If you or your parents own a house or condo and don’t consider it to be a “money machine,” you probably haven’t read “Retire on the House” by Gillette Edmunds and Jim Keene. As the authors emphasize, most homeowners look at their residences only as places to live. But in recent years, a few wise homeowners have switched their viewpoints to understand their residences are their most profitable investments.
This amazing book reveals virtually every possible way to convert your residence into a profit-producer, even if you don’t sell it. The first chapter’s title, “Live 30 Years on Your Home Equity,” says it all. It includes a checklist of almost every method to stay in your home (if you want to) and use it to produce the income needed for retirement. Or you can sell and enjoy the profit benefits.
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Co-author Gillette Edmunds is retired and, according to the book cover, “has more than tripled his net worth during retirement.” Jim Keene, presumably younger, is a regional manager for Wells Fargo Private Client Services with more than 25 years experience in real estate and other investments. They make an admirable team that has created a superb detailed book about how typical homes can provide for their owner’s retirement.
The alternatives listed in the book seem endless. Frankly, I’m not too excited about several suggestions, such as converting my residence into a boarding house to produce extra income from renters. This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all book, but it offers many choices to retirees who own a home but need extra retirement income.
This is the ideal book for current and future retirees who discover they don’t have enough income for a comfortable retirement. However, the innovative authors show many different ways to use your home to create the necessary income.
For example, if you didn’t like the idea of converting your house into rentals or a boarding house (I didn’t), Edmunds and Keene explain many other choices, such as keeping the house and refinancing with many choices, selling and moving to a less expensive home, moving to a senior community, and investing home-sale proceeds for high yields.
By far, the book’s best chapter objectively explains reverse mortgages. Having studied reverse mortgages for many years, and read virtually all the books and other materials available, I can objectively say this is the best explanation of the pros and cons of this reverse mortgage income I have ever read.
The authors present the reverse-mortgage facts in easy-to-understand charts that clearly show the best alternatives for various situations. Every homeowner age 62 or older and their adult children should study this important chapter to understand the often-misunderstood benefits of reverse mortgages.
The only chapter of the book that I didn’t really understand is the last chapter titled “Never Run Out of Money.” That title sure got my attention. Perhaps it was just too technical for me since I am real estate oriented and the chapter is mostly about investing in mutual funds, stocks, and other non-real estate investments.
Chapter topics include: “Live 30 Years on Your Home Equity”; “Sell High, Buy Low”; “What is Your House Worth?” “Keep the House, Add Tenants”; “Keep the House, Convert into Units”; “Keep the House, Reduce Expenses”; “Keep the House, Refinance”; “Sell and Move On”; “Sell and Move to a Senior Community or Second Home”; “High Returns, Low Volatility”; and “Never Run Out of Money.”
This book can be heavy reading, so not more than a chapter or two should be tackled at one sitting. But its content is so valuable every senior-citizen homeowner should be required to study it. Even if you read only the chapter on reverse mortgage benefits, the book is worth many times its inexpensive price. On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding book rates an off-the-chart 12.
“Retired on the House,” by Gillette Edmunds and Jim Keene (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ), 2006, $18.95, 267 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.
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