Should you own a home in retirement? Or is it smarter to rent?
This can be a vexing question, as we were reminded when a Money Talks News reader named Shaun wrote to us and asked the following:
“At 65, I’m not inclined to undertake a home purchase, even though I am able to pay cash and not incur a mortgage. I fall into a category that has escaped your attention, or is not worthy of a line or two in your newsletter — namely, the secure retiree with no appreciable obligations who continues to rent and is comfortable in doing so.”
First things first, Shaun: Please be careful when you say things like, “I fall into a category that has escaped your attention.” I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and Money Talks News has thousands of articles on virtually every money-related topic. If you’ve thought about it, we’ve explored it. We have indeed written articles about renting in retirement.
My opinion? I think renting a great idea, at least for some folks.
While I’m generally a proponent of homeownership, it carries a lot of responsibilities, like insurance, property taxes and all kinds of ongoing maintenance.
If you don’t feel like dealing with all that in retirement, who can blame you?
Other advantages to renting in retirement:
- Cashing out your home equity: It often makes sense to sell your home so you can use the money to fund a happier retirement.
- Getting what you want: When you rent, you can pick a house, apartment or condo that suits your current needs.
- Trying things out: You can try living in a different neighborhood, town or even country by booking a stay in a vacation rental.
- Living closer to children and grandchildren: Want to live near your kids or grandkids? Go for it. If they’re scattered around the country, divide your time and change rentals when the mood strikes.
- Less hassle: One great thing about being a renter is that when something breaks, you don’t have to fix it yourself — or pay someone else to fix it.
- More freedom: When you own, you’re tied down. Selling a house is a major effort. When you rent, though, you’re free to move at almost any time.
There you go, Shaun. You’re not inclined to undertake a home purchase, and I’m not inclined to disagree.
That being said, let’s acknowledge that we’re all different. If you’re happy owning, nothing wrong with that, either. What’s important is to think about what you want your life to look like, consider your options and make it happen. Because at the end of the day, what’s important isn’t renting, owning or even money. It’s living the life you want to live.
Hope that answers your question, Shaun.
I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and I’ve also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.