By Mary Holmes
How do you know if it is the right time to start the process of downsizing? This is a complicated question with no simple answer. First of all, it depends on why you are downsizing. For example, some people decide they want to simplify with a goal of having less “stuff” at a young age. They think they will feel lighter, happier, and a sense of freedom. Some people never downsize. When this happens, typically the adult children of the senior(s) are left to disperse a house full of possessions. The most common time in a person’s life to downsize is when their children have left the nest and they are moving toward retirement. Although there is no “one size fits all” answer, here are a few things to consider:
Closing in On Retirement – As you start to think about the next stage of life, you may be concerned about whether you will have enough money to maintain your lifestyle in retirement. Downsizing to a smaller, less expensive living situation may help your money last longer. You cannot only decrease or eliminate your mortgage payment, but also reduce taxes, insurance, and utility and maintenance costs.
Feeling Overwhelmed – You could feel overwhelmed for several reasons. As discussed in the previous bullet, you may have financial concerns about what will happen when you don’t have a regular paycheck. You may also feel overwhelmed by maintaining the inside and outside of a large family home. Also, as you age, a two or three story home may not be practical and could cause safety concerns.
Empty Rooms – After your children leave home, you may end up with rooms you no longer use. In addition to the expense of this unused space, you may experience a wide range of emotions (some good and some perhaps not so good). Becoming an empty nester can be difficult, but keeping your children’s bedrooms and other spaces unchanged can make it even more difficult. Moving forward can actually be a positive step.
Where Are Your Kids? – Related to the previous bullet, once the kids are gone and perhaps living in another state, it may be time to think about a new beginning for yourself, too. Although you may feel as though leaving the home where you raised your children will lessen your connection to them, it could actually be the exact opposite. If you lighten your load and sell your family home, you may then be free to travel and visit your children where they are raising their children. Better yet – maybe you can move to be closer to them.
Make Some Money – If you bought your home 30 or 40 years ago, there is a good chance your home has appreciated in value. If this is the case, it may be a good time to realize that appreciation and find a less expensive living situation. This may not only give you financial freedom in retirement, but the downsizing and simplification process may give you the emotional freedom to start an adventurous new chapter of your life.
We have experience working with all ages when it comes to downsizing. It is not always easy to “let go”, but we can help you start the process. From there, you may see that good feelings develop once progress is made. If you have comments are questions, please contact us: Contact Us.