If you are a Baby Boomer on a fixed or limited income who is wondering whether you can afford to retire and have a roof over your head, this is the right place for you. There are many low-cost housing and retirement community alternatives for Baby Boomers who wish to retire while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.
Downsize for Boomer Retirement
The most obvious solution for Baby Boomers to stretch their money is to downsize their living arrangements. Big homes that were purchased to raise a family eventually turn into empty nests. Downsize to a condominium, investing the balance of your equity. Or relocate to an area where housing is less expensive, again investing the balance. Baby Boomers can downsize to condos to stretch their money.
Usually this strategy results in a more enjoyable and financially comfortable retirement. Even when the real estate market is in the tank, Baby Boomers can rent out their home and arrange a lease to purchase for their ideal retirement home in a location of their choice.
Mobile Home Communities for Boomer Retirement
55+ Mobile home communities provide affordable, comfortable housing for Baby Boomers of all ages. Many are really prefabricated homes and consist of landscaped parks with amenities and recreation (e.g., adjacent golf courses) in temperature locations. Most are warm communities with many activities and the opportunity to meet new friends in a secure environment.
Baby Boomers on fixed incomes should look at mobile home communities.Typically, mobile homes in these communities reside on rented space within a managed park. Space rent (which may include trash and water) is your main expense and can be high, so be sure to shop around and look at the park’s history of rental increases. Some parks also prohibit sub-leasing, which can make it difficult if you want to move somewhere else and are having trouble selling your unit. The best way to go is to purchase a mobile home whose price includes the land or which resides in a park that is subject to rent control. And the best buy is a home that is a few years old, as mobile homes tend to depreciate (depending upon the location, of course).
Co-Housing for Low-Cost Retirement
A novel idea that is gaining traction among Baby Boomers is “co-housing,” a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the operation of their own neighborhoods. And this solution is affordable. For those finished raising kids, this is a great way to re-invigorate your social life.
Co-housing offers a mixture of private homes with common areas (e.g., meal halls) and neighborhood participation. It is based on a commitment to community living. Co-housing is said to be a more healthy way of living, with social ties providing medical benefits.
Another alternative for low-cost housing is to share a home. Having your own room in a shared home can be quite delightful, assuming you get along with everybody in your “extended family.” Some non-profit organizations, such as A Lelaind Community, offer housing at affordable rates to active adults who are 55 an older. Options include shared single family homes, cottages, studios and in-law units.
Baby Boomer Retirement Communities
There are a variety of planned retirement communities for Baby Boomers and seniors. Many are for active lifestyles, while others offer assisted living facilities. Most cost a lot of money, but some are affordable.
The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers
No matter what your situation, there are a multitude of options when it comes to reducing housing costs without sacrificing quality. So open your mind to alternatives and align priorities with your current needs. You will discover that comfortable living is usually possible, even on a reduced income.