5 Best Reasons To Downsize Your Home For Retirement

two houses with arrow going from large to small for when you downsize your home for retirement

The time is now! Whether you are facing retirement in a few years, or you are officially retired, the time has come to downsize your home. This can be a scary thought as you think about all the bedrooms full of furniture, the closets full of treasures, that overflowing junk drawer, or drawers, and the basement full of those special things you will ‘need’ someday.

There are many reasons to downsize your home for retirement. Financial, practical, and emotional reasons are a few. Here, we will go into some of the practical and emotional reasons. Financial reasons need to be discussed with your financial planner, banker, or family member, whomever it is that helps you with that type of planning.

Practical and emotional reasons, how do you tell which is which? I am not going to label the reasons listed below, I will let you do that. A practical reason for me may be an emotional reason for you, and vice versa.

This is not a complete list, just some interesting ideas of my own, and what I have heard from others. Everyone’s situation i different, and everyone’s reasons for downsizing are different. Maybe though, there will be something here that will help you in the decisions you need to make in downsizing your home for retirement.

1) Grow Old Comfortably, With No Stairs, As You Downsize

Do you have physical limitations? Or do you think you might in the future? Are you tired of carrying the laundry up and down the stairs? Do you wish your bedroom was on the same level in the house as the living room and kitchen? Having stairs in their home is a reason many of my co-workers and friends have downsized their homes for retirement.

from off to the side, looking down a set of stairs which you don't want when you downsize your home for retirement

As we age, we are generally not as spry as we were as young adults. Sorry, but it’s true. Add to that some type of illness or injury, and it will be easier to have a home without stairs. This, of course, depends on your situation. My grandmother had a basement in her house, which she used daily, and she lived in the house alone for 20+ years, until she was 91. Consider what your situation, or future, might hold. Oh, and don’t forget, you have to clean or vacuum those stairs!

2) To Be Closer To Family

picture of nine abstract people

This is one of the reasons why Poppy and I are downsizing our home. The kids and their families live 1500 to 1800 miles away. That is a long way to go to see the grandkids! However, some serious thought still needs to be put into this decision. We can only afford one long distance move. We need to remember that the kids may move away from where they live now. We need to consider our future activities and needs. The two kids are approximately 300 miles apart. Do we move closer to one than the other, in the middle, or somewhere equal distance from each of them?

non-detailed map with three places marked which will you choose when downsize your home for retirement

What about you? does your family live in the country and you want to be in the city? Does the family live in town, but you want to be close to a lake? Also consider how close is too close for you: next door, 10 miles, 100 miles? There are many things to consider.

One former co-worker commented that because they lived within 5 miles of the kids and grandkids, it was expected of them (the retired grandparents) to become the free babysitting service. And because the grandkids had to be picked up at the end of the day by the parents, it was felt that the retired grandparents should also provide the evening meal for everyone.

There are many issues that you need to consider when moving closer to the family at the time you downsize your home for retirement. Depending on your family dynamics, you need to decide how close, in distance, that you want to be.

3) Where Will You Go, After You Downsize Your Home

When you are downsizing your home for retirement it is the perfect opportunity to make a change! Do you want to live in the big city, small town, out in the country, or somewhere else?

collage of four pictures, big city, mountains, small town, beach with word where for where will you go when you downsize your home for retirement

When the parents of a friend retired, they moved to a different state and a different sized town. Within several years they moved back to this area. Part of the reason was to move back closer to family, but they also found that small town life did not meet their needs. The town was somewhat isolated in the mountains, which made traveling in the winter months challenging. Also, the town was not large enough to meet the level of social activities for which they were looking.

Do you dream of living close to the beach, or maybe in a mountain village? Do you want to live in the Southwest, or the Northeast? If you have not spent much time in the area you are dreaming about, one option is to rent a home, or apartment, there, or even live in a RV, for a year. That way you can experience the four seasons of the area before making a more permanent commitment.

I know that some people travel in a RV for several years before they decide where to settle. Another option is to travel and stay in Airbnb rentals until you find the perfect location. And, you always have the option of remaining in the area where you currently live!

4) Downsizing Your Home For Retirement Can Lead To Reduced Consumption

Do you find that things and stuff are not so important to you now? You don’t need the big stereo system anymore? You don’t need the large vehicle, or some of the other possessions you thought you couldn’t live without? When you downsize your home for your retirement, you will reduce your consumption. If you don’t have room for it, whatever it may be, you won’t purchase it!

time and money with an hour glass setting on loose one and five dollar bills will have more of both when downsize your home for retirement

If your consumption is reduced, you could have more time and money. I imagine we would all be happy with more money! (I see lots of raised hands!) You could have more time to pursue other interests if you aren’t caring for possessions. Caring for those possessions might be something like having to fix the lawn mower, or time spent dusting or cleaning a lot of furniture. Even caring for a large property can be time consuming.

5) Less Stress

Downsizing your home for retirement could lead to less stress. Say you want to travel, and that could be something like camping for several weeks, or something like a river cruise in Europe. With a larger home it may be more difficult to find someone (that you can afford) to mow the lawn, or shovel the snow. What about keeping the weeds out of the multiple, large flower beds? After all, you don’t want your home to look vacant, like you are gone. If you downsized, it would not take a friend or relative long to check on things for you, thereby giving you less stress while you are away from home.

green apple with stressed looking face with red circle with line through it will be less when downsize your home for retirement

Your reduced stress could come in the form of having to spend less of your retirement dollars on the home itself, the utilities, or the upkeep (for example, a new roof). Maybe part of your downsizing means fewer cars for which you need to buy tires and insurance. Maybe less stress for you is not hosting the family get-togethers anymore, just because you had the largest home (now it is your turn to help, not host).

Stress can be caused by many things, and these things are something different for all of us. If you are not sure what causes you stress, talk with your family and friends – they can tell what stresses you. Keep those stresses in mind when it is time to downsize your home, and make it part of your plan to reduce the stresses.

Downsizing Can Be Daunting

Downsizing the home for retirement can be a daunting task! These five reasons are the best practical and emotional reasons why we should downsize. We want to grow old comfortably and be closer to our families! We can live where we want instead of where our job requires! We can reduce our consumption and live with less stress! Don’t let the task scare you!

woman on steep rock gripping railing on rock staircase that goes to top

For me, yes, it will be a task. But not a scary task, nothing is as scary as heights (notice the death grip on the railing)! Use the five best reasons to downsize your home for retirement that were discussed to get started thinking about downsizing and develop a plan of action!

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