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Pluses and Minuses

Richard Quinn  |  Jul 5, 2024

IS A 55-PLUS community for you? Do you want to spend your later years surrounded by folks just like yourself—mostly crotchety, demanding old people?
I’m joking, of course. But am I exaggerating?

My wife Connie and I made the move from our New Jersey single-family home to a nearby 55-plus community six years ago. Like the idea of a 55-plus community? Here are some factors to consider.

First, a 55-plus community requires defining. There are several types and sizes,

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On the Move

Richard Hayman  |  Jul 2, 2024

MY WIFE AND I HAD intended to live in our single-family home for the rest of our lives. We remodeled several times so we could age in place, and we were confident we were all set for the future.
We knew life could change in an instant. We just didn’t think it would happen to us. My wife fell at home four years ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury. After six months in hospitals and rehab,

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Brooklyn Bungle

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jun 27, 2024

“IS THAT INDIA or something? Where was that picture taken, Richie?”
“You’ll never guess, Stevie. Remember 266 Washington Avenue?”
“That brown brick, 114-unit apartment building in Brooklyn that Grandpa bought 75 years ago? Mommy said he saved for the down payment with money from the kosher butcher shop he opened after he got here from Poland. But didn’t we sell it in the 1970s? It looks like the Taj Mahal now.”
“Yeah, it’s obviously been spectacularly upgraded over the years.”
“How did you get the picture?”
“Robin and I were in New York last month and went to see it.

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Didn’t Make the List

Ken Begley  |  May 2, 2024

I’M A SUCKER FOR those “10 best” lists. But are they accurate?
What if you had the best job in a poorly rated company? Would that be better than the worst job in a well-rated company? What if you move to a bad neighborhood in a well-rated city? Would that be better than an excellent neighborhood in a poorly rated community?
You get my point. Even among the worst, you can find some real gems.

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A New Kind of Heaven

Catherine Horiuchi  |  May 1, 2024

I’M TYPICALLY FRUGAL and financially cautious. But this past January, I became reckless. No, it wasn’t love, at least not the ordinary kind. Rather, I saw a photograph and made an offer of $48,000 on a “park unit” located 1,000 miles from home.
Park unit, I learned, is a technical term for a variant of what I’d call a mobile home. My first task was to look up the term, so I’d know what I was offering to buy.

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Gift to Myself

Kathy Wilhelm  |  Apr 12, 2024

LATE LAST OCTOBER, I was one of the first to move into the new building at my chosen continuing care retirement community, or CCRC. Now, more than five months later, I’m more confident than ever that I made a good decision.
I’m in my mid-70s, single and childless, with relatives 3,000 miles distant in both directions. Both bathrooms at my old home were up 15 stairs. Aging in place was not a good option.

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Aging With Others

Sundar Mohan Rao  |  Apr 10, 2024

IF SOMEONE TOLD ME 10 years ago that I’d end up living in a 55-plus community, I would have laughed. Our plan was to stay in the home we loved and age in place.
What happened? Our initial move to a 55-plus community was driven solely by convenience. My company transferred me to Atlanta in 2021. We wanted to downsize to an apartment, but finding one close to work was challenging. Our son pointed out that there was a 55-plus apartment community close to my workplace.

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Getting in Line

Howard Rohleder  |  Mar 29, 2024

WE RECENTLY MADE a down payment on our next home. After several months of research, we joined the waiting list for a continuing care retirement community, or CCRC.
We’re in our late 60s and only relocated to our current home four years ago. It’s in a metropolitan area two hours’ drive from our daughter and her young family. We know that perhaps 10 years or so from now, we’ll want to be closer to her,

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They Pitched We Swung

Jeff Bond  |  Mar 18, 2024

WHEN I FIRST CAME across HumbleDollar, I just lurked on the website, convinced that everyone knew more about investing and personal finance than me. After a while, I started making occasional comments.
Finally, I’m ready to share some of my financial stories. My first topic relates to my misadventures with real estate limited partnerships. Note that all references here are to my then-wife, not my current wife.
I was in my first job as an engineer.

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What I’d Keep

Ken Cutler  |  Feb 15, 2024

IT WOULD BE GREAT if my wife and I could stay indefinitely in the two-story colonial-style home where we raised our two children.
Right now, in our early 60s, taking care of the place doesn’t seem like a huge burden. The lawn is only a third of an acre and mowing it helps me stay in shape. Before I retired, we updated the kitchen and had a new roof installed. In the near term,

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Cooking Up a Kitchen

Andrew Forsythe  |  Feb 6, 2024

I’VE WRITTEN BEFORE about the financial benefits of learning to cook and then preparing meals at home, rather than frequently eating out. I still heartily endorse that notion. Still, our recent decision to remodel our kitchen can’t be defended as a wise financial choice.
In fact, the consensus is that almost all remodeling jobs result in an increase in home value that’s less than the remodeling project’s cost, and that includes kitchen renovations. Instead,

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Our Money Pit

Jonathan Clements  |  Jan 20, 2024

CALCULATING THE RETURN from homeownership typically involves some mix of delusion and dubious math—and that’s never truer than when it comes to remodeling projects. On the numbers alone, it’s all but impossible to justify a major renovation. Trust me, I’ve tried.
We just finished a project that proved so expensive that, if I revealed the cost, my reputation for frugality would be in tatters. The cost was comfortably—or perhaps uncomfortably—into six figures. What if we sold our Philadelphia townhome tomorrow?

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Getting Real

Steve Abramowitz  |  Jan 18, 2024

WHEN I STARTED OUT as a mom-and-pop property owner 40 years ago, I was burdened by both my naivete and the shibboleths promoted by the real estate industry.
In particular, I had to overcome two egregious misconceptions: that a well-written lease is the key to successful small-property investing and that aggressively raising rents is the surest way to maximize profits. Adopting an alternative management philosophy has saved me both money and heartache.
Character counts.

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Making Our Move

Richard Connor  |  Jan 16, 2024

VICKY AND I ALWAYS knew our retirement home would need to be near our two sons and their families, so we could be part of our grandchildren’s lives. It’s taken a few years and a pandemic, but we finally made that happen.
We purchased a new home in Monmouth County, New Jersey, in September 2023. We’ve now moved in, and we’re already enjoying more time with our grandsons. We’ve also met some very welcoming neighbors.

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Are We Qualified?

Richard Connor  |  Jan 16, 2024

WE SOLD OUR PRIMARY residence in the Philadelphia suburbs and moved to our New Jersey beach home in March 2021. The sale allowed Vicky and me to take advantage of what’s arguably the most valuable tax break available to everyday Americans: the capital-gains tax exclusion on the sale of a primary residence.
But while the tax break is valuable, it comes with strict and often-confusing rules—and those rules may work against us now that we’ve moved home yet again.

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