Listing Courtesy of Patterson Schwartz Real Estate
Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran an article about personal finances that Fenwick Island mortgage payers who are at or near retirement age should find thought-provoking. It centered on the idea that today’s retirees are often making a decision that differs from what past generations have chosen.
The basis is twofold. First, it’s undeniable that the 60- or 65-year-olds of today rightly expect a future that’s likely to stretch one or more decades longer than was the case for their grandparents. Improved health care and health awareness have combined to extend life expectancies considerably. The WSJ didn’t mention it, but some quick research reveals that while a baby boomer’s parents (assuming they were born in the 1920s) had a longevity expectation at birth of only about 55 years, the CDC says that today’s average 65-year-old male can expect to live another 18 years—with ladies even out-surviving them by another 2½ years.
Such a radical advance combines with a second development—today’s low mortgage interest rates—to create a shift in thinking by many as they hit retirement age. Experts believe that previous generations tended to feel “they were in the last inning” of life, and thus needed to pick a safe path regarding their residences. Paying off their home’s mortgage was given very high priority—one that was almost universally unquestioned. Home ownership unencumbered by a mortgage was taken to be a sound part of a worry-free old age.
But today’s Fenwick Island retirees are significantly less defensive in their thinking. According to The Journal, “Maybe their parents paid off the house before retiring, but many baby boomers say it makes more sense to carry a mortgage.” Instead of surrendering their cash or investments, the 21st Century trend is for mature Americans to take advantage of today’s low interest rates. The long time run-up in the stock market has also made the choice that much more appealing.
Fenwick Island seniors may also be departing from the way previous generations behaved. A Merrill Lynch/Age Wave study in August found that 30% of relocating retirees were moving to larger homes! And let’s face it: the whole notion of retiring is undergoing a transformation as more and more of the 60+ set realize they don’t want (or can’t afford) to quit working altogether. With so many good years before them, many are embarking on new careers—often elatedly following pursuits they’d “never had time for.”
With mortgage rates in Fenwick Island continuing to roost down in the bargain basement, today’s seniors aren’t alone in recognizing that this summer represents a rare home buying opportunity. If you are coming to the same conclusion, I hope you will give me a call to chat about today’s many Fenwick Island offerings! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at email@example.com, visit more listings at www.beachrealestate.com.
For Sussex County renters who are beginning to investigate the possibility of buying a first house, the prospect can look like more than just a steep hill to climb—it can look more like a cliff! Just last month, the Daily Real Estate News cited recent research that indicates in most places (512 counties surveyed, in fact) it can take the average family more than twelve years to save up for a 20% down payment. When you consider the significant financial advantage that a first house brings its Sussex County owner, the situation seems like a Catch-22. How can you save any faster when that big tax advantage goes only to the existing homeowners?
If a decade-plus wait sounds unreasonable, there’s a lot you can do to trim the delay—
1) (Obvious) Cut excess spending
If you take notes for a month or so about how you really spend your money, you find that the little things really add up: morning coffee, daily lunches, planned and unplanned shopping expeditions all put serious dents in your wallet. Spot the expenditures, you can cut back on, then reduce or eliminate them as soon as possible.
2) (Less Obvious) Create a ‘First House’ account
Create a separate savings account with the single purpose of holding your first house down payment. Watching it grow month by month will more than make up for the inconveniences caused by scrimping on daily and other spending.
3) (Way Less Obvious) Pick up extra work
You may never have considered it, but sometimes moonlighting is a great way to add additional income that quickly build your First House account. If you have a hobby that lends itself to web sales, think of starting a store on sites like Etsy or Amazon.
4) Reduce your current bills
There are those bills that you can't quite get rid of -- cell phone, credit cards and other bills don't just go away because you're saving for a new Sussex County house. For some bills, though, there are options for slimming down your monthly payments. Try negotiating a lower APR or reducing your phone or cable plan.
5) Make (and stick to) a budget
Those notes you made up there on 1) can be the raw material for making a detailed budget that separates necessary expenditures from extras like gifts, trips and special nights out. Find creative ways to entertain yourself and get together with your friends. Hosting movie nights, finding free concerts, and moving cocktail hour to home are all surprisingly doable.
It may seem counterintuitive: why would you decrease the size of your current digs? If you can temporarily scale back, the lowered rent can materially boost your savings. If it’s at all practical, living with relatives might move the process along even more quickly!
The kind of scaling back that builds for a local first house down payment is a lot more fun if you can see quick progress. And the possibility of qualifying for a smaller than 20% down payment is also currently increasing. Give me a call for a realistic discussion of your own Sussex County first house purchase!