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Jun 29, 2021
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Housing is or should be a concern for everyone. Not just people currently living in sticks and bricks and not just those living on the street. And not just the affluent McMansion residents that hate the poor people trashing up the streets nearby and impacting home prices or wanting so much affordable housing that their own unaffordable (to many of us) home prices might drop somewhat. I recently read an article in The Atlantic about successful steps that Montana has taken that are already helping. But I think waiting for the government to act is a fool’s game. Some on this forum might ask, “helping what?” And I understand that sentiment.

Many of us are full-time nomads by choice. Or at least we claim to be. I DO like traveling! But as I approach 80 YO I begin to worry about what I will do when my traveling days are over. When My body just cannot take the strain such a life brings. Yes, I have a family I can fall back on. Not everyone is so lucky. And I hate to have to depend on that always being the case.

I think then I may discover I have a lot more in common with the homeless or those spending so much on housing that they are otherwise destitute. Whilst I can live semi-comfortably on my Social Security and modest savings in the RV life - if I mostly boondock and visit friends and family along the way. I know that will not be the case if I am forced to settle down and pay what passes for minimum rentals in most places I would not mind settling down.

This is why I have followed and commented on threads that strayed into discussions about homelessness and RV Park living. Or threads talking about semi-affordable land. I wonder if I am the only one on this forum looking for a better solution while I can still make some personal choices. Does anyone have any reasonably good ideas about where we could park our rigs or return to a S&B lifestyle at an affordable price when the time comes? And please don’t suggest Jackson MS again. I hope never to be that desperate!

I know many seem to like the desert SW, but I would prefer somewhere that is not about to go totally dry. And with rising temperatures, I would prefer not to be sitting in a mostly metal box in the desert sun. I have considered Mexico, but that seems to have its own set of issues. Are any other solutions out there I have not heard of yet? Or do I just hope I can last until Montana's housing solutions finally bear fruit?
Start looking for the nicest government subsidized senior housing. Across the midwest there are many really decent places for seniors to live if they are not too particular about the location. Eg. it might be faster to get into rural subsidized housing

Also, the Jewish community started providing senior housing for the public long ago. You don't have to be Jewish to live there. Maybe other groups/faiths have built housing, as well.

Edit: Rent in subsidized housing is usually 30% of your monthly income.
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Mexico also has a high minimum income requirement for a long-term visa. Most/all of those "retire abroad to a low-cost-of-living-country and live like a king for peanuts!" places have some pretty challenging/expensive startup hurdles. And the books and articles on that topic have about the same (or lower) helpfulness-to-BS ratio as the vanlife books and articles. So yeah probably not that direction, unless you're highly motivated.

The housing market is terrifying right now. I get the impression it is cooling a little but not much yet? It's just so unpredictable, you can't tell what will happen next. I don't think there are any quick answers -- you just have to do an s-ton of research to find out where there's overlap between [relatively cheap] and [would suit you personally]. If you're mobile right now, one benefit is that you could check some places out.

One place I was thinking about was Tulsa, OK. Relatively cheap, lots of outdoor activities, fair amount of culture-vulture stuff IIRC. I think NM is a great place to be old. It's not all desert, either. (But it's not all cheap, either.)

There are a number of websites that will help you compare cost-of-living between different cities. I think that, among the infamous lists, the "25 cheapest" type lists are probably a little more realistic than the "25 most unspoiled/cute" lists. (Of course, when I tried following that, Elon F*g Musk told the whole world to move to Brownsville and priced me out of the market:confused:.)

I know you don't want to hear about J**M** but the housing market being what it is you'll probably have to look somehow beyond the conventionally ideal places and think about what you can give up and what you can't do without. @bullfrog seems to be a good role model for that kind of tough thinking! You choose, rather than letting the world choose for you.

It's good that you're thinking about it in advance. Given how unpredictable things are, it's probably best to stay as agile and flexible as you can for as long as you can. And hey, use this time to scope out some places!
Unfortunately there is typically a waiting list to get into subsidized housing. Often there is such a shortage of space and funding and so many people are already on those waiting list that they shut it down and stop taking any applications to get on the list.

All I can say is do not solely rely on that as an option.

