I read a very interesting article in one of our industry’s trade journals talking about where we will be living in the future.
You may not know that I didn’t own my first home until I was in my early 40’s. Prior to marrying my husband, Randy, I was an apartment, condo, duplex girl. I liked the idea that all the maintenance for the place would be done for me.
Since marrying Randy 17 years ago we are now living in our third home. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from owning your own home, there is always something that needs your attention, energy and money.
After buying our home here in New Mexico we soon learned that a man who lived across the street had moved here from Illinois about six months before we did, and just four months after he and his wife bought their home here, she died very unexpectedly. He loves it here and has decided to stay.
This got me wondering what I would do if anything happened to Randy before me. He is my fix-it guy. He can fix and build anything. He built our home in WI and did everything — the construction, heating and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing — he did it all.
So, you see, I’m quite spoiled. And he’s saved us a fortune over the years. As you know, plumbers and electricians are not cheap.
The article I referred to stated that 36% of U.S. Seniors, according to AARP, are living in over-55 communities. And I can see why. Some of these communities are set up so you live in your own home but have all the amenities close by — shopping, clubhouse, pools, tennis courts, golf courses, etc. It’s like living in a resort. And, just like with renting, all the outdoor maintenance in provided for you, for a fee, of course, but often a very affordable fee.
There are also trends in co-housing. You own a small home or condo in a cluster with other small homes or condos, and also have a large common “house” that could feature a large kitchen, living room area, game room, gym, library, theatre, making it easy to socialize when you want to, yet live by yourself. One of these types of communities is being planned in the community we live in. (If they put in a pool, I might be interested in 20 years or so.) Currently, 25 states boast co-housing communities.
I come from a long line of independent women so living on my own for as long as I can (like forever) is very appealing to me. Certainly living in an over-55 community has its pros and cons. I believe that as we age staying socially active is important. I worry about my neighbor across the street as it would be so easy to just stay home and live the life of a hermit. Fortunately, I see his car coming and going all the time. He’s active at the local community center and takes classes on topics that interest him. For an 80-year-old guy, he’s still enjoying life as best he can. And he has the financial resources to maintain his home. He’s done a lot of work on it just since we’ve lived here.
But that’s not the case for everyone. Finances can be a problem. Living on fixed incomes as healthcare and the cost of living continue to rise can be problematic.
There is even a trend for non-related individuals to share housing. I’ve seen a documentary as well as read several articles about women buying homes together in their later years to share expenses.
It will be interesting to see how people adapt in the years to come. We are living longer than most of us anticipated and are healthier and more active.
What do you think of these trends? I’d be interested to hear if you think any of these types of living arrangements would be appealing to you. And if you’re living in one of these communities, how do you like it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section under “Leave a Reply” below. So what do you think?