Retirement 04/24/2023

Does “Aging in Place” Make the Most Sense?

There is no doubt about it – there’s a comfort in staying in a home you’ve lived in for many years instead of moving to a new or unfamiliar environment. There is, however, new information that suggests this might not be the best option for everyone. The familiarity of your current home is the pro of aging in place, but the potential financial drawbacks to remodeling or renovating might be more costly than the long-term benefits.

If you were in this spot, 40 years ago you might have had a growing family. For that reason, you probably purchased a 4-bedroom on a large piece of property in a child-friendly neighborhood. It was a great choice for your family, and you still love that home.

Today, your kids are likely grown and moved out, so you don’t need all those bedrooms. Yard upkeep is probably very time-consuming, too. You might be thinking about taking some equity out of your house and converting one of your bedrooms into a massive master bathroom, and maybe another room into an open-space reading nook. You might also be thinking about cutting back on lawn maintenance by installing a pool surrounded by beautiful paving stones. It all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? For the short term, you may enjoy the new upgrades, but you’ll still have to climb those stairs, pay to heat and cool a home that’s larger than what you need, and continue fixing all the things.

So, at some point, the time may come when you decide to sell this house anyway. That can pose a big challenge if you’ve already taken cash value out of your home and used it to do the type of remodeling we mentioned above. Realistically, you may have inadvertently lowered the value of your home by doing things like reducing the number of bedrooms. The family moving into your neighborhood is probably similar to what your family was 40 years ago. They probably have young children, need the extra bedrooms, and may be nervous about the pool.

It’s important to consider all your options before making a decision. Moving to a smaller home in the same neighborhood may be a more cost-effective and practical solution, especially if you no longer need all the space you once did. This could also allow you to avoid the cost and hassle of remodeling, while still enjoying the familiarity and comfort of your current neighborhood. Ultimately, it’s important to carefully evaluate your financial situation and priorities to determine the best course of action for you.