Elderly Couple Get an Income Boost

By Bruce Firestone | Architecture

Feb 08

As folks get older, they tend to earn less even before they officially retire.

Many people will recall the “Freedom 55” slogan from an old advertising campaign.

I tell young people I coach, “Don’t pay any attention to the idea of retiring any time soon… if ever.”

Why?

For two main reasons:

  1. I believe human beings need to work and keep mentally and physically active
  2. It’s an economic necessity for most people who (outside of government employees) don’t have a defined benefit pension plan (or, indeed, any type of pension plan– the average CPP payout is about $555 per month in Canada; social security is higher in the US, around $1,200 a month, but both amounts are tough to survive on)

So Freedom 55 became Freedom 65 then Freedom 85 and now 95.

You’ve heard this before, right?

“I figure I can retire about 5-years after I die,” anonymous

Anyhow, here’s a story of an older couple I coach who turned their garage into an Airbnb microsuite to help make ends meet:

Hi Prof Bruce. I wanted to tell you what we’ve done to help ourselves meet all our financial obligations.

Do you remember our garage?

Well, my spouse, Deanna, converted it and the family room next to it to a microsuite, which she put on Airbnb this past week. See a few photos below.

The response has been amazing (it’s booked for four months already!)

Let me share the arithmetic: We already had an existing one-bedroom (sideyard) apartment rented for $1,232 per month. We wanted $2,800 for the rest of the house (3-bed, 2 bath) but in 3-months, we didn’t get a single offer (even in a hot rental market). That’s when Deanna decided to ask our realtor to rent the upper level (now a 3-bed, 1-bath place) for $1,800, which he did in less than a week!

Next, Deanna converted the lower level (including the garage) to a 1-bed, 1-bath apartment to put on Airbnb. We will probably average about $1,500 a month from Airbnb (less a 20% discount applied to the first three rentals). It’s progress for us.

The microsuite is advertised at $75 per night, minimum 3 nights + cleaning costs. Eventually, I think this will be higher, maybe $85???

Bottom line?

The house will now generate a total of around $4,500 per month and one day I hope we can add a coach house in the backyard.

I am much more aggressive in terms of pushing for higher rents/income today than just a few years ago. Why? Because (gulp) we need the income especially as I get closer to 75 (I’m 72 now, egad). I wanted to share this story with you because it demonstrated what can be done with animation and good management (ie, Deanna, I did nothing). We’ve built our survival machine…

Also, because if cities and towns and townships decide to try to ban Airbnb, we have to resist that. If cities turn their backs on the sharing economy (banning uber, lyft, Airbnb, VRBO etc), they are going to make it much harder for elders and millennials and everyone in between to support themselves as well as make their towns much less vibrant, friendly, welcoming places for residents, tourists, and other visitors…

Best,

Fred

ps you’d be proud of all the tech we are using now—keyless door entry, Nest t-stats, Alexa-controlled SONOS speakers, Netflix, Amazon Music, Spotify, wi-fi, internet, Google mesh (which is fantastic wi-fi), large screen smart TVs (which do double duty for presentations), magic jack phones… Next, we want to add more green—some simple things that have a decent ROI like rain barrels, solar air walls (winter heating), solar hot water and finally solar panels…

pps Deanna and her favorite contractor (she calls him her “other hubbie”) did this reno for about $20k and in just three and half weeks!

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
Real Estate Investment and Business coach
Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker
Ottawa Senators founder
1-613-762-8884
bruce.firestone@century21.ca
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-MAKING IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
-FREEDOM VIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND PB4L, PERSONAL BUSINESS FOR LIFE
-FEHAJ, FOR EVERY HOME A JOB
-MAKE YOUR HOME WORK FOR YOU, INSTEAD OF YOU WORKING FOR IT
-HIGHER ROI NOT JUST FOR OWNERS AND INVESTORS, BUT FOR TENANTS, GUESTS, VISITORS, NEIGHBORHOODS, COMMUNITIES, TOWNS, VILLAGES, AND CITIES TOO

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.

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