Providing financial and physical shelter

Your home

Where to locate, in what kind of home, and with whom

Home                             Topical Index to all subjects

Food, Clothing, and Shelter – the three traditional necessities of life – are not terribly confusing and difficult, usually. Except for Shelter. For most people, whether they rent or own, their living space represents their single biggest expense. For many home owners in particular, it represents their biggest asset (and often their biggest debt as well). And there are so many choices to make: what region, state, county, or municipality to live in, what kind of home, what specific location, how to furnish it, whether to pay for improvements, and perhaps who should live there with you and what they should pay or how they should otherwise contribute. And if you, or someone else close to you, has become physically or mentally infirm, what can you do to keep them home (assuming that’s the preference), how do you know when that’s no longer feasible, and what do you do next?

Home is the symbol and the physical embodiment of security, but with all these questions, and with all the dollars that are tied up with it, sometimes home becomes a major source of insecurity.

In this section we raise the issues that are most likely to bedevil you about your home, and refer you to resources that can help you resolve them. And if you're not bedeviled, maybe you should be: can you truly take for granted that where you've been living is still the place you ought to be living? There's a world of opportunities out there for something that might suit you better, save you money, or both.

Your Home relates to other areas of Security:

Your Home relates to other areas besides Security:

Your Home Sub-Topics and Resources

If you have not thought seriously yet about whether relocating to a different area, or to a different home in the same area, would be a good idea, you probably should at least give it a few moments’ reflection. The reasons you originally moved to where you are now may no longer be as compelling as they once were, and there are many possible benefits to moving, including: being closer to people you care about, saving money, living in a community that better suits your retirement lifestyle, having better access to health care, avoiding maintenance chores, and so on.

Some of the books listed under “Other resources,” below, can be the better place to start, because they will help you think through the issues relating to what kind of retirement life you want to have, and what kind of place would work best for you. But once you have that figured out, some of the Free resources provide more thorough and up-to-date information to help you nail down a specific plan. If you are limited to assisted living, nursing or hospice care, use the “See also” references to link to the Retirement Readiness sections that deal with those options.

In retirement, most of us who are well enough to live independently, or partly independently, live with a spouse or partner, or alone. But there are many other options. We can live with other family – perhaps with a child, or with an elderly parent, or with one or more siblings. Or we can live with friends, an increasingly common choice that provides companionship along with reduced expenses. Or we can live with strangers (“friends we haven’t met”) through new-fangled community living set-ups, or through traditional rental or boarding arrangements.

The reasons that individuals or couples may want to share living space with others usually boil down to some combination of: (1) the financial need for someone else to help cover household expenses, (2) the desire for companionship (especially if a family member or close friend is involved), (3) an attempt to help a relative or friend, and/or (4) the need for someone to provide assistance with chores or activities of daily living (such as dressing, food preparation, transportation, etc.). In the end, only the people involved can decide whether these benefits are worth whatever inconveniences and perhaps clashes of personality that living together would entail.

In this section, we look mostly at identifying some of the options, and weighing their social and general financial impact. In the following section, we refer you to sources that deal with the more specific legal and financial arrangements that are required to follow through on some of these choices. “New Lifestyles - The Source for Senior Living,” is a magazine as well as a website, and offers ideas and information on both aspects of your decision. (rating = A)

This section deals with the financial and legal implications of various living arrangements, as well as issues relating to buying, selling, and renting, whereas the previous section deals mainly with identifying your options and considering their social aspects (though taking some account of broad financial considerations, too).

The following resources are specifically geared to people entering (or already in) their senior years. General information about real estate transactions, renting out property (or looking for a rental property), roommate situations, moving, and the like are readily available at any bookstore or library, and all over the internet.

“Aging in place” is a relatively new expression that represents what many of us hold up as the ideal: living in the same residence (maybe our current one, maybe a new one) for the rest of our lives, until we are ready to die in our own beds.