Even if you’ve bought several properties by the time you hit your 60s, buying near the retirement age is a whole new ballgame. This will probably be the final home purchase of your life, so making the wrong move can have dire consequences. Before you sign on the dotted line, here are a few factors you should consider when buying a house at age 60.
How Much Can You (Actually) Afford?
At 60, you probably still have a few years left to punch in before you can retire. But the day that you’ll get that gold pocket watch at the office draws ever nearer. That paycheck you’re used to? It’s probably going to get a whole lot smaller in your retirement years.
We recommend taking a very careful look at your personal finances, figuring out how much you can afford on your new home. It’s very important you take your long-term financial outlook into account. These are some factors you should think about:
- Downsizing. 42% of Americans are planning on downsizing once they hit their retirement years. You may want to join them. It can make a huge difference to your quality of life.
- Affordability. Figuring out how much you can borrow can be a tricky business, as many other factors can come into play. Use a free online affordability calculator to give yourself an idea of the type of property you can think about buying.
- Renting. There is an argument that renting may be a better option than buying. If your retirement fund is quite small, it may be preferable to use savings towards your living expenses. You shouldn’t make this decision lightly, and buying is still probably the right decision for a lot of people, but you should ask yourself the question whether renting would be better for your individual circumstances.
Your (Future) Health
You’ve just hit your seventh decade (*sigh* where have the years gone?), but you still feel like a spring chicken. Even scientific studies are backing up your positive outlook about your health; researchers are now saying that 60 is the new 50.
The problem? It’s not going to last forever. When buying a home at age 60, you need to consider some of your future requirements:
- Close to what you need. You should try and stay close to convenience stores, pharmacies, and your favorite cafe, for example. Once you start getting a little older, you don’t want to drive long distances.
- Convenient storage: For the things you need on a daily basis, a ladder and any awkward stooping should not be necessary. You want everything to be easily accessible. Think built-in drawers underneath your bed or sofa.
- Accessibility: You want to ensure your home is accessible, or at least gives you the option to do a little DIY in future. You want space for building a ramp, wide doorways, and grab-bars in the bathroom.
- Single story: Our recommendation is to avoid steps where possible. It’ll make your life a whole lot easier in future. If more than one story is an absolute must, think about looking for a home with a master bedroom on the ground floor.
What About Friends and Family?
They say that making friends after hitting 30 is hard. And while we don’t disagree, we say they’ve seen nothing until they hit the big 6-0. People are usually busy with their families, jobs are still the priority, and most have their set friendship circles. Many couples in their 60s, however, often decide to move to the other side of the country (Florida retirement stereotype comes to mind), but don’t really give it proper thought.
It’s worth asking whether you should try and stay close to your kids, family, and close friends. The main point we’re making here is that you should do everything you can to avoid being alone in retirement. Studies have shown that those who have constant feelings of loneliness are 14% more likely to die prematurely. There are other reasons too:
- Spending time with older relatives and friends. In your younger years, not seeing someone for a couple of years is no big deal. When you start getting closer to your 70s, a “couple of years” can make a real difference.
- Helping others. Once you’re retired, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands. Why not spend it helping your children, for example? Babysit their kids so they can have a date night and get to know your grandchildren.
- Close to your support system. Being near friends and family will not only help your mental health, but it’s also practical. At some point in the future, you may need a little assistance at home every once in a while. And that’s not something to feel guilty about.
We know these points may make you feel a little old and perhaps they’re slightly over-the-top, as 60 is obviously still quite young! However, bear in mind that ages catches up with everyone and you may thank yourself in future. Don’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by making choices that reflect your advancing years.