How to Cut Housing Costs as a Retiree

If you’re lucky, you have loving grown-up kids who’ll be thrilled to take you in. Oh, sure, and the tooth fairy will bring you milk and cookies every night. Actually, that worst situation would be that you’re broke, have no pension and little or no Social Security. If you move in with your married kids, it could save what little money you have, but would probably result in considerable disruption to the younger family.

There could be a rare situation where that arrangement is a positive one. For instance, your kid is wealthy and has a large house, preferably with an au pair room or apartment away from the usual family traffic. Then, if you’re lucky enough, that could be your ideal retirement home. Close to the loved ones, but not too close. Hey, don’t feel guilty. Who paid for all the upbringing and education that gave your brilliant kid the ability make all that dough?

Another comfortable way to cut housing costs would be to make a group arrangement to live together in the same house. If you belong to an alumni association, are a military retiree or have been a long-time club member, you may be able to find some compatible retiree roomies. Chances are they will have lived similar lifestyles and share many interests with you. Of course, the more privacy each resident can have, preferably private rooms and bathrooms, the more compatibility there will be. Shared expenses could save considerable costs to each individual.

Another possibility is that if you’ve owned a house for many years in a good location, chances are that it is worth many times more than what you paid for it. It is likely mostly or all paid up. You’re also likely to be unhappy with the constantly rising taxes and utility expenses, so consider selling it and move into smaller rental or purchased house. You may be able to live less expensively and comfortably on the proceeds.

In my non-humble opinion, the least desirable scenario is to move into a senior community or nursing home. Unless this is absolutely necessary financially or due to physical condition, you’re better off in both expenses and comfort to retain your private living quarters as long as possible. Such a move into institutionalized housing could lower your living costs, but unless you can qualify for government financial help, the costs will be far more than you’re paying for your present independent situation. And you can say goodbye to your independence.