Mary and Harold Hunt had lived in Southern California for years, but like many Americans, the mortgage payments on their home were too great to continue paying through retirement. They soon realized they had to make some drastic changes in order to retire happily. Here's what they learned.
One of the first things that became clear to the Hunts is that you need to own your house free and clear before you retire. "This was our dream home," Mary says of her west coast abode. "It was the house we wanted to live in the rest of our lives and we had to just look at that and say, 'That can't happen.'"
So the couple put their house on the market and looked for a new home to buy outright with the cash from the sale. "We had to come to terms with the fact that we probably wouldn't be able to do that where we live here in Southern California," she explains.
In order to save, the Hunts took their real estate search to Colorado. With cheaper homes and lower property taxes, they were able to find a house that was comparable to the one they were living in. Relocating to a different market allowed them to stretch their money, and save more of the profit they made from the sale of their dream home.
"The choice that we made to move out of state is going to have its challenges -- completely starting life over again in an area where you know very, very few people -- but we're getting out of our comfort zone and looking at this as an adventure," Mary remarks.
The Hunts weren't quite ready to move yet, so they leased their Colorado house for a year and downsized by converting their California office into their home. While the couple had to give up quite a few comforts, they know their living situation is temporary. Mary adds, "We are saving so much money, and the sacrifices that we've made have been so small compared to the positive aspects that we have gained from it."