Consumers now have the ability to access detailed financial reports, which help to demystify their downsizing journey, via a wide range of major retirement living operators.
Six months ago, aged care and retirement living specialist Rachel Lane launched the Village Guru software, with the software being initially used by land lease community operator Ingenia and national retirement village operator Aveo.
Ms Lane has confirmed the software was recently adopted by Bolton Clarke, Anglicare, BaptistCare and Uniting, all not-for-profit retirement living operators. Discussions with other operators are continuing.
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 and rent assistance payments and home care package costs.
My motivation was actually very simple, almost every person that I spoke to who had downsized to a retirement village or land lease community (including my own grandma) said they regretted not moving sooner,” Ms Lane said.
"But, the confusion around exit fees, age pension and rent assistance and home care package costs leads to inaction.
“Many people delay moving not for weeks or months but for years.
“And those are years they could have spent enjoying the lifestyle retirement communities offer: feeling safe, being part of a community and engaging in hobbies and sports.
“Being able to see and compare the financial outcomes takes a lot of stress out of the transaction, but it also provides the customer with confidence about the transaction.
“In theory people can work this out by looking at the disclosure document and using a range of calculators on government websites, in reality it’s overwhelming to them.
“Being able to see and compare the financial outcomes takes a lot of stress out of the transaction, but it also provides the customer with confidence in the transaction.”
First enhancement launched
Ms Lane also said Village Guru had launched its first enhancement, involving reporting the sales data collected by the software.
“We have spent time creating a dashboard for the sales users to see at a glance where they are up to with their customer reports, using colours and graphs to make that data meaningful, quickly,” Ms Lane said.
“For the managers it’s all about having data on activity and trends that can be filtered by user, village and state and exported easily to their own sales reports.
Below are some statements from the retirement living providers who are now using the Village Guru software.
Kim Teudt, Executive General Manager, Retirement Living at Bolton Clarke
“At Bolton Clarke we understand choice is important and that affordable means something different to everyone,” Kim said.
The Village Guru software will help our clients see how affordable retirement living can be with the flexible and accessible finance options we have on offer.
“Providing free, tailored reports that compare the costs of living at home with the costs of living in a Bolton Clarke community allows clients to assess their options with transparency.
“This enables them to feel confident in their decision and live their retirement to the fullest.”
Karl Bounader, Head of Sales – Independent Living, Uniting
“We are constantly aware our customers are on an educational journey when downsizing and we see this software tool as a way for them to gain additional financial knowledge,” Karl said.
"This awareness builds confidence in their decision making and assists when explaining their downsizing position to family and friends. It also means they have a good understanding of the fundamentals when seeking advice from their Financial Advisers or lawyers.”
*The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not intended to imply any recommendation, opinion or advice. You should seek advice from a qualified professional about your particular financial situation, needs and objectives.