Planning for a Retirement Home

A much neglected task for parsonage-dwelling clergy is planning for a place to live in retirement. This typically involves adequate financial planning to have sufficient resources available when the time comes. However, there are some practical considerations as well.

Location and Accessibility
After a career that has spanned multiple communities it is often difficult to decide where you want to retire. Some considerations that you should take into account are:

  • Availability of public transportation
  • Accessibility to physicians and hospitals
  • Climate
  • Average price of housing

Another consideration is the type of home. A split-level with multiple stairs may be attractive when you are 40 years old, but provide significant barriers when you are 70. Think about floor plan and things like width of interior doors, size of bathrooms, and location of laundry.

Creative Options
Rather than waiting till you retire, some clergy have been successful at purchasing homes while still living in a parsonage. There may be some economic benefits to these options, but there are some disadvantages as well.

Vacation to year-round
A home that is used as a retreat setting during active ministry may be a wonderful place to retire. This can be a viable alternative if the location is right and if there is room for expanding the floor plan to meet your needs in retirement.

Buy now and rent
It may be possible to find a home that is reasonable in cost and in a location where there is an active rental market. This income can make the purchase of the home much more affordable. However, not everyone has the temperament necessary to be a landlord and this option may have some adverse tax consequences as well.