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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


If the pandemic has taught us anything - life is short. 

I've often been in the camp that you don't want to die the richest person in the graveyard. Life is about balance. No one should spend it as if there is tomorrow nor should they save until hurts. 

It appears boomers may be embracing this mentality quite literally. 

A new report by Royal LePage found that 3.2 million boomers in Canada are considering buying a home in the next five years. 

I find this fascinating.  

It appears those who traditionally were on the cusp of retirement or even in retirement seem to have no desire to slow down. In fact, according to the report, boomers seem to have their own ideas of what retirement will look like and are a mixed bag when it comes to their housing desires. 

  • 57 per cent said they would purchase a detached house if they were to buy
  • 19 per cent prefer a condominium 
  • 52 per cent of boomer homeowners said they would prefer to renovate over purchasing another home while 24 per cent are considering it

The past year has taught us that many of us can work anywhere anytime and while that has opened up the labour force to a global talent pool it may also have extended the working life of boomers.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The experience, knowledge and talent the boomers offer can be put to good use as the economy struggles to get back on its feet.

As well, boomers have had a long standing love affair with real estate which over the decades has served them well financially. The financial gains coupled now with a desire to downsize does not necessarily mean less cost but likely means less maintenance. For some, it is liberating and frees them up to live the lifestyle they desire and can afford. 

Recently, I spoke with a woman of this age group, who is a senior executive and happily married with a daughter. Marg said she is ready to embark on the next leg of her journey. They are building their dream home with an expansive waterfront on a lake in Muskoka. They have the drawings, filed for building permits and are excited about starting the build. This is a family who also had the desire and ability to help their daughter purchase her first home recently. 

They aren't alone. 

As home prices continue to skyrocket and affordability becomes an increasing challenge, according to the report, many young adults are turning to their boomer parents for financial assistance for a downpayment. Twenty-five per cent of boomers said they have or would consider gifting or loaning money to a child to help with the purchase of a home. In fact, 27 per cent of boomers who are currently working said they would consider delaying retirement to help their children with a down payment on a home.

There is one element of the report that is still concerning to me. 

In a perfect world before you enter into retirement you have retired all debt. Royal LePage found that 75 per cent of boomers were homeowners and 64 per cent of those surveyed were debt free. That is a decent number but I worry about the ones still carrying a mortgage into retirement. 

However, the reality may be, they may in fact be included in the statistics. Forty-five per cent of respondents believe now is a good time to sell their home. Selling your home could be the golden opportunity they have been waiting for. Those thinking of selling maybe will consider downsizing price and footprint and tuck a little cash away to fund those golden years.