Do your very best to stay healthy. Keep active, eat right, quit smoking, do not drink too much alcohol, get dental and eye exams, etc. Have friends and hobbies too as good mental health is also a key factor for being healthy longer.
Unfortunately there is typically a waiting list to get into subsidized housing. Often there is such a shortage of space and funding and so many people are already on those waiting list that they shut it down and stop taking any applications to get on the list.
That is why I said you can't be too picky about where you live. There are many units only half full. Not near the coasts, I'm sure. But here in the midwest, yes.
It takes hours/days of research. Pick a state. Get contact info/web address for the HUD office for every county and start calling.
Different people have different situations and solutions. The problem of housing is just too complicated to give general answers. The sooner you start planning the better off you will be. Start looking into the resources that may be available to you. The fact I am a veteran who served during a war time/conflict time period has given me many benefits I didn’t realize I had until I asked and researched. Most times nobody is going to volunteer to inform you. If you are over your full benefit Social Security age and can find work you are physically able and smart enough to do that comes with housing or very cheap rent then work and save. If you have family as I do work with them to better their chances of buying property then work out a rent/lease agreement to where you can have a full hookup/ADU/tiny house/casita on the property you buy they will inherit when you go. I was surprised how much a good credit score, Social Security and seasonal working wage can get you not to mention the fact as an older person living simply I have very little debt. My family was thrilled to help pay for my property rather than rent. In my case the property is zoned GR1 so I will be able to develop a few of full hookup sites for myself and a few friends of 20 or more years to live on in exchange for working part time ( a few hours three days a week ) with me in a start up business maintaining hot tubs and eventually training and supervising younger employees. Eventually a family member may take the business over. We are all getting to old for physical work, really much work at all! Lol!!! One is 77 years old living on Social Security, currently working summers (free housing) with me and camp ground host in the winter (comes with full hookup site) and the other a disabled 70 year old living on Social Security spending summers in his motorhome, close to family but too cold in winter to stay possibly coming to stay on my property in winter and work. It is nice to have developed a small circle of nomadic friends over the years we look forward to working with. When we are no longer able to maintain ourselves we will be able to get by using our VA benefits and my family. When we pass my family can rent the spaces for more than the mortgage payment and save for their retirement. We will continue to camp locally and use Caballo Loco as a family get away while we still physically can.
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If you're close to 80 it may be better to consider an assisted living community (even if you don't require assistance......yet) you will have an all one floor apartment with perhaps a deck/garden. These places generally have nursing homes close by in the complex. (there may be a time when a person wants to be in such a facility......even though most of us resist the notion with every fiber of our bodies) But one "stroke" or "blood clot", or "heart attack" could disable us and remove our independence. If in our small home at that point, the yard may still have to be mowed, and other home maintenance have to be performed that we thought we would be capable of doing ourselves.

Getting a rig after retirement can be a great move but there are only going to be so many years of enjoying that. It may be hard to give it up, but if you couldn't pass a drivers exam due to deafness, failing sight, or dementia....the best you could hope to do is read the "Captain's Log" here and view some photos.

From what I read here, it seems some are liquidating their estates in their late 60's to early 70's and getting into a rig to spend the rest of their time "Nomading" in. (or traveling in a caravan with others) And I think that may be better than buying another smaller home. Yet at the end of the line, we'll all have to have a domicile of some kind for our last days.

Inexpensive 3D printed homes may be the solution for one's last days. The land they sit on may be leased, and afterwards such structures could be easily removed. In Ohio the Amish build what are known as Grandparents homes on the farmstead so when the parents retire from the farm they move into these cottages and the oldest son takes the home and is charged with running the farm and looking after younger siblings. Now people are building these on their property for their kinfolks or having those pre-fabed barn buildings delivered and fixing them up for an elder to reside in while they are viable enough to live in it.
Thanks for all the thoughtful replies.

The Senior Housing that I've checked so far has a 1 to 2 year waiting list. That is do-able if I plan ahead. Assisted living (shudder) may someday be in my stars, but so far I am a healthy and active (knock on wood) senior. It's just that I know better than to live in de-Nile (and not the one in Egypt) for too long. I liquidated and went nomading a few years back and am glad I did. Now I am seeing another change on the horizon and want to start planning ahead. I might also point out that father time will come for all of us sooner or later and the current housing market is downright frightening.

In the meantime, if anyone has any specific ideas or information, please continue to share them. I would love to hear something like Podunk Iowa just made unlimited RV parking in the town park free or that Detroit MI is leveling abandoned buildings and/or neighborhoods and giving the lots to Senior Rvers for pennies on the dollar. You know, fantasies like that. I am pretty open-minded on location, but would prefer to avoid deserts and previous slave states.
One of the concerns that caused us to choose the southwest was most RVs water systems are not built to withstand colder weather. Most older people with mobility issues need to stay warm to stay mobile. Falls are a serious problem as we age. Icy sidewalks and steps can put you in a wheel chair. As we type we are thinking of adapting our RV for wheel chair access as well, ever try getting through snow in a wheel chair?. If you have ever been through a winter in extreme cold in an RV I believe you wouldn’t rule out southern warmer climates. Just saying!
I agree with Carla on looking into federally subsidized housing for seniors.

If, between SS and your savings, you meet maximum income requirements, as you must start there, first.

You likely need to establish residency, perhaps with a family member, to get on a wait list, but if you meet income requirements this is the most affordable option other than living with friends or family.

