Retiring In A Tiny House: Is The Tiny Life For You?

Retiring in a Tiny House


Why You Might Want To Consider Retiring In A Tiny Home

The decision to spend retired life in a tiny house has become increasingly popular lately. I can’t picture my own retired life anywhere but a tiny home. They provide locational independence, financial freedom, and simple living, which I know I’ll value even more as I age.

But retiring in a tiny house isn’t for everyone. There are many elements worth considering when trying to make the best retirement decisions for you or your parents.

Why You Might Want To Retire in A Tiny Home

Why You Might Want To Consider Retiring In A Tiny Home

ecovillages retirement communityThe decision to retire in a tiny home aligns with many of the lifestyle goals people have as they enter into the later stages of their life. Oftentimes, as people get older, they want to work less, own less, and simply enjoy more. They begin to gravitate towards quality over quantity in their possessions, relationships, and daily experience.

For me, living in a tiny house has taught me a lot about what I value most in this life. I’ve been able to declutter my tangible belongings and focus more on intangible things that make me happy, like my hobbies and my relationships. There are lots of reasons why retiring in a tiny house can give you the post-work life you desire.

patrick hiebert
“Getting older means we tend to declutter our lives. We simplify because we realize what is important in life and only hang on to the material things that matter. Tiny homes tend to be an extension of this — there is less to maintain, repair, and clean.” – Patrick Hiebert from EcoVillages.Life

Tiny Housers Have A Significant Reduction In Living Expenses

Tiny Housers Have A Significant Reduction In Living Expenses

Financial freedom and the reduction of debt is something most strive to achieve by the time they reach retirement. Living in a tiny house is highly cost effective, especially if you choose to build an off-grid tiny house or rely on greywater. I decided to go off grid a while back, and doing so cut my power bill entirely and boosted my savings immensely.

Even tiny houses that do connect to the grid are financially economical. The size of the homes means there is less of everything — less space to power, less house to heat, less surface area to clean, and fewer items to maintain and fix when they break.

how much does a tiny house cost

Tiny Homes Don’t Require As Much Maintenance

Tiny Homes Do Not Require As Much Maintenance

Like I said, there is just less stuff in a tiny house. As you age, it might be nice to invest in a home that will demand far less physical labor from you or your partner. And less work is a true luxury.

I don’t have to do a ton of maintenance work on my own tiny home — not like I would if I lived in a traditional house. When things do need worked on, they’re more manageable if I decide to address them myself and more affordable if I decide to hire the work out.

Smaller Spaces Are Easier To Clean

Smaller Spaces Are Easier To Clean

smaller spaces are easier to keep cleanAnother element of house upkeep is keeping it clean. In a tiny house, there is less surface area to mop and vacuum, less counter space to wipe down, and less storage room to shove excess clutter into. Cleaning my tiny house truly takes no time at all. I can do a deep clean, change all my linens and sheets, do the dishes, scrub the floors and more all in under 30 minutes, which would be impossible to achieve in a traditional-sized house.

You Can Travel In Your Tiny House On Wheels

You Can Travel In Your Tiny House On Wheels

traveling in a tiny house on wheelsAnother aspect of getting older is thinking intentionally about how you want to use and spend your time. Lots of older people make the decision to travel with loved ones. They want to see some of those bucket list dream places in their later years.

Retiring in a tiny house on wheels gives you a locationally independent life. Your house is mobile, and you don’t have work to keep you stationed in one spot. This gives you the luxury of being able to travel as much as you want with loved ones. I’ve been able to visit 26 different countries so far in my lifetime, and a lot of that freedom has come from life in my tiny house on wheels.

Live Near Your Kids But Have Your Own Space

Live Near Your Kids But Have Your Own Space

Older folks also tend to want to live near their children and family as they age. With tiny homes, this is extremely easy to execute. You can effortlessly build a tiny home that functions as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in your backyard or on your children’s land.

Another popular solution is to have multiple tiny homes on the same property — one for you, one for your children, one for guests, etc. You can also invest in connected tiny houses to make your living experience even more shared.

