taxes, though the state sales tax is somewhat higher than average. What is the cost of a retirement home in Nevada? You can find new construction homes in an over 55 community in Nevada that start at just below $300k.


Senior Living Communities Cost

How much does a retirement home cost? The answer to this is dependent on not just what state your home is located in, but what area of the state you choose to move to. In North Carolina for example, the average cost for a home is about $350k. But senior living communities costs are likely to be much higher—whereas living less than a half-hour away from Raleigh in Clayton, North Carolina—you can find a new construction, active senior living community starting in the low $300k.


There are other costs to consider, too, like fees for amenities or activities. These costs can run high in retirement homes but are often more affordable in over 55 communities where the fees are typically included in your homeowner’s association fees and focus more on supporting amenities geared around you having fun.


Deciding what your exact cost of senior living will be might be a challenge. But there are a few ways to decide how much you need to retire. And there are other key steps to planning your retirement that you’ll want to consider. If you plan well though, you can enjoy a cozy retirement filled with the people and activities you love.



Contributed to The 55+ Society 

Looking for more Society tips and learnings? Return Home here.

Published 12.30.21  

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