Is your house your retirement savings plan?

Millions of Boomers across North America have used the value of their homes as a source of savings for their future in assisted living and retirement living communities, but a new study from AARP says the decrease in home values in the last few years threatens to hurt their retirement plans.

As reported in USA Today, the consequences of falling home values means many Baby Boomers are working longer in order to save enough money to make up for what they originally hoped their houses would cover.

“Nobody sees rapid appreciation in home values over the next 10 years,” Jay Butler, a real estate professor at Arizona State University, told the news source.  Because of this lack of real estate appreciation, he said, “A lot of folks will postpone retirement.”

Paul Trigili, 65, lives in Las Vegas and was hoping to retire at the end of 2011, but the decline of the value of his house has forced him to work longer to fund his retirement.

“We're pretty much stuck here," he told the media outlet. "Now, I don't look at retirement at all. I'd like to work as long as I can.”

Many experts recommend, to avoid such situations, diversifying one’s investments so even if a real estate downturn does happen, your future in assisted living and retirement living is not affected.