Gen-Xer Miles, who identifies legally by his first name only and lives in Meredith between Geelong and Ballarat in Victoria, has a $450,000 mortgage after building a home on a block of land.

He is hoping to pay down a big chunk of his mortgage from investment “windfalls” to make it more manageable. But he still expects to have a mortgage in retirement. “I figure I’ll probably still be paying a mortgage in my 70s,” he says.

Miles says his generation “shrug” and accept that a mortgage in retirement is likely.

But Johnson says there are risks to entering retirement with a mortgage, including the cost of servicing debt and interest rates. Health shocks, unexpected costs and disability could worsen those risks.

“Anyone who is still servicing a debt in their retirement years is likely to have [less money to spend] on living essentials such as food, clothing, utilities, healthcare, transport, travel and other activities,” explains Marler. “Research 

shows that carrying debt into retirement is one of the key detractors of life satisfaction. Emotionally, owning a home provides an anchor to the community, local activities and relationships.”