Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location


You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular


4 Ways to Tap Your House for Cash

Even in a down market, you can safely unlock your equity

1. Sell your home

In 2004, Fred Brock was writing The New York Times's Seniority column when the paper offered him an early retirement package. So Brock took a new job teaching at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. After selling his Dutch colonial in suburban Montclair, New Jersey, for $460,000, he pocketed $235,000 after commissions and other closing costs. "We had bought it 10 years earlier in a down market for $185,000," he says. "So we paid off what was left of our mortgage and paid $200,000 for a house in Kansas that was much nicer and larger, and lived there mortgage-free."

The author of Retire on Less Than You Think, Brock is a fan of moving to less expensive locales in retirement. "Even with the decline in the housing market, it's a good idea, because prices are declining most everywhere. You may not get as much when you sell, but you'll get more when you buy." 

Moving just 50 or 60 miles from an expensive large city will grant you continued access to major airports and hospitals.

Brock likes this strategy so much that he's done it twice: Last year he sold his home in Kansas for $226,000 and bought a new place for $179,000 outside Tucson, where he's now an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona. "These are moves that show a progression that anyone can do — and without leverage," he says.

University towns are high on many experts' lists of good locations for retirees, thanks to their affordable housing, cultural amenities, and top-rated medical facilities.

See also: AARP's Best Places to Retire 2011.

But if you don't want to uproot your life completely, how about seeking cheaper digs nearby? Moving just 50 or 60 miles from an expensive large city will grant you continued access to major airports and hospitals, according to Bert Sperling, president of Sperling's BestPlaces, which analyzes data on people and places around the United States.

"If you live an hour or two away from the city, you can have all that, but you don't have to compete on housing prices with people who need to be closer to the city for their jobs," he says. Depending on real estate values in your part of the country, you could extract hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity from your housing investment (see When it Pays to Move). What's more, federal tax law lets you keep as much as $250,000 of the gain tax-free if you're single, and up to $500,000 for couples. That money can be used any way you like; the rule applies so long as you've lived in the home you're selling for at least two of the past five years.

Next: Is a reverse mortgage right for you? >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

membership benefit financial college aarp

Advice on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.