AT 52, LESLIE has a clear view of her retirement, and it doesn’t involve drawing on a 401(k). It involves 1, 100 sun-drenched square feet surrounded by fruit trees, walking distance to Mill Valley shops and restaurants, plus a guest cottage. “All I have is my house,” says Leslie, a mother of two who operates two home businesses. In a climate of soaring property values and rents, and with the advent of Airbnb, Leslie
is one of many Marin residents looking to her house to play a strong supporting role in the retirement plan.
In years past, the house meant security to Leslie; when she lost her job in 2009, she says, “I was able to sleep
Leslie’s story illustrates how several years of strong economic growth have inspired more Marin residents
at night because I knew if things got bad I could always go live in my rental unit and rent out my house.”
Moving the unit from the long-term residential market to Airbnb increased her rental income to about
$3,200 a month — enough to pay her mortgage, insurance and property taxes. That frees up her other income to
invest in the future — which for Leslie means adding to her main house an extra room with a separate entrance,
which she plans to rent on Airbnb as well.
to shift their financial thinking from just getting along to planning for the future.
“I’m having more conversations [with clients] about retirement,” says Kathleen Nemetz, a certified financial
planner with McClurg Capital in San Rafael.
With the strong U. S. dollar and the flexibility brought by the sharing economy, Nemetz says she is seeing
more clients and friends consider spending all or some of their time abroad.