What Traditional Retirement Can Look Like

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This post is brought to you by Providence Point.

traditional retirement

We talk a lot about retirement on personal finance blogs. We talk about how important saving is from a young age. We talk about what FIRE looks like for those with high incomes early in their careers.

But what we don’t often talk about is what traditional retirement looks like. For those who have to or choose to work their whole lives, who may not want to move away from their grandchildren in order to lower their cost of living. This is where the vast majority of people will end up.

I’m not going to lie: if you don’t save and/or are unable to save because of income restraints, retirement can look a lot like poverty. Many times, they’re one in the same.

But I don’t want to go down that dark path today. Today, I want to show you what traditional retirement can look like if you save money throughout your career. I want to show you beautiful surroundings, vibrant social lives and what it looks like to progressively add more healthcare to your wellness regimen.

Providence Point

This fall, I had the opportunity to tour Providence Point here in Western Pennsylvania. As I drove through the gate, I was immediately impressed. Initially, it just looks like a really nice neighborhood with single-floor, patio home condos. The grounds are well kept. The sidewalks meander across relatively flat roads (which is a big deal for us here in Appalachia.)

First, I got to tour one of these condos. Appropriately, it was number 412. For those of you not from Western PA, one of our major area codes in this region is 412.

providence point

It was absolutely gorgeous. It’s probably a bit bigger than the place I currently rent, and it had two bedrooms, high ceilings, a massive garage, first-floor washer/dryer and walk-in closets. Honestly, I love the place I’m living now, but if housing was the only thing Providence Point offered, I’d be making a step up if I moved there.

As you age, you can opt to move into a smaller apartment closer to the main hub of Providence Point, or even into special areas of the retirement complex where they have more medical care.

Social Life

There was so much to do here! While I was there I got to see the chapel, the state-of-the-art gym and pool where personal trainers work 1:1 with residents, the billiards room, a fun lounge bar, the bank, the art studio, the wood shop, a mini movie theater, the library and several of the five dining experiences on campus.

On top of living here–with all these social activities on campus everyday–the community also plans outings on a regular basis.

I remember one time when I was a little younger, my aunt was complaining about the cost of attending so many of her friends’ weddings. Everyone was getting married.

walk for alzheimers

In the book we talk about how important it is to have meaningful work in our lives. I got to witness some of it shown here at Providence Point.

“When you get to be my age, everyone’s having funerals,” my grandma said, looking off into the distance with her arms folded.

She’s old world low-key. All my grandparents were.

The point is that these social experiences are important. As you get older, there’s less people of your own generation. It can get become difficult to find people to connect with. When those social connections are missing, our health literally suffers. Those necessary social experiences are abundant at retirement communities like Providence Point.

Aging Into Care

We all like to think we’ll be completely independent forever, but the reality is that we age. Our health declines. Our bodies start failing us.

At Providence Point, they explained their process to me–you live independently in the patio house condo as long as you can, but when you need more long-term healthcare, they have the facilities and professionals available to help you get the care you need without having to go through the stress of locating a nursing home, moving to said nursing home, potentially selling your house, etc.

Everything’s taken care of–including you.


Of course, staying in a nice place like Providence Point costs money. That’s why all us personal finance bloggers are so gun-ho about starting to save early on. Yes, it’s super nice if you can retire in your 30s and travel the world, but even if you work a normal-length career, you’re going to need money to facilitate quality accommodations and care as you age.

That money can help you stay close to your grandchildren. It can help you not be a burden on your adult children. It can help put a roof over your head in a nice community with other people who truly “get” your life experiences. It can get you healthcare and entertainment.

So how much is it to get into Providence Point?


First, you need to know how it works. You start by proving your are financially stable by providing information about your assets.

The minimum initial amount you’ll need to get in to Providence Point is $250,000. Though the place I viewed–412–required a $750,000 deposit. From there, monthly rates vary. If you opt for an apartment, potential monthly bills start at $2,386, while the patio home condos start at $5,387.

That number might seem crazy high, but it’s not just rent. That number includes all your utilities, cable, meals, landscaping, every-other-week housekeeping, local transport through a community-based bus system, access to all the amenities, spa services, underground parking for those who opt for an apartment, and healthcare services.

There are different levels of plans, some of which allow you to get 50% of your money refunded, some which allow you to get 90% of your money refunded, and some which allow for no refunds at all.

That’s pretty much everything you need for $64,644/year if you get a patio home like 412. It’s the services you need at each stage in the aging process. It’s access to social connections which may be difficult to find elsewhere. It’s having the ability to hold onto your independence as long as you can, and then avoiding a whole lot of stress when you finally do need more help.

TLDR: Start saving for retirement. For a lot of people, places like Providence Point may seem like an unobtainable goal. But it’s within your reach if you start saving early and often.



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