Demographic and economic shifts are reshaping what the golden years look like for baby boomers. Many are realizing they haven’t saved enough for retirement. They are less likely to be married than in years past. At the same time, a historic shortage of homes is pushing up housing costs. Many are turning to an old solution: roommates.
Rika Mead, 71, acknowledges her house rules would never fly if she were looking for a housemate in her 20s. But she has spent years developing her own habits and is less willing to make compromises on certain rules. Plus, the stuff she owns now is “a heck of a lot nicer.”
About 16% of people 50 and older said they live in a shared household, up from 2% four years ago, according to a recent survey whose full results will be released in coming weeks by AARP. Last year, 1.9 million U.S. households headed by a person 50 or older included a housemate, roommate, boarder or other nonrelative, according to census data analyzed by Veritas Urbis Economics LLC.
Sharon Kha, 74, and Deborah Knox, 73, love being roommates but cringe at the term, which they think sounds too juvenile. They instead gave themselves the moniker “POSSSLQ,” (pronounced “possle-cue”) short for People of Similar Sensibilities Sharing Living Quarters. Housemates of a certain age can find each other on websites, including Roommates4Boomers and Let’s Share Housing, or the nonprofit New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.
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