This week on the blog, Suzanne Noble explains how helping her partner to find a place to live saw her set up SilverSharers, a new company that connects older homeowners with compatible older renters seeking a spare room.
I’m 58 and I share my flat with my lodger, Ameet, 52 and an assortment of AirBnB guests, most of whom I see long enough to greet when they arrive at my flat and when they depart to go home! The last time I lived with anyone other than my own family was back in my twenties, while at University.
In the intervening 30+ years, I’ve raised two kids, been married and then divorced, run a number of businesses. I’ve had some very good years financially and some awful times too and, as a result, I consider myself fairly resilient when it comes to doing what I have to do to keep a roof over my head. Even so, living with others my age didn’t come into my future plan until it seemed the only possible option if I wanted to carry on with my portfolio career and have the flexibility around how and when I work.
Despite my initial reservations about living with someone my own age, I’ve discovered I like our setup far more than I would have imagined. Ameet and I often share meals together, we have mutual interests and, when I just want to have a chat, he’s available. The situation worked out so well that when my partner wanted to move into London to be closer to where I live, I helped to find him a similar arrangement and he now shares with a couple in their sixties. Now I’m helping others to do the same in London via a website I’ve created called silversharers.com.
I believe the way I and so many others like me live, in this type of shared housing arrangement, is a blueprint for the future as the cost of living in cities as expensive as London escalates and more and more people find themselves renting for life. The idea of silversharers is to connect older homeowners with compatible people who seek a spare room in which to live and can provide them with social connection, a passive income or help around the house, if need be. What makes it different from existing flat sharing sites is that compatibility is at the heart of what we do.
There are multiple reasons, beyond financial necessity, why flat sharing is desirable.
There are those seeking someone to live with an elderly parent in order to provide them with companionship and a sense of security. For others, it’s about having someone pay them to fill a spare room which affords the older homeowner the financial freedom to pursue a passion they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. I’ve met people who have lived with others their own age and younger over many years and now view it as a way of life. Many are similar to me who like their privacy but also the opportunity to have someone with whom to socialise and whom can provide me with a passive income stream. Every sharing arrangement has its own nuances aside from similar views around cleanliness, visitors, noise, etc. In my experience, it’s important that whomever you live with shares your values and that there’s mutual respect, with clear rules laid out as to what and what isn’t acceptable.
It’s early days for silversharers but if you’d like to find out more, are seeking a place to live or have a spare room you’re considering renting out, we’d love to hear from you.