Connect With Other Seniors In Retirement Villages

Connect With Other Seniors In Retirement Villages

tiny home retirement villagesRetirement villages or communities have also caught the tiny house bug. There are various tiny living communities throughout the United States and in other countries that were built to specifically accommodate retired seniors.

One major benefit of living in a retirement village is the social community it provides. It’s a truism that we often connect best with those in our own generation, who likely share in similar life experiences. Tiny retirement villages can give you a chance to be surrounded by those who are in the same stage of life as you and form bonds.

Things To Consider When Retiring In A Tiny House

Things To Consider When Retiring In A Tiny House

While there are many reasons why retiring in a tiny house can be ideal, there are also downsides that you should consider before making such a huge commitment.

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For A Couple

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For A Couple

An obvious con of living in a tiny house is that there might be less room for you to live comfortably with a family or spouse. For a retiree looking to live alone, the amount of space is perfect. However, for a couple, you’ll need to be willing to live in close quarters.

Yet maximizing space in a tiny house can be accomplished in many different ways, like opting for two bedrooms, three bedrooms, or even four bedrooms in your tiny home. You can also include features that will make your home more comfortable, like a loft, stairs, or extra storage space.

patrick hiebert
“The biggest obstacle we see is a short-term mental adjustment. The first reaction is, ‘This isn’t going to be enough space!’ But after a bit of time, people love the amount of space, its efficiency and all the benefits that come with it.” – Patrick Hiebert from EcoVillages.Life

Decluttering To Move To A Tiny House

Decluttering To Move To A Tiny House

When you move into a tiny house, decluttering and minimizing your belongings is a necessity. I was lucky when I moved into my first tiny house 12 years ago because I was moving from a small college apartment instead of a huge house. This made the decluttering process less complex.

Tiny homes are typically less than 600 square feet — much smaller than a traditional home, which is 2,500 square feet on average. So when you make the decision to retire in a tiny home, you will likely have to give up a huge chunk of what you own.

For many seniors looking to retire, this is something they already want to do. But if you are someone who grows attached to their possessions, this may be a more difficult process to undergo. Keep that in mind as you weigh your options.

declutter challenge

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For Family

Tiny Homes Have Less Room For Family

While you might be able to build in features that maximize your space for you and your partner to live comfortably, it still might be a difficult feat to have family come visit and stay in your house.

If you have children and grandchildren, consider the limits living in a tiny house can place on their visits. It could be a lot harder to have the whole family over for a huge holiday meal or birthday celebration in a smaller space.

Is A Tiny House Good For End-Of-Life Care?

Is A Tiny House Good For End-Of-Life Care

Another aspect of aging is the limits it places on us physically. Choosing to grow old in a tiny house can present complications with end-of-life care. If you decide to spend retired life in a tiny house of your own, you’ll need to consider if it will be a comfortable space for that kind of care.

Will your tiny home have room for hospice workers to come in and out? Will your tiny home need to be accommodating of a wheelchair? These things might be difficult in a tiny house and are worth analyzing.

Will You Have Trouble Climbing Up To A Loft?

Will You Have Trouble Climbing Up To A Loft

tiny home loftIt may also be difficult to climb up and down stairs or a ladder as you age. The easiest way to create multiple bedrooms in a tiny house is to build a loft or two, but you have to get up there somehow. As your body ages, it could be harder to get up and down to your bed.

The good news, though, is that there are other ways to incorporate multiple bedrooms into a tiny house on the ground floor. For example, you can incorporate a murphy or trundle bed to keep both bedrooms on the main floor.

patrick hiebert
“As we get older, we get tired of climbing stairs! So the homes we recommend for retirees tend to be single story with larger main floor outdoor decks. We also make everything just a little more comfortable.” – Patrick Hiebert from EcoVillages.Life

Tiny House Floorplans For Seniors

Tiny House Floorplans For Seniors

I’ve rounded up some tiny home floor plans for seniors that encapsulate specific elements of life as we age. They are single story, have more room for moving around, and tend to have more space in the kitchen and living areas for an ideal experience.

Floor Plan 1

senior tiny house floorplan

This layout has a spacious, interconnected living room and kitchen for sharing meals and camaraderie. The bedroom has room for a queen bed — ideal for a couple to share. The bathroom has a standing tub to accommodate bathing needs for seniors. This simplistic design includes most of the basic features to satisfy growing older in a tiny home.

