It’s likely that your home will be one of the largest investments you ever make in your life. This investment is far more than financial in nature; studies show that 56% of people between 65 and 74 years of age and 63% of those 75 years or older believe their homes’ value is more emotional than monetary, and 89% of Americans 50+ state the desire to stay in their current homes long term. Regardless of the emotional factors, the financial impact of where you live into those golden years is potentially massive, making it imperative that you think ahead. The monetary benefits of being able to remain in your home and forego institutional care (retirement homes, assisted living facilities) as long as possible are incredibly compelling.
Let’s look at the dollars and common sense of planning ahead to “age in place,” stay in your home for the long term.
- Potential for mortgage-free or cost-contained living: By the time you reach retirement age, you may have already paid off your home. A 2013 Zillow study found that 39 percent of people aged 65 to 84 own their homes outright. Certainly, many people who reach retirement and have owned their homes for a long while have smaller mortgage payments and increased equity. Minimal monthly living expenses during retirement years is empowering, as it frees funds for other priorities.
- Ability to manage long term care more affordably in the home: Generally speaking, nursing home costs are three to five times more expensive than non-institutional care that’s provided in home or medical office settings. In the mid-2000s, a study revealed that the median monthly payment for non-institutional care was $928 compared to $5,243 for nursing homes. And costs for institutional care are perpetually on the rise. In 2012, the average private room daily rate increased 3.8 percent, exceeding the inflation rate. In short, it’s more affordable to stay in your home and receive the care you need there.
- Other cost savings: By staying in your house through all of life’s stages, you’re in a much better position to contain a range of expenditures much more effectively. Food costs, lodging expenses for visiting family members, even various rates for monthly bills can be better managed in a self-contained, residential environment. Also, people who stay in their homes often see slower degeneration of health and emotional/mental status, and that can equate to fewer costly medical issues, less need for prescriptions, etc.
Hopefully—no matter your age today, you’re saving for retirement, investing a percentage of your current income so that you may live well in the future. Now is the time to factor your home into your retirement planning; by prioritizing aging in place updates today, when you’re still working and earning, you’ll be in a position of strength in the future. It will serve you—and those who love you—very well to make certain your home is updated and designed to accommodate whatever age or stage of life you’re in. Over the long haul, this approach adds up to real savings and valuable common sense.
Look for specific ideas for making your home future-ready in upcoming articles in the Wills Company Aging in Place blog series.
The Wills Company specializes in providing design-build, remodeling, and handyman services that can help homeowners like you stay in current residences for years to come. When you’re ready to make your home ready for aging in place, we’re here to create a safe, accessible and comfortable home that blends universal design elements with visual appeal to make your house a home for a lifetime!