🏡 The Hidden Costs of Your Dream Retirement House
Here’s another tale from the retirement belt, and it’s about that dream retirement house.
My friend Dan did well for himself. He ran a small business that he sold for a small fortune. He was – and still is – a sharp guy with a no-nonsense way about him.
When it was time to shift gears and move south for retirement, he wanted a home that would tell the world who he was. And he got it.
Five bedrooms, four bathrooms, oceanfront, a huge manicured lawn, landscaping, a four-car garage, a pool… You know the story, I’m sure.
But guess what? After a couple of years, the cost of that huge lawn and landscaping is through the roof. He’s got the money to pay for it, but he’s still a poor kid in his head. It bothers him to see all the cash going out every month in leaves and grass clippings.
The utility bills are very big. Air conditioning 12 rooms, heating the pool in the winter and cooling it in the summer cost big bucks.
Taxes are through the roof for the kind of place he has. More bathrooms mean more bathrooms to scrub.
Everything made of metal rusts in a matter of months when you are oceanfront, especially cars.
Big houses mean bigger costs and bigger repair bills when things go wrong. How’s $75,000 for a roof?
Dan’s just now realizing one of the biggest problems of having a home on the beach with a lot of bedrooms: visitors from up north.
I had a big home on the water back in the 1980s, and believe me, I had more winter friends than I knew what to do with.
From November through April – the snow and ice months back home in Pennsylvania – we needed a laundry service to keep up with the sheets and towels… and a revolving front door. It was ridiculous.
This time around it’s a two-master-bedroom-suite home two blocks back from the beach, and our answer is always the same: “We just aren’t set up for guests, but there’s a great hotel a few blocks from our place.”
Dan is five years into the “friends from up north visiting” thing, and in addition to feeling used for a hotel, he misses the simplicity and lower costs of his smaller home.
This is a story that plays out every day down here. Those grandkids who you hoped would visit all the time grow up pretty fast, and then the big house and the five bedrooms are empty except for your winter visitors.
There’s a lot to be said for thinking small and efficient as we age – and we haven’t even talked about the steps in these big places. You don’t want steps in retirement.
That’s it for this week.