Does it Matter if I Own My Home When I Retire?

Owning your own home was a fundamental American value for many of us when we grew up. It was considered a symbol of success, of having “made it.” Those who did not felt they had missed out on something, that not owning helped prove their marginal financial success. For instance, Joslyn remembers her father freely expressing his frustration about not owning their family home. Because he was a minister, the tradition was for the congregation to pay a very low salary and then to provide a parsonage in which the minister and his family could live. As her father complained, that tradition might help keep congregation expenses lower, but it did nothing for the clergy who could not afford a mortgage and therefore did not build equity in property during their working years.

Fast forward to today and our increasing longevity. In addition to the obvious benefit of home ownership which is that you avoid monthly rent payments, Joslyn suggests two other benefits of owning your home when you retire.

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