As with all milestones in life, retirement brings with it new challenges and decisions to consider, particularly as regards a place to live. What might have worked for someone in the days of having a family and working may not be so ideal as they move into their golden years. A bigger home means more maintenance; more stairs to climb may be harder on older knees, for example. Custom homes that better fit these needs or cheaper condominiums could be more along the lines of what a retiree is looking for in living arrangements. The following are some important factors to consider in terms of where and how to live after retirement.
1. Houses Versus Condos
Deciding whether to rent a condo or look into custom homes is a difficult one, particularly when considering the new found challenges of being retirement age. Condos are certainly cheaper; a 2,400 square foot townhouse in a Boston suburb, for example, will cost you around $725,000, whereas a house of the same size in the same area will be a little over a million. What’s more, condominiums for sale are popular with retirees, being cheaper to maintain. According to research done by The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the taxes, insurance and bills of a condo run at about 3.25 percent of the value of a house. If you’re an active retiree and plan to travel, a condo will be more suited to this lifestyle than a custom home that would require routine maintenance.
2. Owning Versus Renting
The choice of whether to rent a townhome, own a townhome or look for custom homes is a bit tricky as well. We’ve certainly all heard the advantages of owning a house and investing money into something every month, but that pertains primarily to younger, working people. Does it hold up into retirement? Studies seem to show that satisfaction with owning a home or townhome holds up for most of life, but when an individual hits their eighties that satisfaction seems to decline, according to a study by Michael Finke, a professor of retirement and personal financial planning at Texas Tech University. One may decide buying is still worth it in retirement years, but renting certainly deserves consideration as well.
3. Staying Versus Going
Perhaps you were the type to raise a family and stay close to home during your working years. Maybe the responsibilities of adult life made it so that you couldn’t roam where you wanted to. Retirement certainly frees up time to do this, but is it a solid choice for this point in your life? According to a national Bankrate Survey, As many as three out of every five Americans would like to spend their golden years in a different city or state regardless of the circumstances, though age seemed to put a damper on this wanderlust. If you’re a risk taker, wandering may be the right choice initially. If you’re more of a homebody and usually play-it-safe, staying and looking for custom homes in the same city or state is probably best.