A new study shows the next generation faces “A Sophie’s Choice” over keeping the family cabin or selling the lakeshore property to help pay for medical care for elderly parents. Jeff Forester is with Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates:
“You’re faced between getting mom and dad the care they need or selling the cabin. Well….you sell the cabin. And then typically what happens is the shoreline gets subdivided and redeveloped.”
Today the average yearly household income of a seasonal property owner is 58,000 dollars. Forester says many of the cabins are heirloom properties and have been in a family for about 34 years.
Forester says the days of ma-and-pa cabins may soon be a thing of the past. A new study found many kids are having to sell the family cabin to help pay for their aging parents medical care.
Forester says Minnesota is about to experience the largest intergenerational transfer of shoreline property in our history.
Tasha Redel’s full interview with Jeff Forester:
Full Press Release:
The 2016 Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates Lake Home and Cabin Ownership Study — http://mnlakesandrivers.org/sites/mnlakesandrivers.org/files/files/Public2016MLRStudyResponses.docx.pdf — updated previous studies done in 2005 and 1999, finding that most lakeshore and cabin homes are family-based and were either purchased for recreational and’ retirement use – or the property was inherited — versus the property was purchased for solely for investment.
- Only 8% of respondents purchased their property as an investment. 2% sell their property to make a profit.
- 72% purchased their seasonal property for recreational and retirement use, while 20% of seasonal property owners inherited their property, or purchased it from a family member.
The survey’s most telling finding reflected age of owners, average annual income and net worth:
Today the average household income of a seasonal property owner in Minnesota is $58,000 annually and the average age of lake home and cabin property owners is 68 years old. In 1999, the average Minnesota property owner age was 58. In 2005 the average age was 62 years. The average household income has not changed appreciatively during that time.
“Lake shore or cabin ownership of 34 years on average is one of the highest in the Midwest. These places are viewed as heirlooms, not assets,” notes MLR Executive Director Jeff Forester. ‘”By and large, lake home and cabin owners in Minnesota have average-to-low cash reserves, but probably higher than average net worth due to property they own,” he adds. “However, they are of an advanced age and are about to face the highest health care costs of their lives.”
“Simultaneously as owners and the state both struggle to protect the healthy lakes in Minnesota while working to restore the 40% of waters that are degraded., very hard decisions are coming in the short term,” Forester adds: “Minnesota is about to experience the largest intergenerational transfer of shoreline property in our history. Yet, the next generation will no doubt be stressed to pay for the medical bills and maintain the properties that will come into their ownership in the next decade. ”
“Simply put, the ‘kids’ of lake shore and cabin owner are going to face a Sophie’s choice — looking at low cash reserves to pay for medical care for elderly parents and the family preservation a parcel of land. That land — if subdivided and redeveloped — will produce significant revenue but cause major community, familial and heritage disruptions.”
Other Issues Discovered in Study Argue For and Against More Walleye and Fish Protection — and Affordable Access to Broadband
The survey also discovered pro and con arguments about doing more to protect Minnesota’s iconic Walleye and other fish. And most supported more affordable broadband access at the lake for internet and cell phone use.
- 69% of lake home and cabin property owners believe there should be an organization to protect walleye fishing in Minnesota. A number of them remarked that they thought that was one of the purposes of the DNR.
- 64% of cabin and lake property owners would be interested in more state investment in bringing high speed broadband internet to greater Minnesota. Many currently have problems with cell phone and internet coverage and would welcome lower-cost coverage.