Most Are Optimistic About Housing Expenses in Retirement

One-third of Americans would use extra money in retirement to pay off a mortgage or buy a dream home, a study finds.

If given an extra $300,000 in retirement, 20% of Americans would use it to pay off a mortgage, and 15% would buy a dream home, according to a Voya Financial survey.

Nearly one-quarter (23%) would save the money for future health-care needs, and 17% would pay off non-mortgage debt. Only 13% of consumers would use the cash for travel, while 4% would buy toys such as a new car or boat.

The survey found that Americans are most concerned about the cost of health care in retirement. Forty-one percent cited it as their biggest retirement worry, compared with 15% who are plagued by housing expenses. Most of those not yet retired (85%) said they plan to own a home in retirement, while only 12% expect to rent.

Eighty percent of homeowners said they are optimistic about paying off their mortgage before retirement, but 26% of current retirees said they still have an outstanding mortgage balance.

More than half (57%) of respondents said they plan to spend about the same on housing in retirement as they do now. Among those who plan to adjust their housing budget, more than twice as many respondents (27%) plan to downsize to a cost-effective home as buy their dream home (12%).

NEXT: Deciding where to live

When it comes to relocating in retirement, the results were split. Half of respondents plan to move, while 49% said they are happy with where they live.

Thirty-eight percent of survey respondents said the proximity to loved ones is the most important factor in deciding where to live in retirement, while 12% cited cost of living. Although many are concerned about health care in retirement, only 6% said that access to good or affordable health care was a priority for where to live.

“Retirement goals are personal, and each individual or couple is on their own journey. The one constant, however, is to make sure you map out a plan to reach your destination,” says Rich Linton, Voya’s president of large corporate and retail wealth management markets.

Voya is currently offering the Orange House Sweepstakes as a reminder for individuals to think holistically about retirement and to identify short- and long-term goals, Linton says. One winner will be granted $300,000 with the hope that he or she will apply the money toward a house in retirement. The deadline is April 24, and more details are at

More information about the Voya survey is available at

-Corie Hengst