It might seem counterintuitive, but if you are pointing toward a home on a golf course when you retire, there may be good reasons not to wait until then. So says Chicago Tribune columnist Jane Kidd Stewart in a syndicated article I read today in the Hartford (CT) Courant.
On the face of it, such advice might seem rash, but Ms. Stewart does have a point - actually a few of them - however, her approach will only make sense for those who are on track with their retirement savings. First, by purchasing now, she writes, you get the costly stuff out of the way while you are still earning a regular paycheck, which is better than drawing down retirement assets you will need for a few decades. Second, making the investment now might compel you to defer retirement for a few years more, shortening the length of your retirement and preserving your retirement assets longer. Of course, this only works if you don't hate your job.
Finally, Ms. Stewart writes, a big dream purchase now - whether it is for a home or a trip around the world or whatever - has psychological benefits. You find out before retirement if the lifestyle you've dreamed about is really, truly the one you want. Many couples retire cold turkey to a community only to find the lifestyle there is not for them. That is no way to start life's next journey; better to kick the tires before you make the full-time commitment (and you can rent the place out to help pay the mortgage). Plus, you don't delay the gratification that might otherwise cause you to retire prematurely. (We baby boomers want what we want when we want it, which doesn't always make good sense.)
One other reason for considering buying your dream home now, which we harp about in this space often: Prices in golf course communities generally are increasing faster than homes in many markets in the northern U.S.
You can find Jane Kidd Stewart's column at the Chicago Tribune web site (Note: This is a link to the article itself. If the site asks you to login or register, just go to the main site at chicagotribune.com , do a search on "Jane Kidd Stewart" and you will find it).
COMING TOMORROW: A REVIEW OF THE LANDINGS IN SAVANNAH, GA.