It's recently occurred to me that when I'm in my 80's, my two-story, four bedroom house with a large yard may contain a few more toilets than I'll care to scrub in my advanced years. I feel pretty confident of this prediction because I'm already tired of scouring the extra bathrooms in my life.
When I computed how much I needed to save for retirement, I didn't consider the value of my home, since the equity over my head doesn't really translate into money in my pocket. One can argue the point that living somewhere rent-free is money in your pocket, but that would be ignoring the costs of maintaining and insuring said home, and in my neck of the woods, some pretty hefty property tax bills.
The other drawback of home ownership is that when you die with a house, you die with an asset you're not really going to be needing anymore (you know, since you're dead and all.) In our case, that means we'll be dying with another 17 years of living expenses trapped in that asset, which actually could have come in handy while we were still alive. More thoughts on this dilemma in my last U.S. News post, Three Ways Your Home Can Fund Retirement.
Downsizing, becoming a renter, or taking a reverse mortgage are all are fine solutions to the can't-take-it-with-you problem. But if you are considering a reverse mortgage, be sure to read the fine print. To avoid being kicked out of your own home before you arrive at your new destination six feet under, make sure you include both spouses on the loan. Read this article at the New York Times for more details.
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job