MOST OLDER AMERICANS PREFER TO STAY in the homes they love as they age, according to the 2015 Merrill Lynch/AgeWave study, Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices. But "that home may not fit your needs 10 years from now," says Debra Greenberg, Director, Personal Retirement Strategy and Solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "Your health and lifestyle may change—or the house itself could begin to show its age, causing you more problems than you want to deal with." Greenberg suggests considering the following questions every year or so to make sure you're still comfortable with your decision to stay put:
- 1. Is maintaining the property starting to wear you down? Do you need to hire someone to help out around the house and yard, or ask family members for help?
- 2. Are you comfortable managing your daily routines? Is it time to make adjustments, such as wider doorways, some grab rails, a first-floor bathroom or a chair lift?
- 3. Can you get around? Are your eyes and reflexes up to the demands of safe driving? Perhaps it's time to look into transportation services in your area that can get you to grocery stores and restaurants, or to your social and leisure activities.
- 4. How much support would you have in an emergency? Are you close with your neighbors? Do you have family or good friends nearby who can help out—or just visit—if the need arises?
- 5. Will loved ones worry about you? When all is said and done, would downsizing to a retirement community or assisted living facility, or moving in with or near the kids, give you and your family greater peace of mind?
For more insights on where and how Americans are living in retirement, download our study "Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices." Then talk with your advisor about how your home's equity could factor into your retirement planning.
3 Questions to Ask Your Advisor
- How might I pay for home renovations if I don't want to dip into my assets?
- Is there a 'best age' to buy long-term-care insurance?
- Can I afford to help my parents with any unexpected housing costs?
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