A recent article listed Arizona as the #1 housing market in the nation. As a state and as a country, we’ve been on roller coaster over the past decade. The article got me thinking about how retirees and pre-retirees are handling the real estate market.
The answer is: not well.
A recent report spotlights the mortgage debt challenges faced by a growing number of older Americans:
- Exponentially more seniors have mortgages.
- Median mortgage debt for seniors increased by 82% from 2001 to 2011.
- Available housing is less affordable.
- Senior delinquency and foreclosure rates increased fivexs after financial crisis.
And then I remembered hearing about how Americans used to have parties after making their final mortgage payment to the bank. Wikipedia says these parties are now a forgotten practice and highlights the reasons behind the disappearance of them. Interestingly, the article cautions against holding these parties because doing so would be tacky. It’s troubling to think that such a party would be in poor taste and that having one today would be considered bragging.
I think the opposite. I think paying off your home mortgage is absolutely a cause for celebration.
Dave Ramsey has the same idea and invites people onto his show to do their “Debt Free Scream.” The basic idea is celebrating people’s journey of getting out of debt. It’s been an important part of his show for a long time and there’s even a waiting list. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty fantastic.
So what’s your plan?
You and I don’t have time to worry about what the media, government, financial institutions, or your friends and neighbors have to say about the housing market or how to manage your home mortgage. In order to ensure you’re in a good financial position at retirement age, the time to act is now.