Whereas previous generations relied on pensions to retire or simply planned to work until they died, pensions are much less common now than they used to be, and an entire life spent toiling away with little to show for it doesn’t appeal to anyone.
Thankfully, there are options for today’s future retirees. More people are turning to real estate to make a comfortable retirement, or even early retirement, a realistic possibility. Owning properties can be the difference between a meager existence in your golden years or having enough gold to enjoy many work-free years without worrying about finances.
Let’s examine why and how to make real estate part of your retirement plan.
Once you understand how real estate can fund, stabilize, and enhance your retirement, you’ll know why it is becoming the cornerstone of many people’s retirement plans.
Inflation can be a retirement killer. You may think you’ve saved enough to cover expenses for the next 30+ years, but if those expenses increase more quickly than expected, you may be in trouble. Someone still working can at least hope to see their wages rise to offset some of those rising prices. But a retiree doesn’t have that luxury. So including inflation hedges is a necessary part of any retirement plan. Fortunately, investment real estate offers just that in two ways.
1. Increasing Rental Cash flow
Inflation means prices are going up on everything. Rent is part of “everything,” meaning the rents collected by a property owner go up, too. During inflationary times, the increase you are likely to see in your rent rates serves the same function as a pay raise from an employer. You see more money in your account each month, which allows you to keep up with rising prices or even get ahead.
Owning rentals means you are not only a consumer but also a provider, selling a necessary commodity–shelter. Because you are bringing in money and spending money, inflationary increases on both sides of the equation can help cancel each other out. More money out, but also more money in. That can take much of the sting out of paying more for your groceries and gadgets.
Over time, your property’s value increases. During times of higher inflation, it may increase as much or even more than the overall inflation rates. In a way, your investment properties serve as savings accounts. If you need more cash, you can tap into their value with a home equity loan or cash out by selling the property. As with rents, inflation can help increase the value of your property, which means your net worth grows more quickly.
As a retiree, you need to control costs where you can. Keeping your tax burden low means more money to spend traveling, enjoying family, cultivating hobbies, and doing other things you didn’t have time to do while you were employed. Owning real estate offers multiple tax advantages, meaning more of your money stays with you and less goes to the IRS.
By now, you are probably convinced that making real estate a part of your retirement plan makes sense. Now let’s tackle the various ways to do that.
Owning Your Own Home
Shelter is a basic human need. If you own your retirement home, you can feel confident knowing your bed’s location is secure. We discussed rents increasing over time and how that can be an excellent thing for a real estate investor. Owning your home means you aren’t subject to the stress of dramatically increasing rents. It also makes budgeting easier because you know you don’t need to prepare for the possibility of massive rental increases.
Ownership also means you don’t have to worry about your landlord selling the house, forcing you to move from a home you love. When you purchase your home, you are purchasing stability.
If you are a renter, you are on the other side of that math. That means you are going to see your expenses for shelter rise. This cost increase can create problems for retirees. It’s no wonder most retirees aim to spend their post-employment years in a home they own.
Owning Residential Investment Properties
Retirement can be unnerving. Suddenly you go from adding to your retirement account to spending them. Owning properties that bring in rent can smooth that transition and offer peace of mind. The less you need to withdraw from your retirement accounts, the longer they will last. Residential investment properties allow you to have money coming in long after your employment paychecks end.
If you need assistance finding the properties most likely to have the best returns, consider working with a residential real estate investment company. With their help, you can find and hold properties that will bring in the most rent, maximizing your inflation hedge and your cash flow in your golden years, so you can spend your time enjoying life-after-work, rather than worrying about money.
You can self-manage your properties, or for a small fee, a property manager can do most of the work for you, leaving you with more time to enjoy that sweet retirement life.
If you don’t want to own investment properties but still want some of the benefits of owning real estate, you may consider real estate investment trusts, commonly known as REITs. With REITs, you buy shares of companies that own income-generating real estate. That could be single-family homes, retail spaces, office buildings, warehouses, or any other type of real estate.
REITs are convenient because they are hands-off investments, much like owning stocks and mutual funds. They are also highly liquid. It is easy to sell them quickly if you need access to your money.
However, they do come with some potential tax implications. Research those before you purchase. Because you own a share of someone else’s real estate portfolio, you also have no control over decisions like what property to buy, what improvements to make, or how much rent to charge.
Some retirees choose to purchase vacation properties. They can use them part-time and rent them for income for the rest of the year. It can generate income while also providing you with an asset you can enjoy.
However, vacation properties may have lower returns than residential rentals. Run the numbers before making your purchase. You may be better off paying to rent someone else’s vacation home for a few weeks each year and using your investment funds for a property with a better return on your investment.
No matter how old you are or how many years you have until you can quit your job, investing in real estate can be part of your retirement strategy. The sooner you purchase property, the sooner it can start working to make your retirement dreams come true. A strategy that prioritizes owning residential rental properties may be the most effective in quickly getting you to retirement and keeping you secure and comfortable once you are there. That’s a golden opportunity you don’t want to miss.