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The Answer to High Prices: Many Retirees Turn to Boommates

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

July 13, 2020 — Not everyone wants to have a roommate in their retirement, but for many they are a great solution. A PBS Newshour feature this week, “High Costs Spur More Baby Boomers to Find Roommates“, highlighted how many homeowners are finding homesharing to be a great solution to high rents and inflation.

The primary motivation for getting a roommate is financial. Several of the women in the feature narrated by Paul Solman found themselves owning too much house with not enough money to maintain it, and unable to keep up with their other expenses. Bringing in someone to share those expenses proved to be a godsend for many of them. But several of those interviewed also reported being surprised by how much they enjoyed having a companion around the house. Friendships developed between very different people, and everyone seemed to benefit.

The segment featured an executive from Silvernest.com, a website that helps baby boomers find a roommate or homeshare.

Solman also interviewed some of his single, baby boomer relatives on their feelings about having a roommate. About half said that would be the worst idea ever (similar to many people on this site, see “Is a Golden Girls Retirement in Your Future“), while others said that the financial relief would be welcome.

The PBS feature is about 8 minutes long and quite interesting. We recommend it for anyone contemplating getting a roommate (or being one) for either financial or social reasons.

https://www.pbs.org/video/boommates-sot-1657573752/https://www.pbs.org/video/boommates-sot-1657573752/

Comments? Would you be interested in either finding someone to share your home, or would you consider becoming a roommate yourself to save money or gain companionship? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on July 18th, 2022

4 Comments »

  1. Not in a million years! I am an introvert and rather not have to deal with other people living under my roof. There are so many issues that could arise. If the person gets sick, you suddenly become involved. If they are sent home from the hospital, they may need certain equipment installed in your home. It could become a revolving door of therapists, family members and others. You may have to help withe medications or other things.

    If it isn’t illness, it is incompatibility. Could be one person is a chatterbox and the other isn’t. Sharing the living room and having to watch tv shows the other dislikes. One making a mess and not cleaning up after themselves. They could invite friends over and that could be annoying. One person might like the heat high and the other likes the temps cool. Same with air conditioning.

    There are just too many things that could be annoying that might cause resentment for each person.

    It might be appealing to some people, but it is not for me! I would sell my house and buy something less expensive before I would ever consider renting out a room.

    by Louise — July 13, 2022

  2. I watched the PBS story a couple of days ago and those situations seemed to work out pretty well. Louise’s concerns about what could go wrong are quite valid though. Here in the greater Miami area rents have increased significantly (15-30%) over the past two years. Quite a few seniors and others are finding it difficult to pay those new amounts. As the article here indicated, many have no choice financially except to seek someone else to live with and share costs. Otherwise, they could seriously risk homelessness or living in their car. But sometimes the roommate situation can work out to have advantages other than just cost savings.

    by Clyde — July 14, 2022

  3. An interesting, timely report. Many Boomers living alone are barely hanging on right now, and prices are going up, up, up.

    I would absolutely be open to a roommate if I felt housing or financially insecure. As long as we were reasonably compatible and had our own bedrooms, bathrooms and TVs, the rest – including house rules – could be ironed out.

    During my late teens through mid-twenties I had several roommates. Hardly a rarity during the 1970s. When some close relatives moved to assisted living facilities over the past ten years I was surprised by the parallels. Private spaces to retreat to when residents didn’t want to interact with others, communal spaces for when they did. Roommates with maid, transportation and dining room services.

    In my experience, good social graces, low drama, and a reasonable level of flexibility are necessary for successfully navigating any kind of communal living. That includes marriage, raising a family, living in a group setting, and having roommates.

    Knowing I couldn’t cover my home’s overhead, utilities, food, meds, doctor visits, and other necessities of life would be a whole lot worse than sharing my home.

    by JCarol — July 14, 2022

  4. If this is something you might consider, here are a few homesharing sites that are worth checking out (some have fees associated with their services):

    – nationalsharedhousing.org

    – silvernest.com

    – seniorhomeshares.com

    https://helpmelaw.org/sites/default/files/homeshare-interview-questions.pdf (sample interview questions for a potential roommate)

    Jan Cullinane, The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Wiley, May 2022)

    by Jan Cullinane — July 31, 2022

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