People love their independence. I know I am one of them. I am 49 years old. Divorced for 17 years. (This week actually!) I’m set in my ways and feel that I will never be able to live with someone else. And this scares me. Why? Because I don’t know what’s going to happen when I’m ready to retire. Financially, I am NOWHERE near being able to retire. I wish I could say I was exaggerating on that statement. As with most people in America, you have to work two jobs just to survive. At my current job, I just signed up for the 401k plan we have available to us. However, with the current rates of inflation, me trying to pay off the last bit of my debt, and my salary? I can’t afford to put more than 2% in. Its company matched but must be here five years to be invested. So, this has me looking at my options when I’m ready to stop working. Cohousing options specifically.
What are cohousing options you ask? Well, it’s options that allow you to live with someone for a variety of reasons.
- To help pay the bills.
- Someone to be there and help each other when needed.
Who may be interested in cohousing?
- Single Parents – https://www.insider.com/cohousing-single-moms-living-together-benefits-2022-1
- Coworkers just starting out
Single parents would benefit greatly from cohousing options. Not only do they have someone to help with finances, but they can help each other with babysitting. Their children have built in friends. If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, children being stuck at home with no interactions with their friends at school was tough. That’s putting it mildly if I’m being honest. Children NEED that interaction. The parents also have that interaction with other adults who understand what they are going through.
While there are many benefits for single parents to utilize the cohousing option, you need to make sure you’re compatible with them. They are like a partner. A platonic partner, but a partner nonetheless. Do they align with your parenting style, political values, and lifestyle? If you’re buying a house together, they will not be easy to remove from the premises.
Coworkers just starting out would also benefit from this. Usually, they are starting out from college. Along with that comes college debt. College is by no means cheap. Especially in the United States. College debt is at an all time high for our new workers. For them to not be house or apartment poor, the smart idea is to have a roommate or two. This will allow the new college graduates to go to work then go out and have fun with friends. They are FINALLY out of school. Why would they want to stay home because they can’t afford to go out? Apartments are normally running well over the $1,200 mark for a two bedroom. That would only be $600 each. Or, if they want to go the extra step, invest in a home so they will walk away from the deal with money in their pocket.
Like above, with the single parents, make sure you and your coworkers get along. This will be my biggest suggestion on each category. You will have to live with them. Are you able to tolerate them? Do you have the same values? Can you count on them to carry their weight? You don’t want to get them in there and they not pay their part of the expenses.
Friends and Siblings
Friends and siblings are another group who would benefit from cohousing options. Unless the siblings can’t stand each other. Then they’re on their own. I love my siblings, but I don’t know that I could live with them. When my ex-husband and I lived together before getting married, his brother and his girlfriend (now ex-wife) moved in with us, into their parents home. The men’s parents lived in Florida during the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Stayed with us in the Summer. We were all able to put money away as the parents only had us pay utilities and repairs. However, I had issues with the other woman. She and I didn’t mesh well together. We all did things together, but it was faked. We tolerated each other because we were forced to. She and I knew we didn’t like the other, and we were ok with that. It got us what we all needed at that time. The ability to save money. And as part of the GenX crew, we all had that “whatever” attitude. Do what you got to do.
As much as I love my brother and sister, I could not live with them. We would kill each other. Or spend our days plotting, and then miserable because we couldn’t carry out our plans. I do have a friend that I make sure she remembers to keep me in mind as someone who will be moving in with her when I retire. Her husband even says “This could work. There’s room for Jacqui.” When they look at houses. We have other friends that I could see living with us as well. Or even to buy a plot of land and either build small homes, or put mobile homes on so we have our own places, but are close enough that we can still interact with easily, or check up on each other in our elder years.
This leads into cohousing options for our elderly. Assisted living or the over 55 communities are NOT cheap. And the ones that are? I know this sounds horrible to say, but I don’t think they could be considered safe! With the way the land and home values have gone up, it’s very difficult to find affordable housing in an area that is desirable to live in. Our elderly deserves a safe place to call home. They deserve a place that is not run down and in need of a lot of repairs. If you have two or more elderly living together, not only are they able to be there if the other needs help, but they may also have family who can help with anything around the home. Repairs or lawn care. They will be able to enjoy their golden years enjoying life and not having to worry about not being able to afford their home or the food on their table. Is cohousing something you’ve thought about?
What about you? Do you have a backup plan for when you retire? Do you have someplace safe that you can go? Share in the comments below or on my Facebook page!