Could Cohousing Be an Affordable Living Arrangement for You?

by Debra Karplus

Cohousing Affordable Living Arrangement photo photo

Cohousing is a housing alternative that may not have been on your radar. See if cohousing could be an affordable living arrangement for you.

If you are of a certain age, you have memories of the late 1960s and 1970s, amused by care-free hippies with long hair and flowered clothing spreading the word of peace and love. Many of these folks organized communes where they happily lived together, raised children, grew crops, and found joy and simplicity in living and working in harmony. After a while, those intentional communities seemed to have disappeared.

Or did they?

Today it’s called cohousing

The Farm is an intentional community in rural Tennessee where 320 idealistic hippies settled in 1971 via caravans that were about to “save the world”. The Farm is one of many existing communes still around. Back in the day, they farmed and delivered babies and wrote books such as The Spiritual Midwife in 1975. Today its population is about 200 people, of now 4 generations of people living together within 3 square miles.

Go farther back in time to 1909 where the Kibbutz movement of communal living started in northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee. Today there are 270 Kibbutzim (yes, that’s the plural of Kibbutz,) in Israel each having 40 to 1000 members of various ages and all of these kibbutzim appear to be thriving.

Baby boomers are all grown up now and deciding where to live for their retirement years. And the concept of communal living, which today is referred to as cohousing, has made its resurgence. Groups are springing up all over the United States and in other countries too, to help promote communal living and bring like-minded people together for the purpose of living together in an affordable, harmonious and purposeful manner that helps prevent the loneliness that sometimes impacts older adults. But younger people and families can enjoy cohousing also.

Though there are many online resources that offer information and how-to tips for cohousing wanna-bes, and Cohousing.org stands out as a good place to start to explore the possibility of cohousing for you. This site includes general information one should consider before exploring a lifestyle change into cohousing as well as a state-by-state listing of existing and newly forming cohousing.

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Where do you want to live?

A main consideration, if cohousing appeals to you, is where do you want to live. Do you prefer a rural, urban, or college town area? Do you want to stay in your current geographic area or relocate near or far? If you want to stay put, then you may need to be one of the organizers to get a new cohousing community up and running.

There are other things you want to think about, too. What size community do you want to cohouse in? Do you want to be with people your own age, singles, couples or families or a mixed group? What responsibilities do you want to have in your cohousing arrangement? Do you want to cohouse with people who share your political, religious, or other values?

How can you find cohousing that might be right for you?

On Cohousing.org, you can select a state where you might want to live, and view the existing or forming communities. One of the older ones, for example, was established in 1993 in Tallahassee, Day Star Community, an urban setting not too far from the capitol. It is comparatively smaller than other communities, having started with 4 families and grown to 13 at the time of this writing. Garden, tools and chores are shared among the families. Their photo on the web site shows many, but not all, older adults.

Boulder Creek Community in Colorado, organized in 2008, has 16 units on 13 acres. It states that it houses a diverse groups of all ages and is service-oriented.

Cohousing is a housing alternative that may not have been on your radar. But it is an interesting way to live in close proximity among like-minded people in an affordable manner.

If you are ready for a lifestyle change, maybe you are newly on your own or just retired, or simply ready for a change, give serious thought to cohousing. People who have chosen this way of life are totally sold on the idea. It might be a huge lifestyle change for you, but possibly one of the best changes that you might make in your lifetime. Check it out!

Reviewed September 2020

About the Author

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on Amazon.com (Kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for freelancewriting.com and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at DebraKarplus.blogspot.com.

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

Your Email:

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

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