Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Evaluating Your Retirement Living Options
These days, we often hear the term “aging in place” — taking steps to ensure a current, familiar home will continue to be safe and comfortable as we or a loved one approach retirement age.
Depending on your family, your spirit of adventure and your financials, it can be difficult to choose your next steps — remain in your home, move to a condo or retirement community, or relocate to an area with a lower cost of living or a home that’s closer to family.
Stay or go? Calculate how moving affects your finances, then use the following as a guide as you consider your options:
Family ties and social activities
Aging in place can be a solitary experience if you’re single or have no family and friends nearby. Moving to an over-55 community can minimize solitude with planned entertainment and activities, communal gathering spaces, and residents close in age and with similar interests.
If you remain in your current home, you may have the luxury of space for overnight visitors, as well as a yard or outdoor recreation area to enjoy. Consider if you’ll still have easy access to social activities outside your home, volunteering and community events, as well as transportation when you no longer feel comfortable driving.
Venturing to a new area
Many states actively recruit retirees, touting more temperate climates and a lower cost of living. That may be true compared to a major metropolitan area in the northeast, for example. But be sure to do your homework. You may be trading lower property taxes for higher sales, estate and motor vehicle taxes, among other unplanned expenses.
And cost isn’t the only concern if you’re considering relocation. You’ll also be leaving behind a familiar support framework, including family, friends and healthcare providers, and insider knowledge of your area and its resources and activities. Isolation can have serious physical and mental health side effects, so be sure to include emotional factors in your decision-making process.
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of moving can be as high as $6,000 or more. And that’s just the start. A new home, apartment or condo may need fresh paint and minor repairs, or require the purchase of furniture and other household must-haves if existing items aren’t compatible with your new space.
However, renovating a home you’ve lived in for a while can also add up. Color trends can look dated within a few years, which means time to repaint. Investing in newer, more energy-efficient roofing, replacement windows and insulation materials can translate into lower annual heating and cooling costs. Adding an ensuite bathroom to an older master bedroom is also a popular update for added privacy and comfort.
As homeowners or family members age, also keep in mind commonly-made renovations to make the home safer and more comfortable. NerdWallet itemizes the most common renovations for older adults, along with average costs:
- Installing lever-style doorknobs that are easier to grip and don’t require twisting — $20 each if you do it yourself.
- Placing grab bars in bathrooms to prevent falls — $120 each for professional installation.
- Swapping out slick stone or tile floors for slip-resistant vinyl, linoleum, bamboo or cork — $4-$10 per square foot including installation (not including removal of old flooring).
- Adding an entrance ramp to eliminate the need to climb stairs — $1,500+ depending on the length and materials used.
- Widening doorways that are narrower than 32 inches to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters or walkers — $400 to $600 each.
Choosing your next steps wisely
Making a plan for retirement living can be exciting — you’ve worked hard to earn it. It’s a great feeling to check off improvements to make your home safer, more comfortable and more appealing, or to find a “right-sized” new dwelling that fits your needs today and into the future.
Whether you decide to stay put, move around the corner or head to a warmer climate, you’ll need a plan to finance the future you envision. If you’re a homeowner age 62+, a reverse mortgage is a financing solution that can help alleviate financial worries, give you peace of mind and play an important part of your retirement funding strategy. The right reverse mortgage makes it easier to afford home improvements you want or need, or to finance the purchase of a home that better suits your lifestyle.
If you’d like to better understand how a reverse mortgage works, call a knowledgeable reverse mortgage specialist at Reverse Mortgage Funding today at 888-277-1567.
Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC. Call 888-277-1567 today for a convenient phone appointment.
SEE WHAT FUNDS YOU MAY HAVE AVAILABLE
If you have equity in your home and believe you meet the eligibility requirements, a HECM may be the option that could help you retire smart.