I found this funny and useful article on Marketwatch. Full article at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-boomers-wont-tell-you-2013-07-12 – good information for those wondering how your house fits into your retirement years. Or for those of you who will be responsible for selling your parents’ home.
Why am I as a Realtor highlighting this article? As a boomer myself it was partially funny and partially scary. But I am sharing because, for those of us, who will be woefully unprepared for retirement, our house is our greatest asset and so we need to consider how the equity will fill the gap in our retirement income.
1. Leaving Money to Our Kids is not a Priority.
2. Make Room Kids, We’re Moving in With You When we are Old.
This is the one that is relevant to Real Estate. Estimates are that most Baby Boomers have saved less than half what they will need for retirement. And that medical costs could run the average Boomer $300K in their retirement years – that’s what will not be covered by Medicaid. So it is super important to think about how your home figures into the equation. For most of us, it is the biggest asset we have.
Medicare provides healthcare coverage for citizens over 65 (mostly). It comes as a surprise to many retirees that Medicare does not does not cover nursing home costs. In order to qualify for Medicaid, the recipient must be poor, which means you have to spend down all of your assets on the nursing home costs before you would qualify for Medicaid.
In the Boston area, these costs can easily run $10,000 a month, so for most people, it would not take long to run through your life savings. At that point, Medicaid would take over. But your house is still considered an asset and the Estate Recovery Act dictates that upon the death of the Medicaid recipient, the house be sold and the assets used to pay back what is owed to Medicaid. So when you think you are leaving the house to the children, you are not. You are leaving them a headache. as they have to deal with Medicaid and sell the home to pay back the debt.
What are the ways out of this? One is to transfer the home to your heirs through a trust – at least 5 years before you believe you would be going into a nursing home. Of course, you had better trust those heirs to do right by you. But, then again, if you really will wind up living with them in retirement, it seems a fair trade.
The other option is to sell the house while you are relatively young, rent or buy a smaller home, invest the money and spend it to enjoy your retirement years. Then let Medicaid take over when those things run out. (Kids, see Things we Don’t Want You to Know #1).
You could buy Long Term Care insurance to cover nursing home costs. Nowadays, the policies only cover 3 years of nursing home costs. Don’t get me wrong – 3 years is helpful. They cover that length of time because it is the average nursing home stay. But should you have Alzheimer’s, you could spend a decade or more under nursing care. That will certainly wipe out all assets.
Of course, you should sit down with an estate attorney and a financial planner before you make any decisions to sell or transfer your home. What I am suggesting is that you do it sooner rather than later. Once you or your parents, (if you are doing the planning for them), need a nursing home, it is too late to plan. If you need recommendations, feel free to ask me.
3. …..and we Blame you for it (those damn college costs).
4. We can’t face reality (about what our health will be like in retirement).
This may play a big part in why we do not plan enough for medical costs. And given things we don’t want you to know # 6,7,8 we WILL have medical costs. And we will go a long stretch with those medical costs due to the wonders of medicine and pharmaceuticals that keeps up limping along with chronic conditions for many more years than our grandparents would have had.
5. Till death do us part doesn’t apply to us.
6. We’re Unhappy.
7. And we Eat our Feelings.
8. And we’re Addicts.
9. We will bury you in Debt.
10. We’re obsessed with Not Aging
I don’t mean to be depressing with this article. The moral is PLAN, PLAN, PLAN and your retirement years will be much happier – for you and your children!
Want to talk about selling your home? Feel free to contact me.Email Me CELL: 617 584-3904 www.MichelleLaneRealtor.com Follow me on Facebook