My friends Cindy & Joe (not their real names), that are in their mid-60’s recently retired. They lived in a beautiful, 3k+ square foot, 3 level home on a lake with their dog. Both of them love the outdoors. They didn’t plan on retiring that soon, but their situation sort of pushed them into it.
They wanted to get out from under the costly, and physical maintenance of owning such a large home so they put in on the market. At this point, they weren’t sure where they wanted to live in retirement.
Another thing I need to mention, is that they have an RV they keep at a park on a lake about 3 hours from their house. This park has a marina where they keep their pontoon boat. They would spend many weekends at the RV during the spring and summer months since they love the outdoors so much. The park is open from April through October.
They considered many options for their new retirement lifestyle but they hadn’t quite figured it out when their home sold. During the effort to put their house up for sale, they downsized their belongings quite a bit. They didn’t know where they would be living, but they did know they needed to purge significantly because they wanted a smaller home.
Interim Living Solution
After much thought, they considered their current resources, and their health, and they decided on an interim living solution at the lake. They would live in the RV during the warm months while the park is open – April through October. Then during the cold months – November through March, they would rent a furnished condo.
They actually got a good deal on the condo, since condo owners typically don’t have traffic during the winter in a tourist lake community. All their utilities, including wi-fi, is included in the monthly rental rate.
They also rented two storage units near their RV, one is climate controlled, for the items they loved and may need for another house. This would be their main source of storage.
As expected with any decision, there are pros and cons. Their interim living solution is no exception. Cindy & Joe are going on two years with their interim living solution. The pros and cons, or advantages and disadvantages, they have discovered are listed below in no particular order.
- Monthly living expenses are significantly less. The RV lot rental doesn’t include water, electric & propane, but these expenses are minimal. As mentioned above, the furnished condo rental includes all utilities, wi-fi, all condo complex amenities, and a washer & dryer in the unit. The cost for the storage units are significantly less than they would be if they were back in St. Louis.
- No real estate taxes.
- They are not locked into a geographic area. They can literally take their RV with them if they desire to travel. Or they could leave the RV and go someplace warm for the winter and rent a condo. They can also try out different condo’s in different areas around the lake to see what area works best for them.
- They are not doing, or paying for any type of yard maintenance in the condo, or RV. RV maintenance is much less expensive than owning a home – on average $1k – $1.5k for infrastructure replacements. If there is a maintenance issue in the condo, they just make a phone call to get it resolved at no cost to them.
- Less space and belongings to clean and maintain, equals more time to do the things they want to do.
- Not locked into this interim living solution. Because there are no contracts, if they don’t like this solution, they can easily move to a different living environment.
- It took a little while to adjust to moving from a 3k square foot home, to about 400 square feet of space in the RV. The condo is also significantly smaller than the home they sold. There is really no place to escape from their significant other. Since they’re living in close quarters, there will be times they need to get away from each other.
- They move twice per year, from the RV to the condo in November, and then back to the RV in April.
- Storage space – no garage or basement, so they had to get creative with storage & organization. As mentioned above, Cindy & Joe rented 2 storage units at the lake, 1 is climate controlled. There are some things that don’t do well sitting in storage not being used – electronics are the biggest culprits. Depending on how long they are unused, some features may or may not work when you do need to use them.
- No storm shelter at the RV park so figuring out an emergency plan is very important!
- Not understanding the mechanics of maintaining an RV sewage system. Keeping odors away is key. If you don’t maintain the sewage system you can have a real mess on your hands!
- Winterizing the RV plumbing systems – drain all the fluids and fill with anti-freeze.
What type of retirement living solution have you planned, or are thinking about?