Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
We all have diverse opinions of retirement living. One fact about which there is little dispute is the growing number of persons of retirement age. Increased longevity is one of the striking developments of this century. Just as important as the number of years people live is the number of people who live them.
A stable upward trend in the number of persons relocating in retirement has been noted in the last four census counts. In 1994, there were 33.2 million persons aged 65 or older, one-eighth of the total population. By 2010 and beyond, this elderly growth will increase dramatically as the Baby Boom generation matures. And by the year 2025, one-in-five persons will be 65 or older. And about a fourth of us relocate upon retirement. That means that the demand for retirement housing will likely increase faster than the supply. Resort locations, single-story homes and retirement community living may become more and more difficult to afford. Many working Americans looking ahead to this reality are considering purchasing a second home for retirement now.
When to retire is a strictly personal decision, one best arrived at after reviewing your total financial picture. But planning for retirement is something that should occur as soon as one enters the workforce.
Where to retire is also up to you. But there are certain factors you should take into consideration before making your decision. Remember, your job no longer determines where you live. Instead, you should concentrate on factors like geographic preferences, budget, proximity to family and friends, recreational activities and of course, health care needs.
Consider the factors that influence the quality of retirement living. It's important to decide the relative consequences of each as it relates to your future happiness:
Money matters -- included are the impact of claiming your benefits and taxes, the income you'll need to retire, assessing your resources, determining the gap between what you need and what you have, and predicting how long it will last.
Housing -- factor in costs, including property taxes, utility bills and average sales price. The best economic reason you'll need for leaving home is the potential savings you'll find living someplace else. Strategies such as "downsizing" in retirement can significantly reduce housing costs.
Climate -- it's important to review and compare both summer and winter discomfort factors, as well as psychological factors such as cloudiness, darkness and fog.
Personal Safety -- there are two primary categories to consider: the violent crime rate and the property crime rate. Details are available from the FBI's Crime Index and local police departments.
Services -- supply and availability of health care, public transportation and continuing education.
Employment -- whether part time or full time, there are four basic categories most promising to older adults: finance; insurance and real estate; retail trade; and continuing education.
Accessibility – Reduced mobility is a common occurrence as we age. Steps, stairways and narrow doorways that seem inconsequential today can become major barriers to independent living in the future. Prudent planning can help prevent the need for relocation at a time in life when it may be most unwelcome.
Homeowners' associations – Many condominiums and retirement communities have CC&R's or association rules that need to be factored into your decision. While pets may become especially important to you in retirement years, for example, some associations do not allow them. On the other hand, some of these associations add a social fabric that can be considered beneficial. Some maintenance may be handled by the association as well.
Leisure Living -- depending on your needs, it's important to evaluate the availability and quality of restaurants, cultural activities and recreational assets such as golf, tennis and other facilities.
Planning for changing needs
Active retirement years can now amount to one-fourth of a person's life. And that's scheduled to increase. But any plan for retirement should take into consideration that the aging process can dramatically impact one's needs over the span of time.
Retirement provides the chance to juggle many interests and develop new ones. More than ever, this is the time to think flexibly and creatively. You can make retirement years the best years of your life.
After a lifetime of hard work and meeting other peoples needs, it will finally become time to think about your own needs. It will be time to buy a home that is just for you.
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
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