Downsizers are now able to get upfront clarity on the financial implications of moving into an over 50s community thanks to the release of a new online tool.

Major retirement living operators Aveo and Ingenia have announced their potential customers will be able to receive reports from the Village Guru software, which has been released by long-standing retirement living expert Rachel Lane.

“The two things that most often hold people back from downsizing are what to do with ‘all their stuff’ and confusion over the finances — what it will actually cost and what it will mean for their pension,” Ms Lane said.

“Unfortunately, many people who are thinking about downsizing into a retirement community simply can’t work out what it all means for them, financially speaking.

“They know they want the lifestyle, but they don’t know if they can afford it.

“So they develop their own rules of thumb, such as, ‘if I pay less for my new house than I get for selling this house it will be ok,’ without understanding the impact the change could have on their pension.

“Or they look at a retirement village’s proposed exit fees in percentage terms to other villages, thinking, ‘this one is 30 per cent, but that one is 25 per cent, so it’s cheaper,’ without realising that calculating exit costs is much more complicated.

Ms Lane said many potential downsizers delayed moving for years, because of this financial confusion. 

“And those are years they could have spent enjoying the lifestyle retirement communities offer: feeling safe, being part of a community, engaging in hobbies and sports,” Ms Lane said.

Village Guru helps consumers to compare an operator’s different contract options for the same community, along with comparing moving or staying at home and even between one community and another. 

For each consumer, the online tool provides a report which organises costs in simple-to-understand terms of ingoing, ongoing and outgoing costs, and estimates age pension, rent assistance and home care package costs.

Kate Melrose, General Manager Sales at Ingenia Communities said: “The Village Guru software has helped empower our clients to take control of their downsizing journey.”

“The software compares the client’s downsizing options, including comparing the costs of moving to an Ingenia community with the expenses associated with moving to a retirement village or even the ongoing cost of staying in their current home. 

“Having a straight forward comparison of options allows clients to move onto their next chapter with confidence.” 

Tony Randello, CEO, Aveo Group said: “We have recently conducted a range of research projects designed to provide a deeper understanding of our customers’ financial concerns for the future.”

“This is a great software tool that will help our customers make more informed decisions.

“When choosing a retirement community, it’s not just about understanding the financial considerations of the community you buy into, but also how your decision will impact your pension, and even your home care package costs”.