Golden Years: Could Living Out Your Life in a Holiday Inn Be Cheaper Than a Nursing Home?

iStock.com/vgajic
iStock.com/vgajic

In a wry commentary on the financial and logistical issues that come with advancing age, a number of people have proposed a more economically sound alternative to assisted living. Rather than enter a nursing home, they're suggesting an extended stay at a Holiday Inn hotel—continental breakfast included.

Here's the theory: If you assume an average daily cost of $188 for a nursing home—although according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the national average is actually $253 for a private room—the $59.23 nightly rate for seniors at a Holiday Inn hotel compares pretty favorably. The rate includes housekeeping services, free continental breakfast, complimentary toiletries, exercise equipment, and laundry. Socializing is available via lobbies or bar happy hours.

Variations on this unique strategy date back to at least 2011, with some mentioning a brochure that's been disseminated making a case for hotel retirement. More recently, a Facebook post by Virginia man Terry Robison was picked up by Michigan CBS affiliate WWMT and has renewed interest in the idea. There are obviously some gaps in such logic, specifically the idea that a hotel is equipped to monitor and care for elderly occupants with the same qualifications as staff in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. A maid can change bedding but is highly unlikely to assist with bathroom needs or helping physically compromised patients get around. You're also not going to find a Holiday Inn hotel tackling the potential liabilities involved in dispensing medication.

Then again, for those without such needs, it's not as far-fetched as it sounds. People on a fixed income, such as Social Security, might find good reason to consolidate housing costs in an extended-stay environment.

The idea speaks more to the financial crunch experienced by the elderly. People who are no longer able to live on their own are often faced with funding their "golden years" out of pocket, as health insurance and Medicare or Medicaid only cover such facilities in limited circumstances. Many people wind up dipping into savings, annuities, or reverse mortgages; others find they don't have the means to pay at all. The fact that a hotel chain can provide some of these services at a more reasonable cost than locations dedicated to assisted living is a rather alarming indictment of health care options for an aging population.

[h/t WWMT]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Living Near a Trader Joe's Can Increase the Value of Your Home—Here's Why

Trader Joe's can signal that local real estate values are high.
Trader Joe's can signal that local real estate values are high.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As real estate experts will tell you, the location of a residential property carries a lot of weight when it comes to its value. Proximity to schools, parks, and other homes selling for their market value are all positives. Apparently, so is having a Trader Joe’s nearby.

According to Reader’s Digest, the popular grocery chain—which is owned by discount grocery giant ALDI—can have an effect on property values. The data was compiled by ATTOM Data Solutions and looked at home sales from 2014 to 2019 across nearly 2000 zip codes. Homes that were near Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or ALDI were examined. Overall, homes that were situated close to a Trader Joe’s sold for an average of $608,305, more than those near a Whole Foods and almost three times as much as a home near an ALDI. The average return on investment (ROI) for a home near Trader Joe’s was 51 percent, or 14 percent more than the national average of 37 percent. The Joe’s-adjacent homes also held an average 37 percent equity, compared to 25 percent nationally.

You can view the complete infographic here:

Grocery store chains can be used to measure real estate values. ATTOM Data Solutions

For real estate investors, ALDI actually edged out other grocery chains, with homes near one of their locations seeing a 62 percent average gross flipping ROI and a 42 percent return on appreciation over five years.

Homebuyers may question whether the presence of a supermarket can influence home values, or whether it’s simply a matter of Trader Joe’s choosing locations in affluent neighborhoods with rising property values and deeming them a good prospect for the chain’s expansion. Either way, the store appears to be a signpost that you stand a good chance of profiting from your property.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]