Not a House, a Home: Retirement Living for Fun and Profit
Harry Cline, Gracefully Greying Contributing Writer
Retirement life can be an incredible experience, and not just because you’re no longer working for the weekend. At the same time, no work means no paycheck, so you have to use smart financial planning if you want to enjoy your retirement — and a big part of that involves making sure you can afford your living arrangements. Read on for some guidance.
Your Home is a Massive Investment
If you own your home, congratulations — you’re in good shape. Odds are you have at least some equity built up, and that means you’re sitting on a nice little nest egg. You have so many options open to you when you have your own home. You can simply continue living there — something known as aging in place — during your retirement, or you can put it up for sale and use the proceeds to find somewhere else to live. There’s the refinance option as well, and it may be an optimal time to consider the benefits, including taking advantage of low interest rates. Check into VA refinance rates today and see if you qualify.
Each option, of course, comes with its pros and cons. If your home is in good shape, for example, you won’t be spending thousands on maintenance and renovation costs. On the other hand, if a preliminary inspection shows your house needs extensive repair work or upgrades to meet current trends, or if it’s going to be unsuitable for you as you age due to stairs or potential design flaws, you might be better off unloading it on new owners and re-investing in a more appropriate living space.
Moving On to Greener Pastures
Ramsey Solutions explains that downsizing from a larger property to a smaller one can save you lots of money, both immediately and over the long term. Selling a big, expensive house and purchasing a more modest home for a fraction of that price means you can bank and re-invest the surplus. Additionally, a smaller home with less upkeep means you’ll spend less money over time — that leaves you with a longer-lasting retirement income.
Of course, downsizing isn’t always the perfect option. Sometimes, it’s hard to find a property that ticks all the boxes when it comes to your personal needs. Juggling overall cost, location, amenities, and senior-friendly design needs can be an uphill battle. This is why so many seniors sell everything they own, buy an RV, and go traveling cross-country for their retirement. While this approach has its own costs associated with it, it’s not a bad way to live either.
Getting Help from Friends
If downsizing to an RV and living like a gypsy doesn’t appeal to you, or if you have specific needs that can’t be addressed by moving into a smaller property, you still have choices. In fact, switching your focus to a retirement community could be just what the doctor ordered. There are a wide variety of retirement communities to choose from, which include independent living communities all the way to assisted living or continuous care facilities.
Retirement communities have their place, especially for anyone who has physical limitations or medical assistance needs that rise above and beyond the level of a typical home. Yes, Where You Live Matters notes that the downside of living in a retirement community is that upkeep and cost may be higher than other types of retirement living, but in many cases, the cost would be comparable to aging in place with the addition of paying for a home health aide or similar service.
Crunch Those Numbers
Trying to figure out how to maximize your retirement income and still have a place to live that fits your needs? Whether you decide to age in place, downsize, move to a retirement community, or even roam the country in an RV, you’ll need to do some careful financial planning beforehand. Whether you use a retirement calculator, check out an online estimator to help you figure out how much house you can afford, or you sit down for a discussion with an experienced retirement planning specialist, you need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before your last day of work has come and gone.
Retirement living should be as relaxing and stress-free as you can possibly make it. Nothing ruins that faster than financial uncertainty. Making smart choices about your living arrangements for retirement can manage that uncertainty, leaving you the time and resources to truly enjoy your well-deserved retirement life.
- Written by Gracefully Greying contributing writer Harry Cline of NewCaregiver.org. Harry is a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, and has a deep understanding of how challenging, overwhelming and rewarding caregiving can be.
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