AUGUST 27, 2014

Retirement not what it used to be

The Great Recession hit us all hard, especially older Americans
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WASHINGTON, DC – The meaning of the word "retirement" has changed in recent years as a result of the downturn in the economy, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

The U.S. Census reported that the average net worth of Americans 65 years of age or older took a nose dive in the 2007 to 2009 as a result of the Great Recession.  And, we don't need statistics to know that the recovery has been slow, at best.

"And so, many of us are continuing to work in either full-time or part-time positions in order to supplement retirement savings and income," Weber said.  "We're also making life-style adjustments such as reassessing our housing needs."

He noted that more than 80 percent of those in the 65-plus age bracket own their own homes in the U.S. and that in the great majority of cases their homes are their single biggest asset.  "So, it stands to reason that when the kids grow up and move on, many of them start thinking about moving into more efficient housing."

For example, Weber explained, trading your house in for a condominium apartment or townhouse can provide a financial cushion, not to mention that it can also help put a cap on maintenance expenses.  In addition, it might also reduce the number of daily chores such as mowing the lawn and shoveling the snow.  And, it might even provide an extra measure of security.

"Whether you are thinking about a condo or a smaller home, making such a lifestyle change may seem daunting at first, but the more you think about it and plan for the future, the more you may come to realize how much sense it makes at this stage of your life."

But be sure to keep your options open, he says.  For example, don't make the mistake of moving from a spacious home into too small a residence.  Those kids will be coming back for extended visits and so you'll need at least enough room to accommodate them.

Also, be sure to check out prospective neighborhoods before making your choice.  Is it easy enough to get to the stores?  How far away are your medical facilities?  Is public transportation accessible?

"And, if you are thinking about moving to another part of the country where the weather is better, the cost of living is lower and there are no local income taxes, do your homework.  It's a big move and there are other considerations such as proximity to friends and family."

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