Unlike general retirement guides, this book focuses on decisions related to housing.
Recognizing that one’s living situation is a crucial retirement issue, financial planner Tzougros (Long Term Care Insurance, 2016, etc.) raises key housing-related questions and offers factual answers without overlooking the emotional decisions related to staying put or relocating. Obviously, housing is a complex problem, and where to live in retirement is a very personal choice, so this manual neither simplifies nor minimizes the various aspects of this matter. It covers the financial side of determining if a house is a retirement asset, provides ways to assess one’s current residence as a place to grow older, surveys numerous options (with an especially helpful comparison chart), and ponders the physical, emotional, and monetary implications of moving. Part of the strength of the book is its heavy reliance on numerous stories of retirees facing and making different decisions about housing based on their own unique circumstances. In a nice touch of personalization, for example, one chapter chronicles an evening party in which retirees chat about housing; recipes for food served at the soirée are even included in an appendix. These vignettes, often told from the perspective of each retiree, make it clear to readers that there is no single solution to what can become an emotional, if not financial, dilemma. Perhaps most helpful is the manual’s “Decision Guide” that effectively summarizes the content and facilitates objective verdicts about housing. Tzougros cleverly structures the volume in two versions. One, a narrative version, encourages written answers to specific questions; the other, a chart, distills the account into suggested answers and allows readers to simply circle the right ones to make a “Stay” versus “Move” decision. Throughout the authoritative book, and in the appendices, the author includes questionnaires and additional charts to be completed with various information, such as costs associated with the current residence versus potential new housing. Some of the charts in particular may seem intimidating, but they should prove valuable in making a more lucid decision about retirement housing.
A well-executed, clear, and highly informative retirement manual, if a bit overwhelming at times.