The Big Reason Why Many Retirees Are Flocking to Tiny Homes Is Actually Pretty Smart
The tiny home movement was once the nomad’s best-kept secret. But the idea of living small is catching on with more than minimalistic millennials, it’s also a growing trend with retirees. Seniors are trading wheels for walls as tiny homes become the new RVs. In fact, tiny house communities are expanding so fast that nearly two of every five tiny house owners are over 50.
Mobile retirees are getting creative in their efforts to save a buck and live out a healthy retirement. But is downsizing to a tiny home going too far? Tiny homes provide unique living options older adults should consider. Would you do it if you could?
Tiny homes with big benefits
A tiny house is anywhere from 100 to 700 square feet, making the average 2,687 square foot American home feel like a mansion. These micro-homes are roughly the size of a studio apartment or an expansive master bedroom we drool over on HGTV. They include all amenities of a traditional home but are built for mobility, self-sustainability, and for the most daring, off-the-grid living. Millennials set the template for modern nomadic living, but seniors are quickly following suit. Experts claim the healthiest retirees are those who remain active, alert, and financially sound — all of which are possible with tiny homes.
Is living in a tiny home crazy? Possibly. But countless retirees are selling their possessions and hitting the road every day by choice, so something must be working. Here are the biggest reasons why living in a tiny home during retirement is actually a smart idea.
Next: Retirees change with the seasons
7. Chasing warm weather year-round is entirely feasible
Many retirees dream of a spontaneous and adventurous retirement once their office days are over. Retiring to a tiny house means freedom from the 30-year mortgage that cemented you to one neighborhood all your life.
Tiny houses can be moved as the weather changes and are somewhat preferable to RVs for long-term living since they can withstand more wear-and-tear. Retirees can plop their home on a California cliffside in June and a Florida beach town in January with minimal risk or commitment.
Next: Age-appropriate living
6. They offer age-friendly adaptability features retirees need
Customization is a big reason why retirees are choosing tiny homes. Sure, you gain geographical flexibility, but you can also enjoy cost-effective interior adaptability many seniors crave.
Today’s tiny home builders bestow unique design features that offer comfort and safety to downsizing retirees such as main-floor bedrooms, full baths, accessibility ramps, and easy-to-reach storage seniors need as they age. They rarely build two identical homes, and customizing the features for special needs is a lot more affordable in a smaller home.
Next: Why not having a permanent address can be beneficial
5. Flexibility in uncertain times
A shaky economy and a health care system in limbo have many retirees feeling uncertain about their futures. There are fewer strings — financially or figuratively — tying you down anywhere when you live small.
Fewer possessions and a truly mobile home awards you the flexibility to deal with unexpected roadblocks during retirement. Moving closer to a family member when a new baby is born — or if you encounter an unplanned medical dilemma — is a cinch since you don’t need to worry about rental agreements or home loans amidst sudden changes.
Next: It’s a wise investment for all family members
4. It’s the solution to space quandaries for large families
Some retirees who aren’t ready to commit to tiny house living choose these houses as second permanent dwellings or income properties. Tiny homes are perfect backyard solutions for in-law suites or extra sleeping quarters when extended families come to visit. Adults who want to keep an eye on aging parents without stealing any personal independence can place a tiny home on their property for a fraction of the cost of a retirement home.
Of course, stationary retirees looking for extra cash can easily morph a tiny home into a profitable rental unit if they live in desirable vacation areas.
Next: Finding work during retirement is easier
3. It makes finding work during retirement easier
The engrained flexibility of a tiny home awards retirees access to a whole new world of career options. Many Americans work during retirement, but finding work is much harder given the double-digit unemployment rate for retirees.
Flexible, seasonal work opportunities are easier to accept when you live in a home that can go where the jobs are. Even Amazon offers employment to transient travelers looking for a part-time gig. Simply hook your tiny home to a hitch and off you go.
Next: Who doesn’t want a mortgage-free retirement?
2. A mortgage-free retirement sounds pretty nice to those living on Social Security
Many retirees rely on Social Security as their main source of income even though the average benefit is only about $15,000 a year. Many seniors on a budget opt for tiny house dwelling to help make ends meet because it gives them a shot at a mortgage-free retirement. In fact, tiny homes can be built for around $23,000, allowing 68% of tiny house owners to have no mortgage at all. This is compared to just 29.3% of all homeowners nationwide.
Next: The biggest reason retirees choose to live in tiny homes is all about money
1. Money talks
The benefits of tiny house living are obvious. The flexibility to shape your own future and adapt your lifestyle is key. But seniors know that money talks loudest during retirement. Americans spend one-third to more than half of their income on housing expenses. Living in a tiny home is much cheaper than a traditional house because utility costs are lower.
These houses require fewer repairs and everyday maintenance, too. Those who flock to tiny homes are saving hundreds more each month and are cutting credit card debt faster than traditional homeowners, according to The Tiny Life. This lifestyle decreases financial burden during a time when penny-pinching is necessary and frees up more money for memorable experiences. Of course, this is something thousands of tiny homeowners already know and enjoy.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.
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