Cost comparison calculators for retirement villages were unavailable up until now. Macquarie University, NSW has just solved that problem. They have released an easy-to-use, online, retirement village calculator. Furthermore, it is the first of its kind. The aim is to assist the public with the difficulties involved in cost comparisons. To view or use the retirement village calculator, visit rvcalculator.org
The calculator project
The project was led by Dr Tim Kyng from the Faculty of Business and Economics. This calculator will allow consumers and advisors to compare retirement village contracts. Furthermore, it will enable them to make the right choice of retirement village. Additionally, the calculator is offered free to the public.
Dr Kyng was confronted with a difficult experience assisting his mother in trying to choose a retirement village. Furthermore, they both found the exercise complicated. Mainly due to great variations in the various fees. Such as entry fees, ongoing fees and in particular exit fees. As an expert in complex financial products, Dr Kyng was surprised by the difficulties he encountered.
The calculator model
The model calculates a simple ‘equivalent monthly rent’ for the years of residence. This highlights the difference in costs between the different villages. It also highlights the misunderstandings in consumers’ minds. The main one being that retirement living is the same as buying an apartment. In fact, this isn’t the case. The reality is that retirement village contracts are very complex arrangements. Most worrying of all, is that the retiree does not own the apartment. In fact, the resident has the right to live there until they become too sick, voluntarily relocate or die.
Dr Kyng highlighted some of the other difficulties he encountered. Such as the amount of time involved in the research. Furthermore, understanding how each different contract works. And finally the task of comparing one with the other. Additionally, some retirement village operators demand a $1000 deposit. Merely for the privilege of viewing the contract. This is refundable for those who decide not to proceed. However, it makes comparison shopping an expensive procedure.
The calculator has been welcomed by seniors advocate COTA Australia. They believe the calculator will eliminate much of the general public’s confusion. Furthermore, it should save them from unexpected and unpleasant future surprises. They also advocate for better disclosure regulations.
Although the calculator is a welcome tool, the government needs to play its part. Contracts need to be simplified and standardised. Furthermore, they should be subject to regulation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Follow this link to learn about the project leader at Macquarie University, Senior Lecturer – Department of Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies, Timothy Kyng. You can find the retirement village calculator here.