Chapter 1: Changes in Life, Changes in Living Needs

Chapter 1 helps you to assess your circumstances as you approach or enter retirement.  It challenges you to think about what you really want to do over the coming years. It helps you to take a preliminary inventory of your earnings, savings, debts, psychology, living situation, family needs, health and physical condition, wants, needs and aversions. The chapter introduces a fictional couple named John and Karen whose circumstances are typical to average over 50 couples.  We use John and Karen as a case study at various points throughout the book to provide examples and show how you can fill in some of the questionnaires, checklists, and tables with your own information. You will also meet the types professionals, planners, and experts who will likely be involved helping you with housing and living choices and arrangements.

1-1    Introducing Our Average “Over-50” Couple.

In a few sections throughout the book, I will introduce a fictional couple experiencing common over-50 situations. The couple has earnings, assets, and debt typical of the average over-50 couple in the U.S.A. Their conversations and actions will provide information and ideas that should prove helpful. When the couple appears, the sections will start and end with dividers that look like this: <><><><><>. To provide a backdrop, below is a brief introduction to the couple.

1-2   Common Issues We Are Facing.

In List 1-1 you will find factors likely impacting you and others who are over 50. Some issues have more meaning to you than others. This list provides a framework for much of the discussion in the rest of this book. Directly or indirectly, each of these issues is going Chapter 1 Changes i 10 n Life, Changes in Living Needs to influence your housing situation and choices over the coming years.

1-3   Housing Related Questions We Are All Asking Ourselves.

In light of your situation, do you find yourself asking the following types of questions?

  1. Over the coming years, do I want to stay in my current home, or move to a new home?
  2. If I want to stay, will I be able to afford to stay in my current home?
  3. If I want to move, can I afford to move out of my current home?
  4. Where else would I want to live?
  5. Is it really feasible for me to live somewhere else given family commitments and circumstances?
  6. What issues would I need to address in order for me to stay in my current home?
  7. What issues would I need to resolve in order for me to move?
  8. What is the realistic timeline for me to change homes?

1-4   Quick Checklists to See Where Your Stand and Where Your Are Going.

1-4-1    Assessing Your Situation – Preliminary Questions to Start You Thinking.

We will kick-start your thinking process by asking you quick questions across a few categories. For each category, I provide a brief checklist to help you summarize preliminary assessments regarding where you stand. In later chapters, we will delve into more detail to help you to refine your mindset, so do not get too hung up on details right now.

1-5   Your Road to Housing Changes – Why Should Your Start the Journey Now?

The sooner you start planning for and carrying out the changes you are going to make to your housing and living arrangements, the better the results. You will have more time to do your research, boost your savings, and carry out your plans with the least amount of disruption to the rest of your life. You will be in better physical condition and able to do more of what needs to be done by yourself. This will give you more control over planning, execution, and outcomes.

1-6   You Are Ready – So Who Will Be Involved in Your Housing Choice and Living Arrangement Activities?

As you move through your housing and living arrangement change process, you will come into contact with people who play many different roles. Some will become a part of your team, some will just be sources of information, and some will be parties with whom you will be contracting or from whom you will be acquiring living accommodations or services

1-6-1    Potential Members of Your Team.

  1. Accountant
  2. Buying Agent (real estate)
  3. Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)
  4. Elder Law Attorney
  5. Estate Planner
  6. Financial Planner
  7. Geriatric Care Manager
  8. Home Care Provider
  9. Home Healthcare Provider
  10. Insurance Agent
  11. Multigenerational-Housing Architect
  12. Real Estate Agent
  13. Real Estate Attorney
  14. Real Estate Broker
  15. REALTOR®
  16. Selling Agent (real estate)
  17. Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®)
  18. Special Needs Professionals or Organizations

1-7   Bibliography for Chapter 1.