Expert Interview Series: The Advantages of Co-housing
Have you ever heard the term “co-housing” and wondered what it means?
If you’re preparing for retirement, or if you’re just looking for a change of scenery where you can make new friends in the process, co-housing might be right up your alley.
For more information about the advantages of co-housing, NewRetirement spoke with Betty Grant, the Marketing Team Coordinator at Oakleigh Meadow Co-housing.
What is co-housing?
Co-housing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around 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 co-housing, households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically an HOA, Condo Association, or Housing Cooperative.
What are some of the advantages of these types of living situations?
1. Co-housing makes it easy to form clubs or organize child care, elder care, and carpools.
2. In co-housing situations, community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays.
3. With co-housing, neighbors gather naturally for parties, games, movies, or other events.
4. Due to the proximity of co-housing 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. Co housing can dramatically lower your housing costs — which are typically the biggest expense in retirement.
What kinds of activities do co-housing residents do together?
Co-housing residents have meetings and work parties together. We may also have movies, celebrations, meals, adventures, play dates, 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.
For the retiree or a person preparing for retirement, what factors go into the decision of living in a co-housing 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 co-housing for the greater good of all? If so, you’ll love co-housing. Babies have been born in co-housing 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, co-housing might not be for you. When you move into a co-housing situation, you move into a neighborhood of activities and responsibilities.
Could co housing 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.