The development and deployment of an online cost comparison tool for evaluating retirement village contracts

Impact: Public policy impacts, Social impacts

Description of impact

The project was established to assist consumers with understanding the risks and benefits of retirement village contracts and facilitate comparison shopping. The driving force was the complexity of the contracts and difficulty in comparing them. The research question was what metrics would be useful and easy to understand for consumers. No prior research existed to satisfactorily address this. The main beneficiaries of this work is senior citizens considering RV living, their relatives and advisors. This work has had considerable impact and media coverage. Our online calculator has been deployed on the University website and via links to it from the websites of the Council of the Aging, the RV residents associations in nsw and Victoria, and the financial capability website of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. This work is intended to improve financial literacy and understanding of RVs for stakeholders. We hope it will lead to more informed consumer decisions leading to industry offering better value contracts with less risk for consumers. State governments regulate these institutions and the regulation offers little consumer protection. The real estate industry may have more influence on regulatory practice than consumer organisations do. Various state governments have had inquiries and proposals for reform in recent years. Our research has informed our submissions to these inquiries. The geographical scope of the impact is Australia wide. The demographic impact is people aged 55+ of whom about 5% live in RVs. The calculator has had 42425 hits since it was made available online.
Impact date30 Jun 201631 Oct 2019
Category of impactPublic policy impacts, Social impacts
Impact levelEngagement