"To be happy in this world you have to ignore some things." -- Alan Drew, "Shadow Man"

Monday, May 25, 2015

Home on the Range

     According to a survey by the financial firm Merrill Lynch called Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices most retirees report that they do not have to worry about home-related financial issues. For example, 70 percent of those surveyed have paid off their mortgages, and 65 percent say they "are now living in the best home of their lives."

     Compared to other Americans, retirees are "more likely to say their homes are comfortable, in a safe community, and a great place to connect with family." They are also more likely to agree that they are now living in a part of the country with pleasant climate and weather.

A kitchen built for a Queen ...
     From my perspective, the weather outside today is just wonderful. However, I am also still scarred from the long, cold, lonely winter here in the Northeast, and so I'm already planning my trip south for next year. This past winter I spent two full weeks in Florida, plus a little more than a week in South Carolina. For this coming 2015-26 winter, I've decided . . . that's simply not enough!

     Anyway, while many of us get away from the cold in the winter (or the heat in the summer), many others are content to stay right where they are -- especially if their home is on the range.

... with a spectacular view!
     For example, we have Laura Lee at Midlife Crisis Queen reporting on the latest developments in building her solar home in southern Colorado. In her post Back to Our Very Special Construction Project, she reports on the progress of her house in the foothills of the Spanish Peaks.

     Meanwhile, Kathy Gottberg at SmartLiving 365 offers up 7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Rightsizing Your Home. She refers to a friend of hers who is currently in the midst of selling her long-time family home and moving to a smaller place. The friend "gets" many of the benefits of rightsizing, but several issues keep popping up that give her pause.

     That's completely normal, writes Gottberg, because in many ways rightsizing is contrary to what most of us have been taught, which is that bigger is always better. The good news is that once you know what to keep in mind, rightsizing not only becomes the easiest choice, also the one that leads to the greatest benefits. She offers seven "don'ts" we should follow when considering a move in retirement, including two that hit home for me: "Don't buy a house just to store your stuff" and "Don't buy where you've always lived just because you're afraid to try somewhere new."

     Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Rita Robison on The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, writes that Scientists Recommend Throwing Away Nonstick Cookware, as well as other products with waterproofing chemicals, such as raincoats, stain resistant carpets, and pizza boxes. The statement by the scientists cites evidence that perfluorinated compounds are linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and other health problems and that they don’t break down in the environment.

     But as fond as we are of our homes, not all of us are content to beat around the kitchen and the yard. Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting has been spending a lot of time traveling recently -- once again on the road and journeying cross country. In Travel Yesteryear and Today she ponders the troubles of today's travelers compared to the hardships of the pioneers venturing west over 150 years ago. The surprise, she says in her lighthearted post, is that not all that much has changed. Bad weather remains a problem. Indian raids have been replaced by TSA checkpoints. Wagon train traffic jams out of Missouri have been replaced by . . . well, you get the point. Take a short sidetrip to her essay to appreciate her wide-angled view.

     Finally, as you may remember, I sometimes write a column for U. S. News "On Retirement," and so you can see my perspective on the housing issue in 7 Baby Boomer Housing Trends to Watch as well as Where Retirees Want to Live Now.

     Anyway, no matter where you may be this Memorial Day weekend, please remember those who gave their lives while defending our country . . . and then go ahead and enjoy the traditional advent of the summer season.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating and I checked out a couple of them. Thanks for sharing.

DJan said...

I too will spend some time looking at the links that interest me. I think I DO live in the best part of the country, but then again I don't suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in the winter. It's a bit cool out there for my tastes right now, after a rainy Memorial Day. But pretty much I'm happy here. :-)

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! Thanks for sharing my tips about how to rightsize your home. I sure hope others find it helpful because I've seen too many others take a misstep when they didn't need to on their road to downsizing and retirement. But I especially appreciate the links to your articles on U.S. News on Retirement. Definitely useful information for all of us baby boomers. ~Kathy

Laura Lee Carter said...

Hi Tom and thanks for featuring my piece this week!
One thing I noticed about your articles about boomers is no mention is made of use ever improving solar technology to lower costs and increase convenience. We hope to cut out our electric bill all together and that includes our heating bill here in southern Colorado. Don't know why others don't use this free source of energy...

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy these round ups of retirement-related posts.

Count me as one of those who love where we live year-round. I can't imagine enduring snow and freezing temperatures every winter. We had a taste of that kind of weather on our recent road trip through Utah and Colorado. The snow was beautiful but I was happy to be just passing through.