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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Interview with Karen Venable

Karen Venable runs a roommate finding business especially for women over 50. This service is called Roommates4Boomers. If you are a single, widowed or divorced female, you might want to read Karen's guest post, Living with a Roommate Could Just Save Your Life and take a look at the interview below.

Retire Early Lifestyle.com: Karen, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Karen: I’m a business woman who’s owned her own business enterprises for a number of years.  After receiving my MBA from Tulane University in New Orleans, I became a Financial Analyst for Portland General Electric. I left to form my own consulting business working with energy companies internationally.  I managed a Feasibility Study for Private Power Development in Nairobi, Kenya, working with the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Agency for International Development.  I was then consultant to the Managing Director of Kenya Power and Light.

After the birth of my second child, I began Venable Consulting in Portland, Oregon working with startup businesses on financing and marketing and developing off-shore manufacturing facilities in India and China. I then formed Oregon Display, which manufactures custom displays for the whole foods industry, and I’ve owned that company for a number of years.  My goal now is to enrich the lives of Baby Boomer women by making it possible for them to live in the company of others with shared interests, through Roommates4Boomers.com.

REL: What gave you the idea to begin your business, Roommates4Boomers?

Karen: A few years ago, I found myself single and living alone at age 55. Like most women, I realized how important women friends have always been to my well-being. Then it dawned on me: What women my age need is a way to come together for friendship and support in shared housing. My research uncovered very few housing/roommate-sharing services for women of the Baby Boom Generation. I saw a huge void to be filled. Many friends had already experienced success with online dating services and agreed that a roommate matching service for women over 50 was a great idea. That’s how Roommates4Boomers was born.

 

REL: How long have you been in business?

Karen: I began development of Roommates4Boomers a year ago.  We launched the website in May 2014.

REL: Do you find that your idea of finding roommates for women over 50 is a solution for many or simply a niche market?

Karen: It’s most definitely a solution for many.  Every day 8,000 Boomers turn 65. One third of today’s Baby Boomer women are single – divorced, widowed or never married. One sixth has no offspring. There’s a huge – and growing – need out there.

REL: How do you find compatible roommates for your members? What sorts of questions do you ask on your “Build a profile” page?

Karen: We ask a whole battery of questions that you would definitely want to know if you were going to live with someone. Do you smoke? Are you a late-night person or an early morning person? Are you loud or quiet? Neat and tidy or not so much?  The questionnaire is quite detailed.

REL: How do you vet your members for safety concerns? Do you require a police report?

Karen: We do not formally vet our members or run background checks or similar reports on them. We do strongly encourage our members to do so before entering into arrangements with prospective roommates, and we provide some good resources for this on our Resource Page.

REL: How is your price structure worked out?

Karen: Roommates4Boomers is absolutely free to join, to create your own profile, and to search profiles of other members. When you find a potential match and want to contact her, then the fee is $29.95 per month for access to contact information for your prospective roommates.

REL: Living together can be a sensitive issue. What if a roommate doesn’t work out?

Karen: We encourage all women entering into roommate situations to sign a written agreement with clear provisions for what to do, how, and when, if a problem arises.

REL: Do you offer your service nationwide?

Karen: Yes. Roommates4Boomers is for any women living in the United States, age 50 or over.

REL: Have you had good response to your idea?

Karen: We’ve been very gratified to have received a strong response after our launch. We’ve received emails, comments on our blog, sign-ups, and we’ve been the subject of articles in several publications. Some other organizations have actually contacted us about collaborating – a result we didn’t expect within our first month after the website went live.

 

REL: Who is your typical client? Or do you have a typical client?

Karen: I’d say the universal common factors among our clients are: women over 50, single, independent, fun-loving, and open to change.

REL: How can women get in touch with you to find a roommate or become one?

Karen: All they have to do is visit our website and click the “Get Started Now” button. If they’d like to get in touch with me personally, they can contact me at karen@roommates4boomers.com , or then can visit the contact page on our website. 

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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