In these days of ever-rising housing costs and diminishing returns for the dollar, we mid-life retirees on fixed incomes need to be more alert than ever for ways to reduce outlay for rent, mortgage payments, food and utilities.
A few years ago, after owning several homes, occasionally renting an apartment, managing an apartment building, living in a retirement complex, and spending a year house-sitting, I moved from a small single apartment into the "spare upstairs room" of my friend of more than 25 years.
This arrangement was designed to be economical for both of us, offer companionship and support. We were both retired from the workplace but were still active with hobbies and friends. We agreed to test whether such an arrangement would strain or enhance our long and loving friendship.
More experienced than she in moving from place to place, I eyed this arrangement with both optimism and caution. I had encountered a number of shared housing arrangements. Not all turned out completely satisfactory.
Take Betty and Gladys, for instance. They had been friends for fifteen years, belonged to the same book club and church. When Gladys' husband died, she first moved into an apartment in a retirement home where she ate her meals with all the residents. She missed having her own kitchen. Betty lived alone in a lovely three-bedroom home. When she offered to rent Gladys a room and kitchen privileges, Gladys quickly took her up on the offer. Kind and generous as Betty was, Gladys somehow felt it necessary to ask each time to use the laundry and the kitchen. She worried that she was using too much space in the fridge. They shared Betty's TV but discovered they did not like the same programs nor want to watch at the same time. After six months, Gladys moved back to the retirement home.
George was retired and lived in a small rural apartment with his little dog, his only companion. His employed, single daughter, Marian, also a dog-lover and concerned for his welfare, invited him to move in with her. Although Dad at a distance was proud of Marian and her accomplishments, living with her proved to be different. Her hours and companions were not to George's liking and his little Jack Russell terrier was jealous of any attention paid to Marian's two standard poodles. The shared housing lasted less than a year.
Here are important considerations:
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