That housing needs change as people get older goes without saying. For Madison, Wisconsin Baby Boomers, the “getting older” concept has gradually morphed from the distant abstraction it seemed in the 60’s and 70’s to a more immediate concern. And of all the decisions that will have the most impact on those nearing their golden years, buying the right Madison, Wisconsin home—one that makes the most sense for the future—tops the list.
Boomers have heard and read much advice about buying a home; advice having to do with downsizing, mobility issues and the like. Most of it is cautionary…and not very cheerful. But suddenly weighing into seniors’ “buying a home” deliberations is a contrary point of view: one that many of them have apparently begun to suspect on their own. It’s news that could be of considerable importance, not only for their own age group, but for younger adults as well:
Growing older doesn’t seem to be nearly as dire as everyone has been led to believe.
Last Monday, “Why Everything You Know about Aging is Probably Wrong” led The Wall Street Journal’s special insert on planning and living “in the new retirement.” Its lead article dissected the most common preconceptions Americans have about aging, including the expected declines in mind, body, productivity, and stereotypes of growing loneliness and depression. “Everyone knows that as we age…life becomes less satisfying and enjoyable,” the Journal reported…followed by what a wide range of research shows: “Everyone, it seems, is wrong.”
Among the scientists quoted was the former director of a Baltimore study that has been underway for three decades. Of the widespread notion of the aged as being depressed, cranky, and irritable, etc., he says they constitute no more than 10% of the older population. The remaining 90% are “not like that at all.” Another Stanford study showed that as participants aged, their moods improved!
This may or may not change how we approach buying a home for our latter years, but to the extent that it’s a 180-degree reversal from what most of us have always believed about what to expect next, it should warrant at least a thoughtful examination of how we choose.
Common wisdom: Downsizing. Baby boomers who stay in large houses are probably spending more money than necessary; cleaning unused rooms may be too physically taxing, etc.
Second thought: “Extra” rooms may be needed to accommodate new hobbies, visiting children and grandkids.
Common wisdom: Mobility. Must be a single-level home; mobility issues are paramount.
Second thought: Stairs provide regular mild exercise; greatest threats to physical well-being are inactivity (and over-exercise).
Common wisdom: Budgeting. A budget showing exactly how much can be afforded when renting or buying a home is critical. It should include taxes, insurance, maintenance, and other expenses.
Second thought: No research changes this one: buying a house in retirement should always be based on solid budget realities.
Whether you’re retirement-bound, buying your next Madison, Wisconsin home sets the table for the coming years in so many ways it’s vital to base your selection on reality rather than myth. Once you’ve set your course, I’m standing by to help find your dream house in all the many ways that I can put at your disposal.
Jen Stauter Kornstedt
HomeTeam4U-Stark Company Realtors
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