It has been called “the retirement crisis,” and much of our generation is now feeling it.
First, it was the economic recession we faced, which for some meant the loss of jobs, homes, fortunes. And now, at a time when our work lives are ending, we are unprepared.
We did not consider, when we reached 65 or so, there would neither be the gold watch nor the sizable pension guaranteeing us a healthy check each month for the rest of our lives. Although Social Security provides a way to supplement our savings (if we have any), it alone is usually not enough to support us.
Now, here we are, many of us sorely underprepared for what was once the retiring-into-leisure years. Our ability to continue to live in the manner to which we were once accustomed, is, at best, doubtful. The concept of “retirement” may be altogether a thing in the past. We may need to continue to work, but often at a much lower rate of pay, and in unsatisfying jobs.
There are two choices. We can figure out how to make more money, somehow, or we can spend less. Since housing may be our biggest budget item (unless we own our house and the mortgage has been paid in full), this is the area where a change might give us more security. We can move to a new location, a different part of the country perhaps, where housing costs may be considerably less. Or, we can move into shared housing with family, a friend or even a stranger who becomes a roommate. Or, we can radically downsize and get ourselves a tiny house, thereby living with just the bare essentials.
Have you heard of “the tiny house movement”? Two out of five owners of these small houses are over the age of 50, and if you are living on a fixed income, this might be the solution for some of our generation. As little as 200 square feet but averaging 500 square feet, the tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes and forms. If you do the research, you will see how well-designed they can be, with every square foot serving a purpose.
You have the choice of buying a prefabricated tiny house, or purchasing the plans and building your own. You can then place the tiny house on a piece of land you either own or rent, or you can opt to construct the tiny home on a trailer bed, which frees you up to travel anywhere with your home, similar to the life of a hermit crab.
Here is yet another possible option to consider. Tiny houses may be the solution to the high rate of marriages ending in divorce. If there were two separate dwellings, on the same land, situated as close or as far apart as you and your partner decide, there might be less contention in a marriage. When each partner can return to their own tiny house, “I need my own space” would no longer be a marital issue.