How Long will I live

How long are you going to live? (In your house)

I did a Google Search for Life Expectancy calculators this morning. There are quite a few out there. Most seem to agree that I will live to look back on 91 years.  I turned 64 last August. That’s 27 years I must plan for.  A little scary.  The simplest calculator I found was this one. The Social Security Administration put out this longevity calculator, they think I will live only to age 84.  The SSA one is just based on statistical averages with no real personal input. The more accurate ones ask a lot of questions about your happiness, pets, spouse, and family history. (By the way, statistics seem to show that being married increases the longevity of men, but not women). The one survey I found that asked the most questions is this longevity calculator. It bought me four more years. (Now I am living to the age of 95).   I had to give my email address to get this one done.

Why did I do all this and why am I talking about it in what is generally a real estate related blog?  Because I want you to think about your next house – if it is your retirement house – in the long term.  We tend to think in the abstract about retirement living and most of us fail to get practical.  In my previous email I sent you a link about how long things last in your home, the links above will tell you how long you may last.   Needless to say there is a little bit of disparity.  You, dear reader, will last longer.

So; what to do about it?  Make the right choices and plan economically, plan socially, think about life style, and make your home and location adaptable to your situation as you age in place.

Economic planning as it relates to housing all center around the cost to own and maintain your home.  Here you must choose wisely in the first place. My advice is to buy smaller and buy quality. Keep your maintenance, utilities, and insurance costs to a minimum. Examine everything from construction materials to solar power, from insulation to energy efficiency.  Cut down on space and utilize smart design. Think flex space: a den/guest room, rather than three bedrooms, for example, or formal and informal dining together. Budget for the things that will need to be replaced while you own. Take out the economic surprises where ever you are able to.

You should also be able to plan socially.   Happiness and absence of stress will help you live longer. Being near family and friends and being social will add to your well being.  A planned retirement community with many like minded neighbors will help if you are moving to a new area.  But you can also get involved in social activity through your church or local clubs. You need to be PROACTIVE socially, don’t expect things to just happen.

Life style is important but you should know that for sure your lifestyle will change as you age in place.  You should plan for the changes. Tennis and golf may be an integral part of your life style now, for example, but these activities may subside over time. Both your home and location must be adaptable to your lifestyle as circumstances changes.  In the home think stairs, bath tubs, door widths, and flooring.  In the neighborhood think medical services, activities to join, and transportation and shopping access.

Run one of the calculators above, you will be pleasantly surprised and perhaps nudged a bit to start seriously planning for your (housing) future.  If I can help, let me know.

Gregg