Three Steps to Retiring Rich

A strategy for health and happiness over the long haul—as told in notes from your future self.

By Kelly Clarke January 5, 2015 Published in the January 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Simon Booth

1) Get Ready.

One Portland financial adviser urges: “Downsize before you retire. You don’t need that big house and its hefty property taxes. Find a smaller house or condo.” Meanwhile, everyone should be socking away cash: you typically need 65–70 percent of what you earned in your last year of employment, per year. The adviser urges people in their 30s and 40s to stick to a budget. 

2) Plan Your Move...

Chic continuing-care communities are all about the amenities—South Waterfront’s high-rise Mirabella has its own pool, art classes, and cocktail lounge (as well as skilled nursing and memory-care rooms). The catch is the price tag: it’s typical to drop $350,000 for entry fees (often financed through home sales, sometimes up to 85 percent refundable when residents move on) and around $4,000 in monthly fees. Mirabella marketing director Adam Payne urges potential residents to examine the perks included in each community’s package—especially long-term health care benefits and entry-fee refunds—and hire a financial planner to budget for your luxe senior lifestyle. 

3) ...Or, Settle In.

Want to stay in your own home as long as possible? Join in the “aging in place” movement early. Villages NW connects Portland-area elders with close-knit networks of volunteers willing to do yard work, play chauffeur to readings and rock concerts, and more. Village-vetted plumbers, electricians, and health care pros provide discounted services for members. The goal: a safety net of services and cultural opportunities. Each “neighborhood” is run by area seniors as well as younger neighbors who plan on using the services they develop when they grow old themselves. Eastside Village, which will serve members in Buckman and Kerns, is set to launch in September 2015. And it’s well worth it: According a 2010 study in the Fiscal Times, the median monthly cost for nursing home care in 2009 was $5,243. An Eastside Village membership? $540 a year.

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