I haven’t lived in my house for very long – about two plus years – but, it’s already having a mid-life crisis.
I ‘merged’ with another 50-something adult in 2016 and we both did a great deal of compromising to make it happen. I gave up my 900 square foot urban loft condo to reside in a bigger than 4500 square foot house. I know, it seems like I’m going in reverse… shouldn’t we be downsizing as we age?? Alone, I had just enough room for me, my kid, and my two kitties. Together, we needed room for two additional ‘kids’. I use ‘kids’ in quotes because, when smushed together, we have one in college and two in high school. Everyone needs their own room. Gender was a consideration; but, the fact that they aren’t siblings really drove home the need for square footage.
The house we found had already raised and launched a family, and it showed. While it was new to us; by no stretch was it shiny. Within months, we realized its short comings… no outdoor living area, a non-functional kitchen, beaten up master bath…. the list is long.
We aren’t alone, our same-aged friends’ houses are having mid-life crises as well; requiring fancy new fume hoods, nine foot granite islands, and hidden appliances. Remember in our mid to late 20s when our closets were full of hideous, rather-be-caught-dead-than-in-it bridesmaids’ dresses? And, then sometime a bit later, we felt like we needed to buy onesies by the truckload? Sadly, a bit later, for about 50% of us came the ‘divorce’ epoch. And, now it seems that mixed into the ‘sandwich generation’/’empty nest’ (or soon to be); we are living through RENOVATIONS!
According to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave survey of more than 3,600 people, there is a shift over time on what is important to us. It seems that during our mid years (55 to 64) we are concerned with our home’s financial value. The relationship (between financial and emotional value) changes over time. Apparently as we age – past are early 70s, the financial value loses ground to emotional. Not rocket science…makes sense….remember, ‘you can’t take it with you’. It seems that we are choosing, more and more, to alter our homes for better enjoyment.
Fred Ulreich, CEO of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, a trade group, shares that home remodeling companies have been seeing an increase in boomer spending. Sal Ferro, owner of Alure Home Improvements in Meadow, New York, says boomers are his biggest group of customers. He’s not getting many requests for aging-in-place projects; it’s more renovations to make their homes more enjoyable.
“They’re finally getting the projects done that they always wanted. They’re getting that kitchen or bathroom,” – Ferro
I don’t know what it’s like for all those ‘boomers’ out there responsible for the latest trends; but personally, my home’s midlife crisis is awkward, painful, and way more expensive than any hideous bridesmaid dress or ton of onesies. I am, however, grateful that enduring my home’s midlife crisis is way easier and cheaper than surviving another divorce.