I have a disabled relative who lives in this kind of housing, in a small town, and while she doesn’t love it, it is affordable, well maintained, etc., which is huge.

All on one floor, laundry in the building, it works.

One of the realities of life is that change often comes very quickly, and if you will soon be 80 getting a Plan B in place seems wise, to me.

Nice to think we have time to plan, but a stroke or serious illness can come tomorrow, is the truth, and then much of our decision making is suddenly out of our own hands, and may place a huge burden on family members.

Good luck.
Always have a Plan B, have a medical power of attorney with someone you trust, and always plan for and work towards the next stage in your life. As Wandering Rose said: " ..... a stroke or serious illness can come tomorrow, is the truth, and then much of our decision making is suddenly out of our own hands ....."; the timing is usually not ideal.

The progression for most geezers I know is:
Empty nester to retirement - stay in family home, pay off all debt, döständing (death cleaning).​
Retirement - sell home and buy a cabin/condo 'up north' and either an RV or a condo 'down south'.​
Getting old (usually about 75) - sell cabin, get condo or senior apartment near family, maybe sell RV/condo 'down south'.​
Disabling health event (stroke, disabling fall, et.al.): sell remaining assets and move into assisted living or nursing home.​
Always have a Plan B, have a medical power of attorney with someone you trust, and always plan for and work towards the next stage in your life.
I finally made a living will and medical power of attorney (think they are the same). I needed a template for a real estate sale contract so I paid $5.00 to subscribe to Rocket Lawyer. For $5.00 (for 7 days) I'm doing my will, a living will and a real estate contract.

Gotta cancel before the 7th day or they charge $40.00 per month.
I think living will and medical POA are the same, not sure. One problem with travel is that the laws about medical power of attorney are not the same in each state. They should honor another state residents POA, but again not sure.

Make sure your designated medical advocate is first on your ICE (in case of emergency) list on your phone and anywhere else you list emergency contacts. In my case my legal and medical advocate is the same person.
I have what are called “springing” POA’s, for medical and financial, which go into effect when my doctor determines I can no longer make my own decisions.

I downloaded them off my state’s website, had them signed and notarized, and that was that.

There is a pretty high threshold for that determination, however, with many people deteriorating beyond the point of keeping bills paid, taking medications and managing other tasks of daily living.

A year or two ago I added both my adult kids as co-users on my bank accounts, so that they can step in, pay bills, etc., if necessary but before the POA goes into effect.

My husband died very suddenly, and we had done NOTHING to plan for either of our demise, so this is a cautionary tale.

I want transitions to be as seamless as possible, for when the time comes.
If you become infirm and the court becomes involved they will likely want someone whose looking after you to have a "Durable Power of Attorney" and revoke any "living will". The difference is the Doctors are your POA with the Living Will and some will bleed an infirm person's resources dry with every lame excuse for testing and lab work etc they can charge for. The joke among them so often is..."yeah, that's my new Jaguar on our private parking lot".

Take a loved one into an ER and mention that you have a DPA and not a Living Will and watch the Doctors make ugly faces and act like jerks. Cause they know the Court could scrutinize anything they do. (and they don't want anything causing their insurance(s) to rise) With the LW "they" are in charge.

I had one say to me....."I'm just the Doctor then.....what am I supposed to do".......what do you want, a Doctor in this or a Lawyer ?
I told him....."If you're a real Doctor you should know what to do".
(the big gold Mercedes with the V 12 Maybach on the private parking lot was his work car)

Generally the person with the DPA will also be a Court appointed Guardian.
A number of years ago I owned a medical supply store. We delivered oxygen tanks and other medical devices to people with respiratory problems. Nearby was a well known senior co-op RV park. I quickly saw that Rvs are not designed for people with ambulatory or many other medical problems. It was hard enough exchanging the oxygen tanks for reasonably fit people. I don't think it's a good idea to continue living in an RV that long. Even right now I am selling my trailer and building out a van for my next chapter. That will hopefully make my short term concerns easier. Simplify - simplify. But I can't help myself, I like to plan ahead.

I think all the advice about POAs and the like are a good idea. Heck, I filled out a durable POA years ago. I DO NOT want to be kept alive in a vegetative state for no good reason other than emptying out all my medical funds as eDJ described. Between my medical biz and my wife being a hospice nurse, I saw far too much of that.

Anyway... thanks for the replies.
I should say "if" the Court becomes involved. There are some circumstances where this can happen in the event of unscrupulous family members/neighbors who want things or are willing to steal them. In some cases they want to take an infirm (and the definition of infirm can vary) person and put them in a nursing home and then abscond with their wealth etc.

To be old and single and others knowing you don't have family, friends, or someone appointed to be your executive in case of emergency can be an open invite for a disaster.

This is when the Court may become involved with a contested person having a POA (and there are many types of POA) and a law suit ensues.