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Think About Housing Options as You Prepare to Retire

As retirement approaches, it’s time to consider your housing options. With a new stage in life may come new housing needs. You should have an idea about where you want to live and in what kind of housing so that you can prepare your retirement savings appropriately.

One of the most important things to consider is how your housing situation is going to change throughout your retirement. Aging can bring about lifestyle changes that may require you to make adjustments to your housing. Be prepared with a plan in case you or your partner encounter health problems, reduced mobility, or for the day when you have to give up your driver’s license.

There are many senior housing options that you can consider and plan for. Find what works for you.

#1 Staying at Home

Most retirees will stay put in the early years of their retirement. Spouses often don’t retire at the same time, you likely have a close social group where you live already, and you may be more concerned about traveling and pursuing hobbies than moving right away.

When you’re planning your retirement, consider extra expenses that could come up through homeownership, including renovations to fit changing mobility, the cost of home caregivers, or the cost of not being able to do DIY maintenance, cleaning, or routine yard work.

#2 Downsizing to an Apartment or Condo

As it turns out, moving is more popular among retirees than you might expect, with 42% of seniors today saying they want to move or downsize. There are several reasons a change can make sense, including:

  • Moving to a warmer climate
  • Moving closer to family
  • Moving to live in a senior living community

Downsizing makes good financial sense, too. Having spent decades paying off a mortgage, your home may now be one of the most valuable parts of your nest egg. Selling a large suburban home and moving into a downtown apartment or condo can free up a lot of equity to fund your retirement. There are other reasons to move to a smaller, more central place too:

  • Moving into a walkable neighborhood is good for your health and will keep you independent for longer.
  • It will be easier to give up driving, both preparing for no longer having a driver’s license and cutting a major expense out of your life. Owning and driving a car costs $8,500 a year on average.
  • It’s easier to get engaged in the community.

#3 Independent Living Communities

Although Boomers are putting off moving into retirement communities until later in their lives, independent living at a retirement community makes sense in the later years of your retirement.

Independent living communities can help you control costs that could come with downsizing or home ownership. It can also be the path toward a worry-free retirement. No need to worry about maintenance or surprise costs.

Another advantage of independent living communities is that they open up a whole new community to you. Many senior living communities thrive with tons of amenities, events, and classes.

You’ve got options as you head toward retirement. Find out how much they’ll cost and prepare your finances accordingly. By planning ahead of time, you can make sure you get the retirement you want.

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