Floor Plan 2

tiny house floorplan for retiree

The position of the laundry room in this floorplan really stands out. Its placement directly next to the bedroom would make it very easy for an older person to bring their clothes back to their room after washing. The open kitchen and living room are another major plus to this floorplan. With room for a queen bed, this layout is also ideal for couples.

Floor Plan 3

tiny house floorplan for senior or retiree

This floorplan is helpful for an older couple that plans to have children or grandchildren come stay in their tiny home, as the living room couch folds out into a full-size bed. Additionally, there is a queen bed in the main bedroom. One down side to this plan is the smaller bathroom, which might be harder for an older person to maneuver.

Floor Plan 4

tiny house floorplans for retirees and seniors

With room for a washer/dryer, standing tub, and fold-out couch, this floorplan makes room for all of the essentials that a senior retiring in a tiny house might need. The queen bed and integrated kitchen and dining area are especially ideal. I also like the walls between the kitchen and living room, which you can argue make the house feel fuller.

Parking A Tiny House For Seniors

Parking A Tiny House

The versatility that living in a tiny home on wheels provides is idyllic for the experience as a retiree. But part of building your own tiny house on wheels is knowing where you can park your vehicle.

Parking A Senior Living Tiny Home Near Family And Resources

Parking A Senior Living Tiny Home Near Family And Resources

The ability to park your home in your family’s backyard while also being able to travel in your tiny house is pretty sweet for old couples seeking the best of both worlds.

tiny house parkingMany state parks welcome tiny homes on wheels the same way they welcome recreational vehicles, which is optimal for travel. Additionally, many states allow tiny homes to be registered as ADUs, which gives you the freedom and legal permission to live in your own tiny house on your family’s land. That way, if you should need medical attention, you have loved ones nearby.

When you retire in a tiny home, you also have the freedom to move your tiny home closer to a hospital or doctor if need be. You don’t necessarily have to live near the medical resources you need to move closer to them quickly. Check out our state guide for further details on where you can legally park your tiny home.

Budgeting For Retirement In A Tiny House

Budgeting For Retirement In A Tiny House

A major consideration when preparing to retire is protecting your finances. Is retiring in a tiny house the most affordable option for seniors when compared to traditional housing or moving into a home? Let’s compare the cost of retiring in a tiny house to other options.

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny Home Versus A Normal Home

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny Home Versus A Normal Home

The cost of moving into a tiny house is dependent on whether or not you build the house yourself or hire a builder to complete the process for you. The average tiny house costs between $10,000 and $30,000 to build yourself, and double those numbers if you hire a builder to do it for you. However, that price can vary drastically depending on how you want your tiny house to look and which features you hope to include.

When comparing this to staying in a traditional house, consider whether or not your home is paid off. How much will you gain by selling your house in the current market? Once you figure this, compare that number to the general estimated cost of your tiny home.

how much does a tiny house cost

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny House Versus Assisted Living

Cost Of Retiring In A Tiny House Versus Assisted Living

The average cost of an assisted living community is anywhere between $1,500 and $6,000 per month, depending on the quality of the community and the type of care provided through membership. Multiply that by 12 and you’re looking at $18,000 to $72,000 each year living in an assisted living community.

Even though some high-end tiny homes can get up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s a one-time fee that lasts for many years, with the exception of maintenance and upkeep costs. Consider this when comparing the price of retiring in a tiny home to the price of assisted living.

Retiring Early In A Tiny House: Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE)

Retiring Early In A Tiny House: Financial Independence Retire Early

Retirement isn’t only for the elderly. Imagine the freedom that retiring early in a tiny home could provide. Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) is a movement of people committed to saving and investing at an early age in order to retire as early as 30 years old!

The catalyst for this specific movement and demographic of investors was the book, “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. The book presents a life-changing, nine-step philosophy for living deliberately with your finances from an early age.

FIRE encourages its followers to think about every expense in terms of the number of working hours it took to pay for it. The movement that was born from this book strives to emphasize frugality without reducing quality of life..

