Dear Market Watch,
I’m in my early 60s, and I have a paid-off house, worth less than $200,000, in a rust belt city that I’d like to move out of. On the upside, I saved $950,000, which was invested with an investment company, in taxable accounts. The company has a good track record and acts as a credit agent. I receive a small amount of alimony and will continue to receive it for the next eight years. I’m trying to live solely on alimony so I can keep my money invested and hopefully grow – although right now, it looks like it’s going nowhere.
I am able to get health insurance at a discount through the government market. I do not have a child. I worry about my finances, especially when I see property prices in desirable areas where I have relatives close by. I worked for many years in a highly educated/low paying profession (I know, I know…it made sense at the time). I will only receive about $20,000 a year from Social Security. I keep my costs low – no cable is an issue – but I would love to travel at some point. Any advice for me?
Will I be okay?
be seen: We are in our 60s, have nearly $3 million and want to buy a new home. Do we tap into our savings or do we get a mortgage?
It sounds like you’ve got your mind on the right track, so it’ll just come down to crunching the numbers and finding something that fits your budget.
Trying to rely on your expenses alone until the rest of your money grows is a great strategy. What would help you most, of course, is if you were to continue contributing to this account, or another type of account. You didn’t say if you’re already retired, but if you are, is there any work you can do, even part-time, to help boost your savings? This can help you achieve your ultimate goals.
As for moving to a new place, it’s completely normal to feel nervous about that, but the move itself should be possible, as long as you’re flexible. If your goal is to live near family members, first think about how close you want to be. For example, do you want to be within a five-block radius? Or 30 minutes drive? The wider your network, the more options you have, and therefore the greater your odds of finding an affordable home.
It’s not just about the price of the house, although that may even vary from building to building. Each city or neighborhood can incur different expenses, such as taxes, homeowner association fees, costs of living, etc.
I know you’re worried about finances – and that’s completely justified – but what you really need is a financial plan. You’re in a great position with your house paid off, manageable spending habits, and plenty of money stashed away. If you create a solid financial plan, especially with the help of a qualified financial planner, you can definitely make this move a success.
When making this plan, you should make sure to give yourself an extra cushion, such as a very large emergency savings account, so that you don’t have to dip too deep into your investments if unexpected expenses arise. While you’re looking for a place to live, you should also make a list of all the potential expenses you can think of. Ask loved ones who live in those communities to help you make that list.
See also: “I’ll work until I die”: I’m 74 years old, have little money and have medical problems. “I want to retire so I can enjoy life for a few years.”
Be very careful when you think about the house you will live in as well. If it is a house, how old are the roof and boiler? What will you pay for snow removal or lawn care? And if it’s a co-op or condo, how often and to what extent can the maintenance fees go up? Does your board often handle appraisal fees for construction projects, and how are they handled from month to month?
Also consider whether there are the types of doctors and medical facilities you currently need or may need in the future near you, and whether they are in network. What are the options for entertainment and staying active, and how much do these things cost – such as a community centre, fitness club, pool, golf course, etc.
It seems like what you really need is a plan that includes all the money coming in and going out — that is, a rough budget you can stick to each month that takes into account the cost of everything, along with the cost of everything. Huge liquid reserve, just in case. With all that said, you may not feel quite as stressed. I wish you the best!
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