Continuing care retirement community: are you financially ready?

Considerations for CCRCs

Article published: December 01, 2021

Continuing Care Retirement Communities are gaining popularity across the country – giving retirees a comprehensive suite of living options ranging from independent and assisted living to more substantial nursing home care. While CCRCs come with a long list of benefits, it’s essential to consider the financial implications of these communities prior to making a commitment.

What is a ccrc?

A CCRC is a housing development for seniors that offers various living arrangements based on the needs of its residents. This can include single-family homes and condominiums for fully independent living, units that offer assisted living or areas that offer full nursing care.

CCRC residents typically have access to several services, which can vary widely in scale. High-end CCRCs can have upscale housing, multiple dining rooms, golf courses, clubhouses, swimming pools and more, spread over many acres of real estate. Other CCRCs can offer fewer amenities for a lower cost.

One of the most appealing aspects of CCRCs is the access to a full continuum of care in a single location. As you age, if you’re no longer able to live independently, you can leave the initial unit you purchased and move into the CCRC’s assisted-living center. Should your health decline further, you could move from there into the on-site nursing home. All of this is prearranged at the time of your initial purchase.

Consider the cost of ccrcs

When budgeting for a future at a Continuing Care Retirement Community, it’s crucial to consider not only the upfront cost, but also the monthly fees.

Upfront fee

This serves as a prepayment for the care and living arrangements provided during time in the community, as well as the facility operating costs.

It’s important to do your due diligence on this fee because in some cases, it may not be refundable if the resident decides to leave the community or passes away prior to entering the community.

Monthly fee

These fees also vary based on the facility itself, the level of care the resident requires, the type of housing chosen, whether the resident is renting or buying the home, and the type of contract they sign. These monthly fees can change over time if the resident transitions to a higher level of care. The average monthly fee of a CCRC ranges from $500 to $3,000.1

Types of contracts for continuing care retirement communities

There are three contracts to choose from when entering a CCRC:

Extended life-care contract (type a)

This is the most expensive option but includes a full range of services during your stay. These contracts offer unlimited access to amenities, assisted living services and medical and nursing care with no additional charges. The entrance fee for this option usually ranges between $160,000 to $600,000 or more, and monthly rates can range between $2,500 to $5,000.2

Modified contract (type b)

This contract offers limited medical services for a set period of time or a set amount of money. This is a midrange option in terms of entrance and monthly fees. Entry fees typically run from $80,000 to $750,000, and monthly fees can be between $1,500 to $2,500.2 After the resident has reached the time or monetary limits, they will incur additional fees to continue utilizing the services.

Fee-for-service contract (type c)

This is typically the least expensive option upfront, but it charges market rates for medical services, as used. Entry fees for this contract can range from $100,000 to $500,000, with monthly fees ranging from $900 to $10,500, depending on the services used.2

The big picture

CCRCs are a viable option for many people looking to retire. From engaging social activities and advanced medical care, to choose-your-own-adventure living options and peace-of-mind for families, these communities can offer a great place for retirees to spend the rest of their lives. However, before jumping to any decisions, consult a financial planner to see if you’re financially prepared to live in a CCRC.

1 Jong, N. How much does it cost to join a Continuing Care Retirement Community? Retrieved December 14, 2021, from

2 Kennedy, J. (2021, January 31). The cost of continuing care retirement communities: Can you afford it? Retrieved December 7, 2021,

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