The title alone was slightly chilling. Chicago readers didn’t have to be anywhere near senior discount age to furrow their brows if they happened to come across last week’s white paper, “Retirement Insecurity 2019.”
Worse yet, there wasn’t much in the National Institute on Retirement Security’s 28-page manifesto to brighten their mood. Fortunately for Chicago homeowners who are anywhere near retirement age, the picture that emerged left out at least one major contraindicating factor that Chicago Realtors® like me will be quick to point it out.
Washington, DC-based NIRS was forwarding the basic thesis—which is demonstrably valid—that the nation’s retirement infrastructure has undergone a decades-long process of systematic degradation. The traditional pension system has been replaced by individual accounts like 401(k) plans—or by nothing at all. Other factors magnify the problem—like changes in the Social Security retirement age and other adjustments.
Chicago homeowners probably share the sentiments revealed in this year’s NIRS poll which showed that Americans are worried about financial security in their older years—and convinced that leaders in Washington don’t understand how hard it is to prepare for retirement. Specific numbers are shocking; like, “When all working individuals are considered, the typical American has zero dollars saved for retirement” and “Among workers who have managed to accumulate savings in a retirement account, that typical account balance is only about $40,000.”
Although it’s unarguable that retirement issues deserve more emphasis than they have been paid of late, there is one significant factor that seems to have been overlooked in this bleak summation. Since you’re reading it here, you’ve probably guessed that it has to do with Chicago real estate. Chicago homeowners who have been building equity in their Chicago properties might indeed have “zero dollars saved for retirement”—but only if you demand they sell their home before they have countable “dollars saved.”
Homeowners who have had the foresight to buy their Chicago home—particularly those who by retirement age have “retired” their mortgage—don’t need to sell the place to have succeeded in making a serious bite out of their own retirement insecurity. Free rent, for one!
Anytime you would like to explore more about building on your own Chicago real estate portfolio, do give me a call. Right now is a particularly apt time to do so!