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Housing Strategies for Retirees

By Allison Halliday | January 2, 2014

An article in points out that housing is one of the largest expenses in most people's household budgets, and it's preferable to reduce this expense upon retirement. There are various ways in which this can be done, and retiring from work brings a new type of freedom as there's no longer any need to be located within a convenient driving distance from your employment.

Most people would choose to downsize as this is one of the easiest ways to reduce housing costs. Downsizing generally means being able to afford to stay in the same area, close to friends and family and this can be a huge benefit when retiring. There's often not the need to have so much space upon retirement, and this could help save money on heating and other utilities and general maintenance bills. It also helps to cut the time needed to clean the place, enabling you to make the most of your retirement.

© Lisa F. Young -

© Lisa F. Young -

Another choice is to relocate somewhere cheaper as there's no longer the need to live close to good schools or to work. Often cheaper areas are less appealing for families as they tend not to be so near to local amenities but this can be a good option if you want to maintain a similar size home that is still reasonably close to friends and family.

Some states are more affordable than others, and it can be worth comparing tax rates for retirees as it could help you to save on things like sales tax and property tax, and inheritance tax. Choosing to move to a state with friendlier tax rules could help increase your spending power.

A more radical option would be to move to a different country entirely, and moving to a warmer country could prove to be beneficial for health. It's often a lot cheaper to live in countries such as Nicaragua and Ecuador, and there's no reason why the move has to be permanent as you can always choose to return to the States a few years later.

Some people have always wanted to travel and retirement is a great time to do so. Traveling around in a decent sized RV can be hugely appealing for a while and is an excellent way to see a bit more of the world. It might be worth considering having a bolt hole in your hometown and traveling when the weather is less appealing. Yet another option is to choose to live part-time in the US and part-time abroad as retirement opens up a whole realm of possibilities you might never have considered.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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