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Building the forever house

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Posted: 11 am ET

My husband and I are building a house on Lake Erie. We hemmed and hawed about it for a long time and finally decided that this was a part of our retirement planning that we didn't want to forgo, even though the housing economy in Michigan is dreadful.

We came to this conclusion after looking at a lot of houses for sale that didn't satisfy us. We have lived in many homes over the years that were "good enough." This time, as we settle into retirement, we want two home offices, a spacious master bedroom and a guest suite that has space for more than one of our five children and their significant others to visit at the same time. In our neck of the woods, there aren't many houses like that, but we aren't interested in moving. After 30 years of frequent transfers and relocations, we have been here for a dozen years and we're not going anywhere.

So we're building -- 25 feet from Lake Erie, approved by the EPA, the DEQ and the local zoning board. I thought we might be unique, but today I looked at a study by the National Association of Home Builders and discovered that in 2009, the most recent figures available, 41 percent of single-family design-build homes for people older than 55 were waterfront. More evidence that as a leading-edge baby boomer, I've never done anything that I didn't do in a crowd.

My accountant husband says we're contributing to the economy -- doing our part for economic improvement. And if we're going to live here until they carry us out toes up, that it really doesn't matter what the property's resale value is. Our kids can figure it out when it's too late for us to care.

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