NORWALK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--While convention says that retirees should downsize or move to warmer locales, many Americans 50 plus have no intention of leaving their homes until they are well into retirement, if at all, according to a new survey from HomeServe USA (HomeServe), a leading provider of home emergency repair service plans and new AARP member provider. Forty-one percent of Americans ages 50 plus plan to live in their current homes to age 81 or older. The average to “age in place” in their current homes among the 50 plus set is 79 – the current average life expectancy in the U.S.
While a significant percentage of Americans 50 plus intend to stay in their current homes well into their 70s, the majority who plan to live in their current home when older don’t think they will need to take steps to make their home a safer environment to facilitate their ability to get around (63 percent). Fewer than four in ten (37 percent) expect they will need to make modifications so their homes are more easily accessible and safe for them to continue to live in as they get older.
To gauge how Americans are dealing with the challenges of aging safely at home, HomeServe commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey in March 2015 among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, including 1,023 U.S. adults ages 50 and older.
The survey also found that two in five (41 percent) Americans ages 50 and older have experienced a home emergency in the past 12 months, compared to over half (51 percent) of those younger than 50. For the 50 plus Americans, a faulty heating or air conditioning system was the number one most common home emergency, with (14 percent) needing to repair or replace one of these systems over the last year. The second most common home emergency among Americans ages 50 and older was a blocked or overflowing toilet (10 percent), followed by faulty electrical circuit, switch or outlet and a water heater repair or replacement (both 7 percent).
Many Americans 50 plus are not prepared to cover the expenses of unexpected home emergencies. Close to a third (31 percent) report they do not have any money set aside to cover the cost of an emergency home repair. However, American adults below the age of 50 fared far worse, with 44 percent admitting they do not have any money set aside to cover the cost of an emergency home repair.
Among Americans 50 plus, another 17 percent report they have $1,000 or less set aside to cover the cost of an emergency home repair. The majority (56 percent) of those 50 and older would need to tap into their savings if they had to make an emergency home repair of $2,000 or more.
“Whether you’re building up your retirement nest egg or living on a fixed income, home emergencies can throw your entire budget off course,” said Tom Rusin, CEO of HomeServe USA. “Planning for the unexpected is critical not only for your financial health, but for your personal health and safety at home.”
Despite clear challenges in saving for unexpected expenses, it ranks a close third among older Americans’ top financial concerns; with 26 percent of Americans 50 plus reporting it as the financial concern that worries them the most. The number one financial concern for Americans ages 50 and older is identity theft (30 percent), followed by running out of money in retirement (27 percent).
With identity theft top of mind for Americans 50 plus, allowing a stranger into the home for repairs may be a source of anxiety. To alleviate concerns, the majority (74 percent) of Americans ages 50 and older believe it is important to for homeowners obtain references from previously completed jobs before hiring a contractor; however, when it comes to putting that belief into action, only two in five (43 percent) of Americans ages 50 and older have actually ever obtained references when evaluating a potential home contractor. Similarly, roughly two-thirds of Americans 50 plus believe it is important for homeowners to check that the work will be guaranteed (68 percent) and check with the Better Business Bureau (67 percent) before hiring a contractor, but only 38 percent and just three in ten (30 percent) respectively have ever followed through with that advice. Fifty-eight percent believe it is important for homeowners to perform a background check before hiring a home contractor, but a meager 18 percent have actually conducted one in their evaluation of a potential home contractor. Illustrating the importance of financial concerns, sixty-five percent also believe it is important for homeowners to do a cost comparison before hiring a contractor; but only 44 percent have ever done so in practice.
“When a home emergency occurs, the last thing homeowners should have to worry about is whether they trust the contractor entering their home,” added Rusin. “Homeowners, no matter what age, need a trusted resource they can rely on in times of need and have confidence in the level of service they will receive from the contractor.”
About HomeServe’s AARP Member Benefit
HomeServe protects homeowners against the expense and inconvenience of water, sewer, electrical, HVAC and other home emergencies by providing affordable home repair service plans. HomeServe now offers home repair plans especially for AARP members with an unlimited annual benefit amount and service calls for all covered repairs. Plan holders have access to a Repair Hotline that is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to bring local, licensed, and insured technicians right to their home for repairs. All covered repairs are guaranteed for one year.
“We are proud to have a provider relationship with HomeServe,” said Angela Jones, SVP Business Development & Lifestyle, AARP Services, Inc. “Now, AARP members are able to take advantage of affordable home repair service plans, developed especially for them, to allow them to age safely in their home.”
AARP homeowner members can visit www.HomeServeUSA.com or contact HomeServe toll-free at 1-877-444-7750 for more information.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from March 20-24, 2015 among 2,021 adults ages 18 and older (among whom 1,203 are ages 50 and older). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Harris Poll
Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods. Contact us for more information.
HomeServe USA Corp (HomeServe) is an independent provider of home emergency repair service plans. For over a decade, the company has protected homeowners against the expense and inconvenience of water, sewer, electrical, HVAC and other home emergencies by providing affordable coverage and quality service. HomeServe, a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business, serves over 2 million homeowners in the US and Canada and dedicates itself to being a customer-focused company providing best-in-class emergency repair plans through leading utility partners and directly to consumers. For more information about HomeServe, a Connecticut Top Workplace winner for 2014 and winner of five 2015 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, please go to www.homeserveusa.com, follow us on www.twitter.com/homeserveusa and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homeserveusa.