Roommates after 50 – No problem!

Roommates after 50 – No problem!

Whenever we think of someone having roommates, we usually think of a young and free spirited college age student. I am in my 50’s now and I think having roommates after 50 is terrific. Most people think as we get older, we get more set in our ways. Maybe that’s true, but being a good roommate has nothing to do with how old you are. You can be a good roommate and be free spirited at any age.

Having roommates brings new friendships

Do you remember having roommates in your twenties? We’d spend most nights at home laughing and having all of our friends over for dinner. Well, having roommates after 50 is just as fun as having roommates in your 20’s. 

Sometimes it’s harder for us to make new friends as we get older. I have found that getting a new roommate is a great way to start a new friendship.

Most of my recent roommates are now my closest friends. As a matter of fact, an old roommate of mine, Caitlin, just traveled up north with her new boyfriend to spend the weekend with us in our new home. While she was here we spent our evenings in our living room talking for hours, just like we did when we were living together. My wife likes meeting my old roommates and she likes Caitlin too.

We are getting ready for some new roommates to move in this next month. We met our new roommates by volunteering at our community theater. They are both in their mid 20’s, and their life revolves around going to college and trying out for different plays. We’re excited to have them as roommates because theater people are generally really outgoing and have lots of positive energy.

Sharing expenses is awesome

The number one reason to get a roommate is to help with expenses. It was true when we were in our 20’s, and it’s true as we get older. House payments are getting to be expensive these days, bills are expensive, and food is expensive. If you get a roommate and charge $500 a month, well that extra rent money will pay for all of those utilities, or it will take care of your food bill or your car payment. Sharing expenses is good at any age.

Roommates are great house sitters and dog sitters.

One of the great benefits of having roommates after 50 is you don’t need to find a house sitter or dog sitter when you travel. My wife and I have a yellow labrador retriever, and we love to travel. We often go back to Thailand for weeks at a time. Fortunately, all of our roommates so far have been gracious enough to dog sit for us. Our roommates will often send us pictures of our dog while we are away. We know that our dog is in good hands and he gets to be in a familiar setting with people he already knows. 

Your roommates have interesting stories to tell

My favorite roommates are the ones who sit up all night talking to you about their day. If you are like me, the more you are around someone, the more you like to talk to them. What I find interesting about each of my roommates is that each of them has a completely different life story. My old roommate Tom grew up not too far from me, and Laura grew up on the other side of the country and came from New York. Another roommate Caitlin just recently moved to the Pacific Northwest from Montana. Each one of them has a different story to tell. Each one of them helped influence my growth as a person and helped me become the person I am today.

When a roommate situation goes bad

I have had roommates most of my life and most of my roommates have become fantastic friends. Unfortunately, a few of them didn’t turn out so well. One of my roommates had a kid who was not very well behaved. There were quite a few nights where the mom and her child would be yelling at each other. I felt sorry for her because she was a single mom. But in the end, I was losing sleep and I had to tell her to move out. She understood why I asked her to move, and to this day, we still stay in touch. It turns out her kid ended up growing up to be a well mannered man after all. I am happy for her.

It’s best to have a written rental or roommate agreement. You can find these agreements online. They will protect you as the landlord in case you need it.  

How do you find roommates after 50?

I have found almost all of my roommates by word of mouth. My wife and I were talking about getting a roommate but we weren’t sure where to get one. I didn’t want a total stranger to move in with us. Then all of a sudden a friend on Facebook said they were looking to move into our area of town. We knew her and her boyfriend through volunteering at our community theater. They were exactly the kind of people we were hoping for as roommates.

I once put an advertisement out on Craigslist looking for a roommate. I was living in Portland at the time, and I lived in a great neighborhood. Needless to say, I got tons of responses from my advertisement. I couldn’t make up my mind who to choose, so I asked my old roommate Laura to help me interview them. That’s how I ended up getting Caitlin as my roommate. Normally, I would steer clear of getting a roommate on Craigslist because you never know if there is a wierdo out there. But Caitlin was great.

Are roommates after 50 right for you?

Are you over 50 and thinking about getting some roommates? If you have an outgoing spirit, then having roommates after 50 is easy. It’s a great way to make some extra money, plus you can meet some new friends. My last two roommates over the past years are now some of my dearest friends. The picture at the beginning of this post is of me and my roommates having breakfast together. This was a typical day for us on the weekends. They are much younger than me, but they help keep me staying young.



Gary is one of the founders of RetireBook, and is the site engineer and also one of its writers. He has been working in IT for over 25 years, is a world traveler, and enjoys everything about living in the Pacific Northwest. He is full of energy, loves the outdoors, climbed several mountains, volunteers in his community, and has been saving his whole life for an early retirement that will be coming up in just a few short years.