Nine Steps Towards Early Retirement And An Intentional Life

Nine Steps Towards Early Retirement And An Intentional Life

As I mentioned, “Your Money or Your Life” lays out nine simple steps to work toward retiring early and getting back to your life outside of work.

The Steps Are As Follows:

  1. Make peace with your past
  2. Calculate your real hourly wage
  3. Track expenses, convert to hours
  4. Ask yourself: is my life fulfilling?
  5. Chart your money
  6. Spend less
  7. Redefine work
  8. Start investing
Your Money Or Your Life

The Freedom Of Early Retirement In A Tiny House

The Freedom Of Early Retirement In A Tiny House

Retiring as early as your 30s or 40s in a tiny home can provide you with unimaginable freedom. One of my favorite things about living in a tiny house and working remotely is that my daily experience doesn’t depend on where I am.

If I was retired, that would reduce my brain capacity devoted to work entirely and the freedom would be unfathomable. The experience of living in a tiny house on wheels allows you to live mobile and park your life anywhere you can legally park your vehicle.

tiny house building checklist

Tiny Home Communities Around The World

Tiny Home Communities Around The World

The process of retirement looks different across country lines. Each nation has an individual approach to exiting the working world and entering retirement. When I have thought about my own retirement, I have certainly considered the possibility of retiring in another country, living as an expatriate while free from work. Let’s examine the reasons you might consider retiring to a tiny community in different countries.

Will A Tiny Community Meet Your Needs?

Will A Tiny Community Meet Your Needs

There are immense benefits to taking part in the social life a tiny retirement village can provide, but the truth is the lifestyle just might not be what’s best for you. If you’re looking to live a more free, independent post-retirement life, a tiny retirement village wouldn’t be the best option.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to forge relationships in a like-minded community of people with everything you need close by, there are plenty of retirement communities to be found across the globe.

US Tiny House Retirement

US Tiny House Retirement

For citizens, the obvious upside for spending your retirement in the United States is being close to home and loved ones as you age. Additionally, nearly half of the U.S. population retires at 65 or younger, meaning that a huge chunk of their life is lived in retirement.

This is why retirement communities in the United States tend to incorporate lots of elements of an enjoyable life, like group sports and games, shows, crafts, and other activities.

A downside to spending retirement in the United States is a higher cost of living. Due to the all-inclusive retirement home culture in America, it’s going to cost more to live in a retirement community or home.

According to a recent Bankrate’s study which ranked states on affordability and culture, Georgia is currently the best state to retire to in America. The Peach State is followed by Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts. There are several tiny house retirement communities in the United States that accommodate the needs of ageing seniors.

united staes tiny house guide

South American Tiny House Retirement

South American Tiny House Retirement

Retiring in South America certainly has its advantages. For one, the cost of living is drastically lower than it is in other countries, so you’ll likely be able to afford a much nicer estate if you choose to move there.

According to a study from Expat Financial, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Ecuador are the most desirable for retirees based on several factors like the cost of living, culture and social life, and immigration laws and lifestyle.

Filled with picturesque beaches, forests, and lakes throughout the continent, there are many ways to enjoy life as a retiree in South America. Another major appeal is the adventurous lifestyle many of the native citizens live. It also has a fairly stable economy and mild climate that senior citizens tend to enjoy.

Downsides to retiring in South America might include being far away from loved ones and being faced with language barriers. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a retirement community in South America. There are many communities that can accommodate your needs and help you feel at home.

south america tiny house guide

Central American Tiny House Retirement

Central American Tiny House Retirement

Central America is another continent where life as a retiree can be ideal. Upsides to retirement in Central America include year-round sun and gorgeous tropical environments. The region is also renowned for an extremely low cost of living.

Over the course of the last ten years, Central America has become one of the most highly sought out countries for retirement.

Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama top the list of most desirable countries for retirement according to a study conducted by Expat Financial. The study examined quality of life, cost of living, and the social experience of retirement in each of these five countries to get a holistic sense of what retirement would look like.

One downside to retiring in Central America is the distance from home and the language barrier that may arise for U.S. citizens, depending on the country you choose to reside in.

