How to Cut Housing Costs as a Retiree

This depends entirely on your situation when you retire. Do you own your own home? Are you renting? If you own your own home and you are still paying on it, there isn’t much you can do except take out a second mortgage at a lower rate. Since rates are rising, that is less of an option.

If you are renting, you can always look for cheaper apartments. Many cities have seniors only apartments or condos and they are usually cheaper than similarly equipped and sized apartments. They also are safer than many apartment complexes and have more socializing opportunities for seniors.

My brother just moved from an apartment complex where he wasn’t comfortable. There were unsavory characters hanging around and music and noise in the middle of the night. It didn’t feel very safe and he didn’t feel at home there. He moved to a senior trailer park and is as happy as he can be. His mobile home isn’t as big as his apartment but he feels like it is his. He is decorating it just the way he wants and even has a small yard to work in. He is actually meeting his neighbors and is going to participate in a “garage sale” at the park office.

Another option for the home-owner is a reverse mortgage. A friend of mine is doing that in California. In a reverse mortgage, you are paid a certain amount of money every month for your home. This is fixed until you die. When you die, the person or bank holding the mortgage takes possession of the home. If you already have some income and you’re not concerned about leaving your house to your kids, this extra income can make you comfortable for the rest of your life.