Retirement Living and The Rising Cost of Living

5 mins read time
The cost of living is constantly climbing with rising rates, cost of petrol and food, which is seeing many retirees turn to retirement village living as a financially secure and potentially money saving alternative.

Do you find the idea of navigating the fluctuating housing market stressful? While retirement village living can seem like a daunting financial commitment, it can offer peace of mind, provide certainty around how much money you will need for the future and help you to avoid the financial uncertainties of the rapidly changing cost of living.

Stay Ahead of the Rising Costs
One of the many great things about retirement village living, is that it provides you with a solid plan for the future. Rates, building insurance, and home and grounds maintenance are all wrapped up in a fixed weekly cost. In fact, if you compare your current monthly living expenses with monthly retirement village costs you might be pleasantly surprised about how much you could save.

“If I tried to live outside the village, it would cost me four times more.”

— Ernie

“No rates, no house insurance, and we’re mortgage-free. At The Sterling, there’s just one cost that you pay weekly. That fee is set for life and can never increase. It’s a good life.” – Stuart and Faye, Residents of The Sterling, Kaiapoi.

Enjoy Your Later Life
Having an enjoyable lifestyle becomes more and more important in your later years and is often a hidden retirement cost that people forget to consider. After retiring, the costs involved with living a fulfilling life can quickly add up, especially as the cost of living increases. While retirement village living can have the perception of being costly, most residents are happy they made the choice to move into a retirement village for the lifestyle benefits they gain.

“We’ve got the companionship of people around our own age group and we are enjoying being part of the community” – Peter and Irene, Residents of The Sterling, Kaiapoi

Within many retirement villages, retirees can enjoy the added benefits of social interaction, security, entertainment, community activities/events and various amenities. Residents can also experience easy accessibility to all these aspects that contribute to having an enjoyable lifestyle. At The Sterling, our residents enjoy many community activities and amenities within the village and ease of transport with our very own village van and a bus stop right outside the village, offering free transport from 9am – 3pm for SuperGold card holders.

More Time for the Things You Love
In a retirement village maintenance costs are covered by your weekly fee, giving you peace of mind that there will always be someone on demand to help with maintenance whenever it’s needed. For retirees experiencing health issues or worried about their health deteriorating, this could be particularly beneficial as maintenance might be a cost you might otherwise have to take on. This also allows you more time to do the things you love, but never have time for.

“If we need anything, we can just ask and someone is here straight away. Then we can just sit here and watch the chap cut the grass!” – John and Elsie, Residents of The Sterling, Kaiapoi.

At The Sterling the weekly fee covers the costs of running and maintaining the

Village and will not increase from the price in your Occupation Right Agreement (ORA). This means, that from the day you move into your new home, you will know exactly what your outgoings will be each week.

Our weekly fee covers:

  • Access to facilities and amenities within the village and clubhouse all year round.
  • Maintenance of all our chattels inside the units and the exterior of all units, and maintenance of the communal buildings and facilities of the village.
  • All rates, levies, charges, assessments and fees payable to any government or local authority.
  • Building insurance relating to all units and communal buildings and facilities.
  • Sky, Netflix, Spotify, Internet, and WiFi access in the clubhouse.
  • 24 hours a day, 7 days Emergency Duress System. Security Patrols and onsite guard 7 nights a week.


Let’s Break Down the Costs
Buying into a village is different to purchasing a house. Retirement Villages grant occupancy through the purchasing of an ORA which for the majority of villages, gives you the right to live in the unit and use the village facilities, but with no ownership of the unit itself.

The main types of ORAs are:

Licence to Occupy
This is the most common type of ORA. It gives you the right to occupy and use the village amenities but without ownership rights. This means you usually can’t borrow against the value of the unit. You sign a licence to occupy and the unit can be relicensed to a new resident if you decide to move to a different unit or leave the village.

Unit Title
In a unit title structure, you own your unit and in some cases become responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of communal areas through a body corporate. The body corporate may have a management agreement with the village manager to look after it’s affairs or the residents may run the body corporate themselves. It is becoming less common for operators to offer unit title structures to residents.

Cross Lease
If you have a cross lease, you share ownership of the land and its units, and grant leases to one another to live there.

Lease for Life
You can also enter a lease, in which case you have a lease for a unit or property in the village, which remains in place until you leave the village.

Rental Units
Some villages also offer rentals similar to residential tenancies. The Retirement Villages Act applies to tenants occupying premises under an ORA.


The Sterling is based on a licence to occupy method – here is the break down of our costs:

Entry Payment

You enter into an Occupation Right Agreement (ORA) with The Sterling to secure the home of your choice, made at the time you move in. This is later refunded once your agreement ends, and no later than 5 working days after we have received full settlement from a new resident for the unit and the cooling off period until the new residents’ ORA has expired. A percentage of the entry payment will cover a Deferred Management Fee (DMF) and will not be refunded.

Deferred Management Fee

A Deferred Management Fee (DMF) covers the use of the community facilities, all exterior and long-term maintenance, the refurbishment of your home when you leave, and the sales and marketing costs for reselling your home. The DMF is charged at a rate of 10% per year for the first three years of your occupancy. If you stay in the village for less than three years, then the DMF is proportionately charged.

Service Fee

At The Sterling you can pick and mix the support you need, and you’ll only ever pay for the support services you request. The cost of these services are reviewed annually and are subject to change based on any relevant changes in village expenses.

Village Outgoings Fee (Weekly Fee)

This fee is paid weekly and is fixed for life and covers general grounds and facilities maintenance, staff salaries, insurances, rates, taxes, telecommunications, internet and other costs.

Your Life, Your Way
At the end of the day, the key is to weigh up what value you place on the lifestyle that villages offer and the benefits it would have on your wellbeing. What amount would you spend usually to be a part of group activities? In a retirement village, activities and amenities are included as part of your weekly fee, all with the added benefit of having them on your doorstep and organised with your wants and needs in mind. At The Sterling, activities and outings are resident-led, allowing you to truly live your life, your way. Those that make the move to a retirement living are investing in their future happiness and peace of mind over a property and the uncertainty and stress that this brings.

“We have no regrets about moving in. We’re very happy.”- Sharon and Ray, Residents of The Sterling, Kaiapoi.

Want to learn more about how retirement living could be a good solution for you? Contact Michelle today.