Retirement Living in New Jersey
Known as The Garden State New Jersey has a lot to offer retirees. A small northeastern state with some 130 miles of Atlantic coastline, many of New Jersey’s counties are considered part of the New York City metropolitan area. With New Jersey's geographic location at the center of the Northeast megalopolis, between Boston and New York City to the northeast, and Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., to the southwest retirees have access to a multitude of activities and cultural opportunities.
Retiring in New Jersey provides retirees access to many of the facets of living seniors enjoy. With more than 130 miles of scenic Atlantic coastline the Jersey Shore provides the ideal beach experience including famous boardwalks, beautiful beaches, and fishing. For the outdoor enthusiast New Jersey offers a collection of parks, campgrounds, farms, wineries, ski resorts and golf courses in every region of the state. History lovers will find New Jersey has a diverse array of sites documenting American history; Thomas Edison’s lab in Menlo Park, Liberty Park offering waterfront views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Revolutionary War sites, and several living history sites across the state. New Jersey’s urban centers provide arts and cultural diversity; from Hoboken to Millville, Newark to Cape May, Morristown to Red Bank and all points in between, museums, galleries, theaters and larger performance venues abound.
Retirement in New Jersey offers retirees 4 distinct seasons, Summers are typically hot and humid, with statewide average high temperatures of 82–87 °F and lows of 60–69 °F. Winters are usually cold, with average high temperatures of 34–43 °F and lows of 16 to 28 °F for most of the state. Northwestern parts of the state have significantly colder winters with sub-0 °F temperatures being an almost annual occurrence. Spring and autumn may feature wide temperature variations, with lower humidity than summer.
New Jersey Taxes
New Jersey’s personal income tax system has six tax brackets, with rates ranging from 1.4 percent to 8.97 percent. Social Security as well as some inheritance, gifts, and life insurance benefits are exempt from state income tax. New Jersey’s state sales tax is 7 percent, In Urban Enterprise Zones, the State sales tax is cut in half to encourage economic development, resulting in an effective tax rate of 3.5%. New Jersey does not charge sales tax on unprepared food, household paper products, medicine, and clothing. New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the country, taxes vary by town, with the average property tax in 2014 coming in at $8,161, a 2.2 percent increase over 2013.
New Jersey Life Plan Communities
Deciding where to live is one of the most important and complex decisions facing retirees. Older adults in New Jersey have a variety of housing options. Making decisions about where to live and how you want to age while still healthy can help you and your loved ones avoid difficult, and often costly, situations in the future.
Life Plan communities, also known as CCRCs are an excellent option for seniors age 55+ who want a residence that allows them to be independent and active today but are equipped to provide for their future healthcare needs.
New Jersey CCRCs – A Unique Option
CCRCs are sometimes referred to as Lifecare Communities or Life Plan Communities. They are unique because they are the only type of retirement community that offer residents access to a full continuum of care; which usually includes independent living, assisted living and/or skilled nursing care options.
Continuous care communities in NJ are generally a collection of cottages, townhomes, and apartments or residential independent group living units and include an assisted living facility, a nursing home, and common activity areas such as a restaurant-like dining room, activity and craft rooms, and a library. Other amenities often include golf courses, swimming pools, a fitness center, banking services, convenience stores, walking trails, gardens, beauty/barber shops, and guest accommodations.
CCRC Regulation In New Jersey
New Jersey is one of thirty-eight states that regulate CCRCs through various state divisions such as insurance, financial services, aging or elder services, or social services1. Mandatory requirements and degree of oversight can vary drastically from state-to-state as there are no national guidelines for regulation.
Since 1987, the State of New Jersey has regulated Continuing Care Retirement Communities. New Jersey’s regulation of CCRCs seeks to protect consumers by strengthening the long-term financial stability of CCRCs, and by requiring CCRCs to disclose a wide range of important information to the consumer before any money is spent or any contract is signed. If a provider complies with all the provisions of the Act, the Department of Community Affairs provides a Certificate of Authority to the CCRC.
The Division of Housing and Development, now known as the Division of Codes and Standards, in the Department of Community Affairs, administers and enforces CCRC regulations. Within the Division, the Continuing Care Retirement Community Section of the Bureau of Homeowner Protection has been given responsibility for enforcement of the regulations.
A Certificate of Authority from the state should not be considered an endorsement by the State of New Jersey
Choosing A Life Plan Community In New Jersey
New Jersey Lifecare communities have entry requirements that vary by location but may include some or all of the following:
- Minimum age requirements as allowed by the Housing for Older Persons Act.
- Entry fee to cover the housing unit’s cost and other services and amenities, including contractually provided access to health care. The entry fee may also help keep monthly services fees lower than they might be at a comparable rental community.
- Assets and savings equal to a multiple of the entry fee. A typical range is between 2-4 times the entry fee, but this can vary.
- Monthly income equal to a multiple of the monthly service fee. The range is usually similar to that required for assets and savings.
- Medical reviews. Providers will often request medical records, talk with a prospective resident’s primary care physician, or request a health exam. The specific type of contract offered by the community will determine the degree of emphasis placed on this requirement.
- Medicare and possibly a Medicare supplement policy, or a similar private-pay plan
- Will, healthcare power of attorney, and durable power of attorney.
Entry Fees For CCRCs in New Jersey
An entry fee is required for most CCRCs or Life Plan communities in New Jersey for three primary reasons. First and foremost, it secures a resident’s contractual and priority access to a continuum of care. In addition, the money received from entry fees is also used to help pay down, or limit, the amount of debt required for development, expansion, or long-term capital projects, which keep the community attractive and competitive in the marketplace. Finally, many Life PLan Communities particularly non-profit providers- protect their residents by offering financial assistance or endowment fund to help ensure that if a resident runs out of money due to a longer than average stay in the healthcare facility, or some other unforeseen circumstance, they will not be forced to leave the community. Some portion of the entry fee may go towards this endowment fund.
Is a New Jersey CCRC the Right Option For You?
If you or your loved one feel a CCRC might be a good fit, you can get detailed information on top-rated CCRCs and Life Plan communities in New Jersey by searching our continuing care retirement community directory and proprietary database for helpful profile reports. All the information you need and questions to ask as you begin contacting retirement communities directly is available on My LifeSite. The independent reports on My LifeSite provide everything you need to make an informed decision including retirement community pricing, important contract details, healthcare aspects, and more.