For older Americans, many on fixed incomes that may not heavily supplement their Social Security, the cost of living is of utmost importance. Nearly 60% of workers 55 and older have saved less than $100,000 for retirement, while 24% have saved less than $1,000, according to the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute. Both figures are much lower than financial advisers recommend.
Enter tiny houses, which are relatively inexpensive to build, buy and maintain. It usually costs between $10,000 and $100,000 to buy or build one, according to Blair; the average U.S. home costs nearly $200,000. Tiny apartments tend to cost much less than larger rental units in the same area.
In both cases, less space means lower utility payments: Mitchell, who lives in a 150 sq. ft. home, says his average monthly bills are around $20.
The appeal of smaller houses and apartments is often as philosophical as it is practical. Residents choose other priorities — from travel to golf to cooking — and use their newfound money and time to enjoy them more fully, sometimes abandoning decades-old habits to do so.
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