A Home is Wherever You Are

Mortgage, Retirement

November 07, 2019

If you’re within 10 or 15 years of retiring I know that it’s likely you have every intention of staying put in your current home when you retire. “Aging in place” is a very popular goal.


And it can be a great non-move. If you will have the mortgage paid off before you retire, and you are confident you can cover the ongoing (and rising) cost of property tax, maintenance and insurance from guaranteed income sources, I am all for staying put. By guaranteed income sources I mean Social Security, a pension if you have one, and an immediate annuity if that’s part of your retirement plan.


But if you are currently anxious about your retirement, I encourage you to think about whether making a move now might be your best move.  In many parts of the country, home values have fully recovered –and surpassed – the levels before the financial crisis. That may create an opportunity for you to sell at a profit and shore up your retirement.


If you don’t need such a big place, and no longer need to live in a great school district, would it be possible to sell your home and use your profit to buy a smaller place in another neighborhood without a mortgage?


Or what about renting? If you sell today and rent a home where the monthly cost is less than what you’re currently paying for property tax, maintenance and insurance, that can be a win. Yes, rents rise. But so too does property tax, maintenance and insurance.


You also need to consider whether your current home will be a comfortable fit for an older you. Are there lots of stairs? And lots to maintain? A condo or townhome can be a great physical fit, and as you age, I think you might grow to appreciate the nearness of neighbors even more.


Now I know there is one huge problem: Your current home is full of memories. And for those of you with adult children, it is likely still the place where everyone continues to gather for holidays and family celebrations.


I respect that your initial response to the notion of moving may be a quick “No way, Suze.” I get it. But if you have any money stress now or are worried about your retirement, you owe it to your entire family to consider how a move could help.  A financially confident you is what your family most wants. If you move, so too will the memories. And as a family you will start building new ones as well.

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