Female Baby Boomers Are Pioneering a New Housing Model

Women of the baby boomer generation are finding new housing arrangements that suit lifestyles, and finances

Mar 8, 2014 at 1:00PM

For many, the term "housemates" conjures up memories of those youthful years before marriage and home ownership, when unrelated people lived in a communal situation, each paying his or her own way.

These days, baby boomers are bringing back that concept, with a twist: house sharing is occurring later in life, often as a hedge against aging-related physical restrictions – and loneliness.

Women are pioneering the new housing model
As they age, female boomers are often finding themselves facing longer working lives, often without a life partner. Whether single by choice, divorce or widowhood, these women are discovering that sharing a large house with a few of their peers is a great way to stretch limited funds.

A cooperative housing situation can also keep isolation at bay, providing companionship and a sense of belonging – as well as welcome assistance with household chores. For boomers, concerns about being alone when they are older are prompting many to create alternative living arrangements while they are still in their fifties – or younger.

Benefits abound, but so do compromises
While there are definite advantages to these communal lifestyles, there are also concessions that must be made to keep all participants happy. Some may be as basic as whether the group purchases a home together, with an equal interest, or if the majority become tenants of a single owner. Dividing up chores, rules about pets, overnight guests, and other minutiae of everyday life must all be negotiated, and settled. As in any home-sharing arrangement, personal privacy is especially important.

The idea is catching on, and some of the women who have successfully created these cooperative lifestyle changes are helping others do the same. Bonnie Moore is the founder of the Golden Girls Network, which will eventually host a database that members can use to find compatible housemates, in addition to an e-book and workshop on the concept. The National Shared Housing Resource Center offers a region-by-region list of representatives for those looking locally for home-sharing options.

Planning is key
Before embarking upon this type of lifestyle change, experts – including the women who have written books  about the experience – stress the need to plan ahead, which usually involves lawyers and financial planners. Having an enforceable home-sharing plan, as well as a personal financial roadmap, are two of the most important aspects of this creative housing option, which will doubtless mature with age, right along with the baby boomers.

Want to retire rich?
It's no secret that investors tend to be impatient with the market, but the best investment strategy is to buy shares in solid businesses and keep them for the long term. In the special free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," The Motley Fool shares investment ideas and strategies that could help you build wealth for years to come. Click here to grab your free copy today.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

Something big just happened

I don't know about you, but I always pay attention when one of the best growth investors in the world gives me a stock tip. Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner (whose growth-stock newsletter was rated #1 in the world by The Wall Street Journal)* and his brother, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner, just revealed two brand new stock recommendations moments ago. Together, they've tripled the stock market's return over 12+ years. And while timing isn't everything, the history of Tom and David's stock picks shows that it pays to get in early on their ideas.

Click here to be among the first people to hear about David and Tom's newest stock recommendations.

*"Look Who's on Top Now" appeared in The Wall Street Journal which references Hulbert's rankings of the best performing stock picking newsletters over a 5-year period from 2008-2013.

Compare Brokers