My home is paid for. I have no family. Lost my son recently after losing my husband. I have a few friends a few I trust. I’m on social security and Medicare. My health is good and I’m 70. So should I sell and rent an apartment...hopefully travel and have fun. I’m concerned if I become unable to care for myself will the state take over ? I’m perplexed on what to do.

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So sorry for your loss of your husband and your son.

The security of owning a home has many benefits.
My mother once advised to bloom where you are planted.

The cost of renting can actually be more than the taxes yearly and maintenance of a home. Costs you can control, vs. renting expense controlled by the landlord with rules. This can be calculated for the future.
A job in your future might be fun and bring more friends into your life, while still collecting SS.

The home may increase in value.

I sold a home, moved around a lot, bought a condominium, then sold that. Nothing was as comfortable as my former home, now valued at over a million. Any investments like stock market would have failed, looking back on the economy, over time.
Helpful Answer (1)

Dear Dsturgeon,

I am so sorry that you have lost both your husband and son recently especially during the Coronavirus pandemic when everything is exponentially more difficult
to deal with!

First of all, like others who have given their thoughts - it is never a good idea to make major decisions during the grieving process. It is very difficult to think clearly at this time which is why you are feeling "perplexed" on what to do. Moving in and of itself is difficult - this would be too many changes to handle at one time. It just seems like you have too many irons in the fire right now to be in any kind of hurry. I knew a woman your age in a support group who lost her husband and the very next week she told the group she was going to sell their house and move into an apartment. She was halfway through the process and then changed her mind - she realized it was too much, too fast and she loved their home as well as the community. Also, my mom was 79 when my dad passed away. Their house was paid for and she too was on social security, Medicare and had some other miscellaneous income. She ended up living there until she was 90. She had no other family living here other than my husband and I. In 2015 I sold her house in order to pay for her rent at an assisted living facility and currently at 95 she is in memory care.

I would think the priority as others here also mentioned would be to get your affairs in order if you are concerned about what will happen to you when you become unable to care for yourself so that the state would not be in charge. Taking care of that alone would relieve some of the burden you are carrying. I know people like to think this would only be an issue for an older person but, none of us regardless of age are guaranteed a "tomorrow" and technically, we all should have these things in place.

If you still feel like pursuing the idea, maybe you could sit down and write out the pros and cons of making such a decision. You have a home that is paid for, your 70, in good health, have social security and Medicare along with having a few friends you can trust. With your home being paid for, that shouldn't interfere with wanting to travel or have fun. Are you in a retirement community where a neighbor could keep an eye on the house if you travelled? Also, I would ask myself "do I want to sell my house just because of the memories it stirs up"? If that's the case, the "memories" will follow you no matter where you are.
Something that might be interesting to try is to see if one of your friends would be in a position/agreeable to have you stay with them for a week or two. If so, you could see what it would be like to be out of your home and in a different environment. Just a thought - it would be a way of testing the waters without making any commitment/changes too quickly.

Whatever you decide to do, please take your time so there are no regrets. There really are so many aspects to consider - ones that none of us can fully know.

I wish you comfort, peace and clarity in the days and months ahead of you!
Helpful Answer (2)

Speaking as a landlord, I’d question that rent is ‘throwing money away’. Owning (usually but not always) gives you a capital gain in the long run, but renting gives you lots of options and far less risks. I’d suggest you consider starting to clean out your house, work out what you want to keep etc – it takes a long time, at least 6 months. Spare rooms for storage help a lot! If you get to the point where the house is no longer livable, rent it out and move into a small rental place yourself. Look around – where do you want to live? Do you want to move to somewhere 'nicer'? How large, posh (or small, basic) etc do you really want? Do you want a short tenancy so that you can travel? Renting gives you a chance to find out.

Wait a year is the usual good advice, and you won’t be sitting on your hands while you wait! This is a practical and positive way forward. Best wishes, Margaret
Helpful Answer (4)

I think you should wait a year. Don't make any rash decisions. Get a POA. Talk to your pastor or a trusted person about what to do. But for now just sit tight. Do research around your town. Look for 55 community in your town/area. Don't do an annuity. Don't get married again either so soon. So sorry for your losses. I have a similar thing going on. Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (3)

I am so sorry for your losses. May God bless you with grieving mercies and strength during this difficult time.

Go to and find a certified elder law attorney in your area. Most have fiduciaries on staff. They can be appointed as your personal representative in the event that you need one. You will get all of your wishes in writing and they will follow them to the extent possible.

We chose this route because we don't want any family members trying to second guess what we decided on when we were able to fully understand what we were doing and we are POAs for others and it is not something that we would put on anyone but a professional.

I think letting all the 1st time for everything go by before you make any huge life decisions, like selling your house is a good rule of thumb to let you find your balance and get over the shock and newness of change before implementing more changes. Use that year to plan and grieve and find out who you are and where you want to go from here. But you know you and what you can handle, so keeping a big house that requires lots of maintenance may not be something that you want to deal with, even for a year.

I recommend looking into a management company and seeing if renting your house out would be a better option. It typically costs 10 to 12% but they handle everything and send you a monthly payment. If you choose this route, be sure and make your renters provide insurance that names you as the insured and get a deposit large enough to cover your fire deductible and their coverage deductible, that way you are not out any money if they don't take care of the house.

You will find your way, great big warm hug!
Helpful Answer (4)

Renting is not giving money away.

There can be significant benefits to renting. OP can invest the proceeds from the sale of her home creating another income source. As a tenant, repairs and maintenance are a thing of the past.

No condo fees, no special levies.
Helpful Answer (5)

I agree, wait awhile before making such a big decision. After my mom died my father ran out of his house like it was on fire. If he had waited a few months the housing market boomed and he wold have made 20% more.

I agree with Midkid58, buy something more manageable. Renting is just giving money away. 55+ community that has managed care attached? Spend this time doing research. And yes, go have a good time while you are still young.
Helpful Answer (2)

I've heard that you should wait one year before making huge decisions like selling your home after losing a spouse.

How about thinking of selling and buying a much smaller condo where everything is covered. No more lawn care, etc. Neighbors closer by to lean on if necessary.

Renting is throwing money away each month. Owning is much better, financially, esp if later on you need to move to assisted living.

You should talk to friends or remaining family about establishing your will and appointing a POA for you--someone you REALLY trust, and a 2nd to that person.

At 70--and in good health---go for it. You can't really travel right now, so use this lockdown as a time to do "Swedish death cleaning' and emptying your house and your life of as much extraneous stuff as you can.

As far as I know, if you cannot take care of yourself and there is no POA, yes, the state takes over. I've never seen that go well.

Good Luck!
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