Expert Interview Series: The Advantages of Cohousing

Have you ever heard the term “cohousing” and wondered what it means? If you’re preparing for retirement, or if you’re just looking for a change of scenery, cohousing might be right up your alley. And you might even be able to make new friends in the process.

co housing

For more information about the advantages of cohousing, NewRetirement spoke with Betty Grant, the Marketing Team Coordinator at River Song Cohousing. River Song Cohousing is an intergenerational community of independent households in Eugene, Oregon.

What Is Cohousing?

Co-housing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around a shared space. Each attached or single-family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors may also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.

In cohousing, all households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), Condo Association, or a Housing Cooperative.

Advantages of Cohousing

1. Cohousing makes it easy to form clubs or organize child care, elder care, and carpools.

2. In cohousing situations, community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays.

3. With cohousing, neighbors gather naturally for parties, games, movies, or other events.

4. Due to the proximity of cohousing arrangements, relationships tend to be deeper and individuals grow in compassion and kindness.

5. There is always someone to talk to or do something with if you want company. But you also have your own unit and privacy when you want it.

6. Cohousing can dramatically lower your housing costs, typically the biggest expense in retirement.

What Kinds of Activities Do Cohousing Residents Do Together?

Cohousing residents have meetings and work parties together. We may also have movies, celebrations, meals, adventures, playdates, and other events together, too. Most members are friends. As condominium owners, we are free to do exactly what we do now, which means travel, work, play, and so forth.

What Factors Go Into the Decision of Living in a Cohousing Situation Versus the Alternatives?

You just have to think about what you want! Do you want an automatic neighborhood of like-minded folks who manage their cohousing for the greater good of all? If so, you’ll love cohousing. Babies have been born in cohousing communities; folks have died there, too. As such, support, kindness, joy, peace, happiness, and spontaneity are all available there.

If you’re someone who feels threatened by the occasional noisy child, or someone who just wants to be alone, cohousing might not be for you. When you move into a cohousing situation, you move into a neighborhood of activities and responsibilities.

Could cohousing give you a more comfortable retirement? Do you have a good retirement plan? Use the best retirement calculator to help you assess what you have and what you need for a secure retirement.

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