The mortgage and real estate industries spend a lot of time and attention focusing on first-time homebuyers and Millennials, but let's not forget that we spend roughly one-third of our lives in retirement! While many retired Americans own their own homes and live comfortably on a 401(k) or pension, others face challenges that may stretch their finances beyond imagination. There are many ways that your housing can help or even SAVE your retirement. Here's are some common ways your home can help:Pay it off! First the obvious – paying off your mortgage before retirement is a no-brainer for many. In addition to eliminating that monthly obligation (at a time when your monthly income may be reduced), having less debt can give you more borrowing power thanks to a reduced debt-to-income ratio (DTI).
“Right-size” your living arrangements. Heading towards retirement generally means your “nest” is empty, or close to empty. Instead of keeping empty, unused rooms, you can sell your larger home and downsize into a smaller, more manageable one – and perhaps add some cash to your savings.
Buy a home with a reverse mortgage. Using a reverse mortgage allows you to borrow against the equity in your primary residence with no monthly payments. However, there is a lot to consider with a reverse mortgage, so make sure you do your homework first.
Look beyond the horizon. Looking outside the U.S. for your housing options during retirement can save you big – if you’re willing to live a different lifestyle in a different culture. Talk about a “bucket list” item.
Does it take “a village”? Although you might not immediately like the idea of living in close quarters with family, it can be a great way to split expenses and reduce your monthly obligations.
“Right-sizing” not enough? Go tiny! If you’re willing to get extreme when it comes to reducing expenses, take a look at the options for “tiny” living, i.e. living in a home less than 400-500 sq. ft. The benefits go beyond just significantly reduced monthly bills. Want mobility? More open space? All of that is possible if you can downsize your life.
Take advantage of the “gig” economy. If you don’t want to sell your home, but want to have it start working for you instead, check out sites like Airbnb or VRBO that can connect you with travelers looking for more than just a standard hotel room.
Want to read more? Check out Forbes' How Your Housing Choices Can Save Your Retirement to read the original article.