The Upside of Downsizing Today (Not Later)


Financial Planning, Retirement, Seniors


December 20, 2018

For those of you nearing retirement, deciding where to live is a big consideration. Most of you intend to stay right where you are. I get it. The home you are in today is full of memories, especially if this is the home where you raised your family. That’s not easy to let go of.

Or, you think about downsizing, but push it off into the future. Something for your 70s, not your 50s or 60s.

My strong advice is to push yourself to seriously consider downsizing today, rather than later.

For starters, home values have been rising for many years now after the devastating fallout during the financial crisis. Chances are you have plenty of equity built up in your house. That makes it possible to move to something smaller, or in a less expensive area, where you can pay cash, and maybe have money left over to add to your retirement savings. I bet that would make you feel great.

You may even decide you want to rent, and be rid of the home-owning hassles.

Even if there isn’t necessarily financial gain to be had, what about your quality of life? Stop for a moment and think about a 70-year-old and 80-year-old you. Be honest as to whether you will be able to live comfortably in your current home. Are there too many stairs? And the upkeep? Are you sort of isolated? That’s not a problem when you are still working and driving. But down the line, it might be harder to get out and engage with the world, let alone your friends.  Moving to a condo/townhome closer to town, or with a strong neighborhood sense of community that can provide friendship and support, might be a smart move today as well as later on.

Making a move today by choice is so much smarter than having to make a move later on if you find you can’t physically stay in your home, or if it is too expensive to keep. And it’s especially smart if you can reduce your housing expenses today; that can be such a big help financially in retirement. Just remember: your memories and the relationships and friendships that you made in your home are yours forever. The home did not create the memories. You did. Those relationships–and those memories–will live on no matter where you call home.

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