As all of hubby's siblings are retiring and the kids are transitioning too (one wants to live closer to her first grandchild--hubby's great grand child, one retired from the military and decided to put down roots in a small town, another moved across country but only kind of likes their new town, and another lives in a state with wickedly high taxes) and the questions of where (and how) to live has been a hot topic around here. To date we have considered:
- Van living. Being a van-dweller is popular since it is so cheap (all you need is a van) and portable (you can drive a van anywhere) but I just can't see the both of us squished into a van and having to find public restrooms/showers to use every single day.
- RV living. Another popular way to cut down the price of housing and be very portable at the same time. We had an RV before and while it was fun, it seems like things were always breaking--even with a brand new RV--and there were always expensive repairs to make. Also the value of an RV drops like a rock and I kind of like the opportunity to build equity in a house.
- Living in senior housing like a condo or a house in a senior community. We lived in our cousin's condo when we first moved to Las Vegas and I really hated it (I'd never lived in an apartment or condo before so it was a new experience). We could hear people walking--more like stomping--above us and the neighbors smoked which seemed to come into our place...ick. Many of our friends own homes in a senior retirement community (Sun City Anthem) and while it looks nice, it also looks like God's waiting room--kind of like a cruise (organized activities, golf, clubs for every topic under the sun) that never ends.
- Buy another house somewhere else. This would be the most likely option although we can't agree where to move to. I would like a house on acreage in the middle of nowhere and hubby loves all of the amenities of a city....so it's a stalemate at the present time. Owning a house is good for building equity but I'm getting tired of things breaking (so far we have replaced the hot water tank, the microwave, the refrigerator, the washer and dryer...it will be a continual expense to do this every ten years on a fixed income!).
- Shared housing. I always was a fan of the Golden Girls (although the horror of having roommates during college is still in the back of my mind!) so the idea of buying a larger house and having roommates is another idea we have discussed. Of course we would be very picky about who the roommates would be (one of the daughters would be a perfect roommate, one of the sons would not be, one of hubby's sisters and her husband would be great roommates, another sister would be a definite no). This would allow us to have a bigger, nicer house but with others to help pay the mortgage and utilities as well as lend a helping hand with bigger projects like yard work. Obviously the finances and divvying up of chores could get complicated. Another thought was to have one or more of the kids move in (and pay a small rent and part of the utilities) so they can take care of us when we get old and then they can just keep the house after we die (since it is in our wills to go to them anyway), but we also like our privacy.
I think this topic will become a huge issue in the future as housing prices continue to skyrocket but incomes are either fixed (seniors), or stagnate (for many average workers). People are continually looking for ways to cut housing costs (does it really make sense for one person to have an entire house to themselves?) yet privacy and autonomy are pretty important in our culture (in hubby's culture it is almost unheard of for just one person to live in a house by themselves). The moving saga continues...