Retirement is a season of life most adults look forward to for many years. We budget and save for it while dreaming about how to spend all that free time. Something to consider as you create a long-range plan for retirement is where you will live.
For older adults living in a large home, downsizing can free you from the burdens of homeownership. While all that space may have been necessary when you were raising a family, it often takes a lot of work, money, and time to maintain in retirement. The freedom that comes with “right-sizing” to a smaller place gives seniors more time to pursue their retirement dreams. It’s an appealing idea for many.
If you are heading into retirement or newly retired, you may be wondering when it’s the right time to downsize.
We have a few questions that will help you decide if it’s time for a change.
Should You Downsize Your Home during Retirement?
1. What are your lifestyle goals for retirement?
This decision probably won’t be easy. Many older adults have lived in the same home for decades. Emotional attachment may make some seniors hold on to it much longer than is beneficial.
When you keep the focus on your goals for the future, it may be easier to consider downsizing. A move to a condominium or retirement community means less time and money spent on home upkeep. You’ll have freedom to travel, enjoy the grandkids, pursue new hobbies, and reconnect with old passions.
2. Is staying in the house financially feasible?
Track the costs associated with maintaining your current home. People are often surprised to discover just how much it is. Research shows that the average home cost $1,204 a month to maintain in 2017.
Consider chores like cleaning the gutters, mowing the lawn, trimming trees, mulching the flower beds, and household tasks like grocery shopping, interior painting, and appliance repairs. Paying for all these jobs can be expensive.
Can you afford to hire help for household tasks as you grow older or travel more? Or is hanging on to a home more expensive than it’s worth?
3. Will downsizing now be easier and less stressful?
Depending upon your personal situation and the size of your home, it might be easier to downsize now. When you are younger and healthier, the physical demands of cleaning out a house and preparing it to sell are easier. Waiting until a crisis forces a move will add stress to an already difficult situation.
Give careful thought to how staying in your home impacts your social and physical well-being and that of your family. For many, moving sooner rather than later is best.
4. Does selling the house allow you to live more comfortably?
For many older adults, their house is their greatest asset. Selling it can open up equity that allows for a more enjoyable retirement. Some hesitate to make this move because the house is mortgage-free. But there are many hidden and costly homeownership expenses ranging from replacing or repairing a roof to homeowner’s insurance.
Moving to a senior living community, where the monthly rent includes everything from lawn care to life enrichment activities, wellness programs, housekeeping, and transportation, is often a budget-friendly solution.
It also frees you from the burdens of homeownership. No more worries about tracking down a service person to repair the air conditioning on a hot day or finding someone to look after the house while you travel. You can lock the door to your senior living apartment and forget about it while you are gone.
The Power of Choice at Clearwater
At Clearwater Living, we honor and respect residents’ choices. We understand a crucial component of successful aging is having the power to make one’s own decisions. If you are planning for where you will live during retirement, we extend an invitation to visit one of our amenity-rich communities today!