One of the many decisions to make when you retire is what lifestyle to choose. Factors such as having too much house to clean and more yard than you’re willing to mow are just a couple of the things that can make a retiree want to pack up and start anew. But the choice to retire doesn’t always mean leaving the family home. Be prepared for the range of options to consider when deciding how and where to live. To help evaluate your choices, here are some questions to ask yourself before you make any quick decisions.

∙ Do you want to stay close to family and friends? Do you need to be near a certain area of town for shopping or entertainment? Has heading to a warmer climate been your goal for years?
∙ Do you need to transition to a low-maintenance lifestyle with regard to yard and household upkeep?
∙ Do you adjust to change easily and can you make new friends?
∙ How does your spouse feel about moving or staying?
∙ Can your home be renovated to adjust to changing physical needs?

Your answers to these questions will help determine which of the following housing options are best for you.

Your Housing Options

Stay in your home. Perhaps the mortgage is paid off and you still love your house. Or you could make some renovations to fall in love with it again. There’s no rule that says retirement means you have to downsize. As long as you’re physically able to continue the maintenance or afford help getting it done, this is the right option for people who have what they need where they are.

Move to a condo or townhouse. Whether it’s a smaller mortgage or lower maintenance that appeals to you, condos and townhomes are great options for people who want to downsize. Most outdoor chores are taken care of. Make sure the monthly fees reflect what you’re willing to pay for what you get in return. Consider the amenities that suit your interests. Many retirees are more than happy to sacrifice some space for a host of amenities they didn’t previously enjoy, such as a pool, tennis courts, walking trails, and a gym within walking distance.

Move to a smaller house. Some retirees prefer to downsize with a single family home rather than the condo life. Shared walls and community rules and restrictions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re still in physical shape to do your own maintenance, this is a viable option that can lower costs as well as the amount of work needed to invest in upkeep. Be sure that the smaller home still fulfills your space needs, particularly for furniture and belongings that you want to keep. Also realize that any type of downsizing is likely to require major purging, selling, or donating a great amount of accumulation filling up your larger family home.

Move in with adult children. The multi-generational family lifestyle is on the rise again in the U.S. Either older children are moving back in with parents or parents are finding space in the adult children’s homes. There are a host of reasons that this option might be right for you. Perhaps an adult son or daughter and spouse are working a lot and need grandparents in the home to help run the household. Or maybe it’s the retiree who needs extra help with meals and wash. Being in the adult child’s home might actually be easier than having him or her travel back and forth to give aid. Obviously the circumstances need to work for both parties.

Choose a retirement community. A retirement community comes in many varieties, usually being reserved for seniors over age 55 with apartment style living that has common areas. Retirees live independently but may have housekeeping services and meal preparation options. This lifestyle is much like being a renter, but with added costs for services and community membership fees. It’s different than assisted living, which offers additional services for health and medical needs.

Other Considerations

Always add up your costs, especially the ones that don’t come to mind right away. For example, if you’re downsizing to save on mortgage costs but you move to an area where the property taxes or insurance costs are high, you might not be saving as much as you thought. Also, as mentioned earlier, downsizing often means that your new place won’t store years’ worth of accumulation. In addition to moving costs, you may need to factor in organizational or estate help to sell off or donate goods. Letting go of a ton of personal items all at once could be a very emotional and stressful endeavor.

No matter what housing decision you make in retirement, have a clear understanding of your finances and how your housing decisions affect your long-term financial position. Meet with a financial advisor to know the answers to these questions:

∙ How will a home sale and home purchase impact your retirement income and financial goals?
∙ How much will health care cost in retirement?
∙ Where will most of your retirement income come from and what’s your plan for making the money last?

Platinum Service Realty