How do you plan for the next decade or two of your life when you are 72? I want to make the best use of my time, energy, health, and money with the awareness that all of those things will decline. The two people in my life whose advice I value the most, my sons, are in the uncomfortable position of advising me on future plans while not wanting to think of my death.
Today I tentatively raised that question with one of my sons as we were out for a walk. I was recounting my mixture of pondering and dismay at the number of people my age who are in the news lately because they have died. “So-and-so, aged 73, passed away from natural causes.” “Whatsisname, 71, died recently after a long illness.” You get the idea. I am in that age range where my cohort’s lives are ending. My son thought I was overreacting.
I am trying to decide if I should rent or buy a home if and when I move to Vancouver Island. When I view it as a purely financial consideration, the relative basic costs over twenty years are about even. Buying would involve, in addition, maintenance costs and aggravation but would also provide a dollar value when sold. I would like to leave some money for my children, but that is not a priority. They are doing well and any inheritance would be a plus, not a necessity. If anything, I would prefer to give them financial gifts while they are younger rather than waiting until I am gone.
These thoughts were prompted, in part, by an article I read in the Guardian that discussed the downsides of buying retirement properties. In England, apparently, these properties are a big headache for the people who inherit them. I don’t know if that is true in Canada, but it gave me pause. I had been thinking of living in a community of people of retirement age so that I could join in their social activities. Now I’m not so sure.
Many people simply want to live out the end of their lives in their family home and/or a familiar neighbourhood, but that is not true of me. I am actually looking forward to moving. I have already downsized and re-cycled or discarded a lot a memorabilia. I’m ready for the next stage and the next place. The only uncertainty I have is whether to rent or buy. I could rent with a view to reevaluating at a later date, but the thought of moving multiple times is daunting.
So, what do you think? What would you advise a single senior woman do to maximize her use of finite funds and energy?