Rika Mead retired, and divorced, two years ago, the idea
of taking on a roommate wasn’t high on her list of
Denver-area home isn’t a duplex, and she admittedly
was a bit rigid about keeping her belongings a certain
liked things the way I liked them," she said.
"I didn’t want to share my home with
anyone." She briefly looked at homes for sale in a
lower price range, but said they were dark, very small
or in neighborhoods where safety was a concern.
current home is large — 3,700 square feet over three
floors — so a friend thought of Mead last summer when
trying to help a couple of 21-year-olds find housing for
the summer. Because it was a short-term situation, Mead
agreed to rent out two extra bedrooms.
had a blast. It was so much fun I decided to get over
myself and start thinking about my space in a new
way," said Mead, 68, whose career interests helped
her see her situation differently. She still does some
organizational effectiveness and change management
consulting after retiring from a similar position in
wealth accounts for a big chunk of retirees’ net
worth, but tapping that wealth can be fraught with as
much emotional baggage as financial — one reason some
financial advisers shy away from pushing the issue with
of the time the money aspect of it is just a rationale
that they use to justify what they’re doing,"
said Dan Moisand, a financial adviser and principal with
Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo in Florida.
times, he said, downsizing isn’t the windfall many
retirees expect, particularly in markets where home
price gains are modest.
a fledgling online introduction service targeted to
women, roommates4boomers.com Mead began corresponding in
January with Deborah Halverson, 57, a nurse who recently
relocated to Denver to be near family. The pair hit it
off and Halverson moved in this month after completing
an apartment lease. For now, at least, industry
entrepreneurs say demand for elder shared housing is
largely among single women.
arrangement cut Halverson’s housing costs by a little
more than half, and it covers about half of Mead’s
monthly mortgage payment.
for rent typically generate about half the going rate of
a one-bedroom apartment, said Bonnie Moore, founder of a
competing website, goldengirlsnetwork.com. (Moore and
Karen Venable, founder of roommates4boomers.com strongly
recommend clients check the backgrounds of any potential
candidates before sharing personal information. They and
several home sharers we spoke with also suggested
detailed meetings about how expenses like cleaning
services, food and alcohol will be shared.)
retirees are leveraging the home-sharing concept in
Chicago, a small company called Point in Time (pointintimellc.com
is developing shuttered Catholic convents into upscale
shared rental housing for people 62 and up. Each one
will house about a dozen residents, with private
bedrooms but common kitchen and living areas. Together,
the groups will decide what shared services, such as
chefs and vehicles, they wish to purchase.
retirees are offering reduced rents in exchange for
tenant-provided handyman or other services.
adviser Sheryl Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning
Network, remembers talking with a 62-year-old client
about potentially needing to downsize her home and rent
a smaller apartment.
we finally got to the bottom of it, we realized she
wouldn’t be saving much if she moved out and paid
rent," Garrett said. "What she really needed
was a live-in handyman, so she made a few upgrades in
her basement and found a tenant who could pay a little
rent and take over shoveling the walks, mowing the lawn
and other jobs."
find him, Garrett advised her client to contact her
county aging department. Many of these departments
screen potential candidates, but it is still important
to check out anyone you are considering thoroughly.
Another good source is the National Shared Housing
Resource Center (nationalsharedhousing.org.)
on the tenant bought her client time to stay where she
really wanted to live, and it preserved her ability to
pick up more home equity over time — an important
asset in case she needed to sell in the future to pay
for a nursing facility, Garrett said.