However, the beautiful beaches and rich social culture can easily outweigh these downsides. EcoVillages.Life boasts a number of tiny house retirement communities in Central America where you can bond with other seniors and establish a comfortable, connected life.

central america tiny house guide

Canada Tiny House Retirement

Canada tiny house retirement

Choosing to live out your retirement in Canada sounds like a winter dream. From sublime mountain ranges to rich forests to snowy tundras, there is a vast array of natural beauty in the country to look forward to experiencing. What does retirement in the Canada look like practically?

There are many cities within each Canadian province where retirement would be ideal. US news lists these ten cities as most ideal for retirement:

  • Victoria
  • Squamish
  • South Okangan
  • Canmore
  • Niagara
  • Wasaga Beach
  • Belleville
  • Quebec City
  • Fredericton
  • Mahone Bay

One huge thing to note is disparities amongst the healthcare system. Canada has a publicly funded universal health care system, which is different from the United States. This means you will not have to pay for most healthcare services as a citizen of Canada or a permanent resident, but you will need proof of residency. You will need a government health insurance card from your province, which is an entire process of its own.

There are 10 Canadian provinces, the majority of the Canadian population is concentrated near the US border. This would make travel back home more accessible than retirement in other countries around the world.

Canadian culture is also very mellow which can be a positive for experiencing life as a retiree. The country values quality time and engaging in hobbies you like cooking and sports. Overall, Canada is a laid back, peaceful country to retire in.

canada tiny house guide

Caribbean Tiny House Retirement

Caribbean Tiny House Retirement

Retiring in the Caribbean sounds beyond idyllic when you consider the serene beaches and tropical social culture around every corner. But what does retirement in the Caribbean actually look like?

Expat Financial ranked the Bahamas as the top Caribbean Island for retirement in a recent study. This was followed by the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba, Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos. The Caribbean Islands function like a magnet for retirees who are attracted to the peaceful lifestyle, affordable healthcare, and tax incentives.

There are 26 countries in the Caribbean, and each one has unique visa restrictions, which is a potential barrier to consider when thinking about retirement. You should also analyze language barriers — English, Spanish, French, Creole and other languages are spoken throughout the islands. Many countries also have their own currencies.

But Overall, the Caribbean is a lovely, tranquil choice for retired life. Who wouldn’t want to spend their final days sipping piña coladas on the beach?

caribbean tiny house guide

European Tiny House Retirement

European Tiny House Retirement

Spending retirement in an Italian villa or the French countryside sounds dreamy, but there are many details to consider when making the choice to retire in Europe.

One huge benefit to retiring in a European country is the overwhelming support systems that exist to care for the elderly throughout the continent. A study conducted by BBC news identified the UK as having the best end-of-life care in the world. The study specifically praises the quality and availability of services.

Another pro to European retirement is the rich culture that exists for the older population. Aging Europe points out the active culture throughout the continent from events to travel — the elderly in Europe are not slowing down.

A study conducted by Expat Financial cite the best European countries to retire in as Portugal, France, Slovenia, Italy, and Montenegro.

However, one downside to retiring in Europe for U.S. citizens is being so far from home. You’ll also have to pay higher taxes as a permanent resident. But these downsides may not look so bad when you’re spending your final days sipping cappuccinos in France.

europe tiny house guide

Australian Tiny House Retirement

Australian Tiny House Retirement

Thinking about retirement Down Under? There are many reasons why retirement in Australia might be the move for you and your loved ones.

In Australia, the health and social care facilities offered to retirees are extremely high quality.

Additionally, Australia has a low crime rate, making it a relatively safe country when compared to other countries around the globe, though you’ll still want to take care to follow basic safety guidelines.

One downside to choosing to retire in Australia is that retirees will not be granted government or medical benefits during their retirement period. They will need to secure their own insurance policy from an Australian company on their own accord to maintain security into retirement. Another downside for U.S. citizens is again being far away from home.

However, if those downsides don’t bother you, Australia is a gorgeous and relaxing continent with a rich, vibrant culture to retire in.

australia tiny house guide

Your Turn!

  • What aspects of retiring in a tiny house would be ideal for you?
  • Where in the world would you love to experience retirement?
1 Comment
  1. I have my tiny home already have my tiny stared i am 69 retired draw social security i am going to put in one place and live out my life but i ran out of money i don:t rear to get an money to finish

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