It’s easy to remember to budget for water, electricity, natural gas and/or heating fuel, telephones, house insurance, property taxes, internet access and cable TV when planning for retirement. It’s also a good idea to include some factor for inflation in those costs. However what many of us forget to budget for is the costs of keeping and maintaining a home.
Yes, if you’re renting you may be able to skip this article. It could give you a good idea of what to expect should you choose to buy a home in the future, though.
Planning for Long Term House Maintenance, Repairs and Replacements
People vaguely know that many things in their homes will need to be replaced over the long term. But many people don’t save the money in advance that they will need to pay for these repairs and replacements.
While they are working, they tend to rely on hope and maybe a bonus at work to pay the bills. Some, even worse, rely on their line of credit or credit card to bail them out. If they can’t pay that back at the end of the month, though, ouch.
In retirement, however, you are very unlikely to get any bonus or any raise. When these replacements and repairs roll around you need to have the money ready and waiting. But how much is realistic?
Estimated Costs and Required Annual Savings to Pay for Long Term House Repairs, Replacements and Maintenance
Everyone’s home is different. Mine, for example, houses a raging herd of dust rhinos. The following costs, therefore, are just an example to get you thinking. You may be able to come up with a more realistic set of numbers for your home from past bills, ads or based on chats with neighbours.
|Amount to Save Per Year||Number of Years to Save||Total Cost of Item||Item|
|$200||15||$3000||new furnace, installed|
|$133||15||$2000||new air conditioner (You may feel the heat more when you’re old.)|
|$100||10||$1000||new refrigerator, with taxes and delivery|
|$67||15||$1000||new dishwasher, installed|
|$50||20||$1000||new stove with oven|
|$50||15||$750||new washing machine|
|$37||20||$750||new clothes dryer|
|$100||10||$1000||new snowblower (Remember, you’re going to be old!)|
|$214||35||$7500||new tub/shower bathroom (They do start to leak.)|
|$467||15||$7000||new roof for house (Yes, it might last longer. Yes, we have a lot of roof.)|
This adds up to $1428 / year.
Did you notice I didn’t include the cost to replace a Central Vacuum system? I told you I had dust rhinos, remember? If you are averse to them, you may want to add more to your personal savings
Your Personal Home “Reserve Fund” Needs Funding
That means every year, even the years where you’re paying for an expensive item like a new furnace, you need to save $1428 from your pension and other retirement income. Those savings are your personal “reserve fund” just like one a condo might have. You’ll need this money saved, ready and waiting to pay the bills when needed.
Other Items to Repair or Replace to Maintain a Home
The above list does not include replacing any of the following. Most of these items, though, will also wear out in 10-35 years.
- storm doors
- windows (the seals go and they permanently fog up)
- foundations (they can start to leak unexpectedly)
- bricks (can need re-pointing)
- chimney repair or replacement (including liners)
- aluminum and vinyl siding
- bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans
- electrical upgrading (the knob and tube wiring crowd thought they were state of the art, too!)
- vinyl flooring
- drapes and blinds
- couches, chairs and other upholstered furniture
- garage door openers or doors
- fences (If your neighbor wants to put one up, you have to pay half in most municipalities.)
- small appliances (These include microwaves, blenders, toasters, kettles, coffee makers, hair dryers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers etc.)
- doorbells (Have you priced buzzers recently? You’d be surprised what 10 cents worth of plastic costs.)
Okay, you get the idea.
Now you can see why many people on “fixed incomes” are so vocal about rising costs. They can sit on their couch with the spring digging into them, while not needing a TV because they can’t afford cable or eyeglasses, but if they don’t fix the roof they’d better hold a bucket on their lap.
- Budgeting for Retirement Requires a Good Estimate of my Personal Rate of Inflation for 2012
- If I Bought 30-Year Shingles Why is My Roof Leaking After 10 Years?
- Using Dividend Paying Stocks to Create Monthly Income
- What Will I Live On When I Retire if I Have No Savings and Don’t Own a Home?
Did the cost of an unexpected repair or replacement challenge you recently? Have you started a savings system to be ready when the roof goes? Please share your experiences with a comment.