How to Know If Downsizing Is the Right Thing to Do

Richard and Jane Brown sold their four-bedroom home in the suburbs. And moved into a new two-bedroom condominium. In their 60s and still active, they chose this condominium for its amenities. It was two blocks from the ocean.

No more mowing lawns, less house maintenance, more time for golf, and travel. But, within two years of moving into their condominium, they sold it. It was way too small. And their neighbors complained about the noise when the grandchildren came over.

The Browns’ believed they had downsized too soon and too much. They sold the condominium and purchased a townhome. They gave up the proximity to the ocean for more space. This time their grandchildren were free to stay over as long as they wanted to. There was even a yard.

Richard took up membership at a gym close by to make up for the lack of amenities at their townhome. They told me this time they had reached a happy medium.

So, how do you know it’s time to downsize?

What’s your vision for the next 10 to 20 years of your life? What are you hoping to achieve in this stage of your life? More travel? More time with grandkids? Part-time work? Returning to school to pursue a new passion?

Before you decide to downsize, you should consider how your current home fits into your vision for the next 10 years.

And don’t forget that homes have an emotional pull. They hold memories of the children growing up, of your happy (or not so happy) times with your spouse. How do you view your home? Is it your castle? An anchor? A soft place to land or a place to lay your head?

While we may all value family, how we want it to show up in our lives may be different. Will you play a significant role in the lives of your grandchildren? Do you need extra space to have them in for a sleepover?

Knowing what your core values are is essential when it comes to downsizing.

For some, the idea of moving is very daunting. Especially if they have accumulated years of “stuff.” But you need to realize that we will all need to move at some point… or be moved.

Many of you managed to maintain a large family home for 40 years. But now you are finding it challenging to keep up with the lawn and repairs around the house. If that is the case, it may be time to move.

Would you be able to manage if your partner were no longer able to help you keep up with maintaining the place? Consider your finances and your physical abilities.

The first 10 to 20 years of retirement is when you are most active. Downsizing will free up equity from your house to use in other ways.

Use this cash to achieve some of the goals you’ve put off for years. Or to pay for escalating health care costs.

Needs and priorities may have changed. Accept that there will be trade-offs in downsizing. For instance, you may need to move closer to a health care provider.

You may decide against downsizing if you need the space to accommodate a wheelchair or two. Or if the community you’ve been living in for the past 40 years could be an integral part of your life.

If you are considering downsizing, start by asking yourself, “What would compel me to downsize?” This may shed some light on whether it’s time to downsize or not.

Are you considering downsizing? Why? What has prompted the notion? What are your priorities at this time in your life? Are you in need of less space, more space, better location, or something else? Please share with our community!


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