By Max Greenberg
SENIOR FOCUS: How deciding when to move into a retirement community is a little like trying to time the stock marketUploaded: Jan 19, 2015
I had the pleasure of talking to a lovely 92 year old woman today who lives south of Los Angeles. She is extremely active, goes to the gym 5 days a week, plays bridge 3 times a week, attend concerts, lectures, you name it, she does it. Her daughter lives in Los Altos so she's "planning for the future" and is interested in the local independent living retirement community where I work. "What's your time frame for making a move" is a question I always need to ask early on in the conversation. "Two or three years" was her response. It's at this point that I start the "Timing the Stock Market" conversation. Obviously, if everything remains status quo and nothing happens mentally or physically, two years could be a fine time frame to operate in. But if your health "stock" takes an unexpected dip, just like that, you can find yourself in a situation where you no longer health-qualify for independent living any more. That option could be partially or completely taken off the table, depending on if, when or by how much you recover from your personal "market upheaval."
I try my best not to alarm or frighten my clients. At the same time I don't sugar-coat my take on their situation and what could be around the corner. I try to talk to whoever is involved in the decision-making process if available. This can be challenging. Baby Boomer children can be "too close" to the situation to see it clearly. Or they, like the senior themselves, could be in a state of denial that their parent(s) has or is entering a risky period where their independence is at issue. And for many boomers, the more a parent's independence is compromised, the more theirs could suffer as well.
When you've had a good, strong run in the market, it may be wise to reduce the risk and reap some of those profits, though they might not be as great as they could be if you stay on the bull and ride a little longer. On the other hand, when that bull comes to a halt and you are still riding high, it can be a painful experience for all involved when that bull throws you for a loss.