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Paying for Senior Living: Comparing Monthly Payments to Lump Sum Buy-Ins 

Guest Blogger: Robert C. Coleman, Senior Vice President – Wealth Management, Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Affording senior living is often the number one consideration and stressor for families as they consider the transition. Cost and payment options vary wildly, as do perceptions of value. 

Begin by taking stock of your needs, what's important to you, and what would make your life richer and more fulfilling. Next, consider the financials. You may be asking yourself, can I afford senior living? It is important to consider all of your current living expenses as well as future costs in order to determine your budget, including:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Property taxes
  • Home owner's insurance
  • HOA or neighborhood fees
  • Housekeeping & lawn care
  • Snow & trash removal
  • Home repairs
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Gym membership, fitness & exercise classes
  • Groceries & toiletries
  • In-home emergency call systems
  • In-home nurse or caregiver
  • Any other needs that may arise in the new future

Many of these items may be covered in your monthly fee at a Traditions Management community, meaning senior living may be more affordable and more convenient than you think. 

Senior living communities may offer two ways to pay for your living expenses: a Lump Sum Buy-In or a Monthly Payment. It can be difficult to determine which scenario works best for your individual circumstance. Robert C. Coleman, Senior Vice President – Wealth Management/Wealth Management Advisor with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management lays out the pros and cons of each approach. 

Lump Sum Payment 

Pros of Lump Sum Payment 

  • Guarantee of Lifetime living facility benefit
    • Could outlive breakeven mortality assumptions
    • Not subject to inflation
    • No monthly cash outlay
    • Lowers taxable estate

Cons of Lump Sum Payment

  • No control of assets
    • Loss of investment return on assets
    • Loss of financial flexibility 
    • Possibility of Bankruptcy of facility

Monthly Outlay Payment 

Pros of Monthly Outlay

  • Opportunity to invest and earn return on assets which could exceed amount of lump sum
    • Keep control of assets
    • More Financial Flexibility
    • Ability to change facility 

Cons of Monthly Outlay

  • Subject to Healthcare inflation
    • May outlive money

It is critical to make your plans with a full understanding of everything that comes standard with your monthly fee at Traditions Management Communities. Begin by printing our Cost Comparison Worksheet and plugging in your living expenses. You'll get a better feel for your budget and see how your current (and future costs) are covered when you live in a Traditions community.

Moving is a life-changing transition, and there is a lot to consider. We are here to support you in person, over the phone and online with resources
that help you weigh the pros and cons of staying in your current home or finding a new one designed to meet your changing needs. You can even get some of the questions we hear most answered in our FAQ found here.