Housing is a huge financial challenge for many people all over America today. Expensive housing is no longer relegated just to the coasts. The changing dynamic of American society is contributing to some of the angst of finding housing. Today, we have more single seniors, especially women, than ever before. This is leading many people to seek alternative housing solutions.
If you are in this category, are you a candidate for a Golden Girls living arrangement? The Golden Girls was a popular NBC television comedy that ran from 1985 until 1992. The show featured four mature women who became roommates to offset the cost of living and fend off loneliness as they aged. If you’ve never seen the show, check out a few episodes. If you find that you are in the market for this type of living arrangement, keep in mind that there are some tips to keep in mind.
First, you need to understand that shared housing is very different than living on your own. Compromise will be necessary, as will having house rules in writing and enforced. Many people underestimate the need for laying out rules and structure in writing and in advance and making sure that all house members understand and adhere to the rules.
You need to decide how common expenses will be handled. Is there a master tenant who charges a rent sufficient to cover your share of the utilities and maintenance, or will the expenses be shared and divided each month as they are incurred? Whichever method works best is fine, but the expenses and how they are shared and paid should be outlined and agreed to in advance.
Maintenance is a critical component. To avoid squabbling over chores such as house cleaning and lawn work (if needed), consider hiring this done. A cleaning service will relieve each member of having to clean, and avoid conflict over who cleans and the quality of their work. It’s money well spent.
Keep in mind that you are roommates. It doesn’t mean that you are going to become best friends, but having companionship as you age can be beneficial. It can help reduce loneliness and keep you active. If your new living situation is a good match, there is a good chance you will start to grow a friendship.
Don’t assume that your roommates will be your caretaker. That’s not the point of shared housing. Advanced planning for your care and when you should leave the home should be arranged by you in advance and not left to your roommates. If you find you need daily assistance with care it may be time to leave the shared housing situation. Outline this in advance and don’t burden your housemates.
There are a lot of things to consider, but shared housing can be very beneficial, especially for seniors. If you are thinking it is time to partner up, do your homework in advance and consider interviewing friends or family who are already in shared housing. Organizations like AARP and your local senior center may have good resources as well.
I have experience in shared housing. As an independent Certified Financial Planner™, I can help you determine if shared housing is a good fit for you. Contact me and let’s get started! #talktometuesday #Hireaplanner #budget #sharedhousing #roommate #GoldenGirls #CFPPro #housing