What comes to mind when you think of retirement? Probably relaxation, travelling and plenty of time for hobbies and loved ones. What about when you think of retirement living?
For many baby-boomers, it’s rapidly changing. They’re not only choosing to live in stylish new communities, they’re embracing luxurious new lifestyles as well. It’s called life lease, and it’s an increasingly popular trend for those 55+.
55+ Life Lease actually has a long history in Canada with the first communities appearing in the late ‘80s in Manitoba. The draw for retirees? Staying connected to their peers while having the fun, independent lifestyle they want — plus they can utilize a portion of their home equity to secure a very reasonable rental payment.
“For a lot of people 55+, it’s the perfect way to enjoy the luxury of a new condo without the same high price point or level of commitment,” says John Vander Kooy, sales representative for The Link, a life lease community soon to be under development in south-west Winnipeg.
Located at 757 Sterling Lyon Parkway, The Link allows residents to pay a one-time, fully refundable entrance fee, followed by a manageable monthly rent. In return, residents are treated to some pretty lavish new living spaces and a number of additional amenities to sweeten the deal. That means everything from a coffee bar to music rooms. The rooftop terrace alone will house a bocce court, putting green, BBQ bar, game room and virtual golf simulator.
“We’ll be building a spa, complete with massage rooms and a sauna, a fitness facility, a woodworking room, a winemaking room, a theatre and a lot more,” says Vander Kooy.
According to Vander Kooy, The Link is designed for a new generation of retirees who want more amenities and financial freedom in retirement.
“The idea is to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle at home but also more time and money to spend on what you love doing. Life lease frees up your finances so you can enjoy more travelling, volunteering, time with family — and you have the time because you don’t have to worry about maintaining your property,” he said.
Vander Kooy says a number of people who are 55+ choose life lease because their current home no longer suits their needs.
“For many retirees, staying in their family home isn’t as comfortable as they think it will be,” says Vander Kooy. “With maintenance becoming more difficult with age, it causes stress for family members who step in to help.”
“Life lease is an attractive way to downsize with modern design and appliances often providing a significant upgrade over retirees’ old homes.”
“We truly believe retirement can be the most exciting time in a person’s life, and we’re designing an environment where people can embrace it,” he says.
From a financial perspective, the amenities are essentially icing on the cake for residents since they’re available at no additional cost. Plus, the price of a suite is less than half of that of comparable condominiums, which have far fewer amenities to enjoy.
“We’re talking about saving hundreds of dollars a month when comparing the same square footage to the average new rental,” says Vander Kooy. “And the added value of being in the community can’t be understated. It’s why 55+ Life Lease is more popular now than ever.”
As the number of Canadians 55+ steadily rises, so are their expectations, inspiring life lease communities like The Link to raise the bar for what retirement can be.