The #1 Threat To Your Retirement Income The High Cost of Housing

If the money crunch is keeping you awake nights, you’re not alone.

The biggest worry for retiring seniors is MONEY. Whether you’ll outlive your assets is an ongoing concern. You may have a lot of money, or a little, but maintaining the lifestyle you enjoy becomes a struggle when you’re on a fixed income.

Today in America housing is the largest expense. It threatens to derail your financial portfolio and trash your budget. Look at this report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-5/spending-patterns-of-older-americans.htm

The text, charts and graphs give a clear picture of exactly what seniors face today. That roof over your head can take a huge bite out of your cash flow. This threat to your retirement funds can change the way you spend the rest of your retirement years. Your plans and your money may be threatened, but knowing the options will give you the advantage.

You can safeguard your finances, while enjoying the home and lifestyle you prefer.

My Experience

I’ve been working my way through this maze for several years, and I’ve seen the benefits and the pitfalls. Living in different types of senior housing has given me valuable information about what’s out there, and what I really want.

A Resort Style Living for Seniors property showed me that I really like having my own place. The small but comfortable homes provided space for my interests – quilting, writing and gardening – with privacy when I wanted it. The clubhouse a ballroom, library and business room, crafts, billiards, and offices. Outdoors we had a pool and patio, tennis courts and shuffleboard. When management and structure changed, I moved. But I remember fondly the wonderful time I had living there.

Next was a large senior community. I rented a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom house. The size was ideal and the amenities were too numerous to count. I loved that it was a gated community and had its own shopping and professional businesses. However, there was very little governing in place, and when I encountered rodents under the hood of my car, no one had the authority to take action. It took months to get a solution in place, and by then, I was ready to move on.

Today I live in a 55+Active Living community, in an apartment building. The people are wonderful, amenities are great, but I have come to realize that I want a place of my own.

Keep It Simple And Honest

The term, “Know Thyself” is attributed to several well known philosophers. Included are Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. Whichever is correct, the meaning is clear and compelling.

It is the beginning of wisdom. Decisions will affect the rest of your life, and should be based on who you really are.

Start with knowing yourself. Be totally honest. What do you like? What do you dislike? What dreams have you had over the years, as you neared retirement?

Wishing is great, plans have structure.

Be realistic. Plans have to turn into actions. What can you manage?

Make A Living Plan

This is a time to relax and enjoy your best life ever. Imagine a day of leisure.

When you think about “retirement”, what do you picture? Sunshine, a golf course, a community that offers activities and socializing? Or maybe you want a condo in a metropolitan area, with museums, art galleries and concerts.

Picture this. Blue skies, palm trees, sparkling water and you in a boat.

There are thousands of living options out there. Here’s a general breakdown of what they’re called, and what they provide.

  • Independent living – can be just for those who are very able-bodied and self-sufficient, or part of a larger care facility that may include Assisted Living and/or Memory Care. Cost: About $1500 – $10,000/month. Charges will be itemized for your evaluation. Meals, activities and social events available. Amenities vary.
  • 55+ Active Living – apartments with a Clubhouse or Commons Area, and a variety of offerings that may include a pool, fitness center, library, craft rooms, meeting rooms, theater, ballroom, games and excursions out and about. The price here also varies and may be around $1500 to several thousand/month. There may also be a charge for garage space, and residents may pay part of the utilities for the building, as well as for their own apartment.
  • Assisted Living – this facility would be for those needing help with daily needs, such as bathing, dressing and medication. Three meals a day, on-site staff 24/7 and programs and activities are available. Price may start at $3,628 and go up, depending on needs.
  • Nursing homes- memory care and Alzheimer/dementia may cost $233/day.

This general outline shows a wide parameter of facilities for seniors. If one appeals, or seems suitable to you, start by comparing online. Everyone worth considering has a website, a phone number and a place to request a tour. Don’t make a snap decision.

Retirement was meant to be enjoyed, not endured. The solution to the housing threat is to take your time, do research, ask questions and talk to your financial advisor.

Your retirement living plan begins with you, writing about you. Get a notebook amd talk about yourself. Make a numbered list, bullets or write in paragraphs. Start with all the things you like about yourself. Then switch to stuff you’re not so crazy about.

  • What makes you happy?
  • What spells contentment for you?
  • What agitates you?
  • What’s been a dream for a long time?
  • What worries do you want eliminated from your life?

This is just a beginnng. Your housing situation shouldn’t break the bank.

Here are some exceptional websites for further reference.

https://www.boomercafe.com

https://www.retiredbrains.com/index.html

http://www.newretirement.com

http://www.seniorliving.org

Thank you for letting me help you today. I hope you found valuable information that keeps the wolves at bay.

Remember to keep it simple.

Seniors are resourceful and resilient.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me. I love hearing from all of you.

Judy

8 comments

  1. I have been very intrigued with the concept of 55+ active living neighborhoods and communities. The ones near me offer beautiful housing with single-story floorplans that will remain accessible for many years — even if mobility declines. These communities seem to offer great locations and the ability to have some control over your own home environment. It’s also nice that maintenance is covered by someone else, and free time can be spent how you choose instead of keeping up with household chores. 

  2. Hello Aly, thank you for your comment. I appreciate your observations about the benefits of senior communities.

  3. I do have a retirement, but I would sure like to supplement it and find an affordable living solution for my retirement years.  I plan on visiting the links you provided and see if they can help steer me in the right direction.  I live in an area where housing is extremely expensive.  I need to find some options so that I have low cost living and can enjoy my retirement.  Either that or hit the lottery LOL!

  4. Thank you so much for this article.  Although I am not yet at the retirement stage, it is indeed always in theback of my mind.  The years always go by so fast, don’t they?

    I can completely relate to your need to have a place of your own.  A few years ago, I had a major life change and had to decide what I wanted.  In the end, I had to be willing to sacrifice some other things to have a place of my own without roommates to help cover the financial costs.

  5. I like the idea of making a living plan. It gives you the opportunity to organize everything better and at the same time the chance to get to know yourself better. The 55+ Active living sounds like the perfect thing in my humble opinion. Every day has to be made enjoyable and this gives an incredible opportunity for that.

  6. Hi-Thank you for your comments. I am glad you were able to choose how you wanted to live. Independence is really important.

    Best, Judy

  7. Hi Matt’s Mom. Thank you for your comments. It sound like you’re on the right track. Good luck. Judy

  8. Hello Alex,

    Thank you for your comments. I’m happy you found the ideas and suggestions interesting and worth considering.

    Best regards,

    Judy

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