If you’re getting close to retirement age or you have already retired, you might be wondering how to afford rent when retired. Just because your monthly income has gone down doesn’t mean your rent has decreased. It can put a lot of older folks into a financial bind. Here are some tips to make your rent more affordable.
How to Afford Rent When Retired
While social security certainly is a nice added bonus when you retire, too often it doesn’t go far enough. If you don’t have a lot of money in your retirement accounts or any other income, it can be rough going when trying to come up with enough money to pay your rent.
There are ways to make it easier. Here are the top tips to help you make paying rent more affordable.
Housing costs, whether you are renting or own your own home, only go in one direction, up. One easy way to combat this is to downsize.
Consider moving into a smaller apartment. If you’re currently in a two-bedroom apartment, downsize to a one-bedroom. If you’re in a one-bedroom, consider a studio apartment.
Chances are you need less room than you currently have.
That’s true for most people.
This will also give you a good opportunity to clean out the clutter.
Too many seniors leave rooms and closets full of stuff that their children and grandchildren don’t want or need, but are left to dispose of.
By downsizing and cleaning out the clutter, you can make your life and your kid’s life easier.
You will also be saving yourself some money each month on your monthly rent.
If you currently own your own home, then you might want to consider selling and renting in retirement.
There will be fewer maintenance costs. You won’t have to worry about lawn care if your health declines, and there will be no sleepless nights wondering if your furnace is going to break down, and no more property tax to worry about.
I know that my parents bought their last home because my father loved the big yard. It was nice and he was able to take care of it, but about three years after they moved in that changed.
I was close by, so I could pick up the slack, but if you don’t have a family member that can help, then you’ll have to spend even more money paying someone to mow and trim hedges and the like.
Not to mention, if you have equity in your home, you can build up your retirement savings and cash flow with the money you receive from the sale of your house.
Downsizing or selling your home might seem scary at first, but after you do it, you may feel like you have a fresh start, a new beginning, and you could also start to fund your retirement dreams.
2. Move to a Less Expensive Area
Depending on where you live, this could mean moving to a less expensive area or it could mean moving across town or to a whole new state.
For many seniors, the idea of moving to a warmer location, such as Florida, is a dream come true.
I used to live on the beach in Florida on the gulf side and let me tell you, it was wonderful.
And while living on the beach is wonderful, it can be expensive.
So, instead, you might consider moving to a modular home park in the middle of the state.
You still get to enjoy the sunshine and these modular homes are inexpensive to buy or rent.
They also usually come with a whole lot of extras in the common areas as well.
They really are a little community, so you have the opportunity to meet people your own age and be socially active. Most of these communities are for retirees only.
The ones I’ve seen are really well maintained.
And if going to the beach is important to you, you will be less than two hours away.
If Florida isn’t your idea of the perfect retirement location, there are plenty more across the country where you can find a housing market that you can afford.
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3. Get a Roommate
You may not be thrilled with the idea of having a roommate in your senior years, but if you are single or widowed, then having someone to share your life with isn’t a bad idea.
If you find someone that is your own age and has similar interests and lifestyle as you, it could be a win-win situation.
You would have someone to share expenses with and someone to keep you company.
Too many seniors are isolated in their later years.
Having a roommate that you enjoy being with, can really make a difference.
I think of my own grandmother. My grandfather died fourteen years before she did. She was alone for all of those years.
Her kids lived elsewhere, and I lived about an hour away, so I couldn’t see her as much as I liked.
So, day in and day out she was alone. Maybe she didn’t mind it, but she did tell me once that all of her friends had died and she did feel pretty alone. She was in her 90s when she passed.
The point is, you should consider stepping out of your comfort zone and create a retirement plan that will allow you to improve not only your financial situation but also your mental health.
Just be sure to do due diligence when finding a roommate.
4. Consider Moving Overseas
If you are on the adventurous side, then you should really consider moving out of the country.
There are many places where the cost of living is much cheaper than in the United States.
For example, you might consider:
- Costa Rica
In this group, Vietnam has the lowest cost of living and real estate markets. You can live comfortably on $800 to $1,000 per month.
You will find good and inexpensive health care options in all of these locations as well as great food, cultural events, and nightlife.
Yes, moving overseas can seem like a major move, and it is, but millions of people do who are living on a smaller retirement budget.
There are ex-pat communities in all of these locations that will help you make the transition if this is something you want to consider.
5. Check into Government Subsidized Housing
If you are living on a very limited budget, government-subsidized housing might be the way to go.
Typically, these housing options base your cost of rent on your income. From singles to married couples, you can find an apartment that is right for you.
I know that there is a government housing highrise where I live. I’ve been to it many times to visit.
They have one and two-bedroom apartments. They are on the small side, but they are neat and tidy and all of them come with balconies.
They also offer a community room, a game room, a TV room, washer and dryers, and a beauty parlor.
It’s a great option for those on fixed incomes.
The rents start at about $50 per month and go up to a max of $350 dollars depending on your income.
To Sum it All Up:
There are many ways you can reduce the cost of your rent to make renting more affordable in your senior years. From senior government housing to living overseas, and even getting a roommate, there are options out there for you.