We call them the golden years for a good reason — you’ve worked hard for years and now you get to relax and focus on yourself. In other words, it’s a special time in a senior’s life. While there will most certainly be more than a few bittersweet moments — that comes with all major life decisions — most seniors find many opportunities for fun and excitement during the second half of life. Some, however, don’t get there as easily.
Many seniors find themselves struggling to keep up with all the changes, and finances are no different. What you planned for may no longer be the reality. There are a lot of reasons why, such as investments going south, losing a spouse or partner, falling ill, or needing home modifications to prevent or manage an injury. In these situations, you may be able to boost the quality of your golden years by downsizing your home.
Are you thinking of downsizing? Here are a few important options to consider that can help you make the right decision for your lifestyle.
Considering the Benefits
Whether or not you need to downsize, you may still want to do so. While selling the home where you have made a lifetime of memories can be mournful, there is a lot to look forward to:
- Save money by paying less in utilities.
- Spend less time cleaning rooms you no longer use and managing maintenance of large yards, big roofs, and other cumbersome home repair projects.
- Get cash by selling your house and purchasing a smaller, more manageable home.
- Moving to be closer to family and friends.
- Purchasing a home in a retirement community that keeps you active and social, as well as keeps you close to medically trained professionals should the need arise.
Downsizing is a process that takes time. Once you know you want to live simpler in retirement,
you can take the next steps to make that decision a reality.
Finding a New Home
Deciding where to live can feel overwhelming, especially if you have been in the same house for a long time. Take advantage of the Internet! You have the researching tools you need to narrow down your options right at your fingertips— in some cases even on your smartphone. Looking online will give you an understanding of the cost of a house or condo that is the right size, has the best modifications for seniors and is in the ideal location. For example, knowing that homes in Phoenix have sold for an average price of $255,000 in the last month gives you a firm foundation to start your search. Think about options like:
- Buying a one-story home where you don’t have to navigate stairs.
- Being in a neighborhood where you can walk outside comfortably.
- Choosing a house close to safe and secure public transit.
- Selecting a home with a yard if you plan on having pets or no yard if you don’t want to deal with landscaping and upkeep.
Purging Your Belongings
Living in a new smaller space means living with less stuff. This can be very bittersweet for seniors — every cherished possession comes attached with a memory. That’s why downsizing should be a process you ease your way through. Give yourself time to purge your belongings so that downsizing becomes a smooth, efficient process. Take steps like:
- Taking pictures of items you want to remember, but not keep around.
- Keeping only one or two special items out of a collection.
- Donating items to a charity where people in need can benefit.
- Giving sentimental items to family and friends.
As you work your way through rooms, think about organizing your belongings into keep, donate, or sell. Be sure to make a categories called “unsure.” You can store those items with a friend, family member, or in a self-storage unit until you are ready to make a decision.
Not only will downsizing give you the opportunity to lower your cost of living, but you can also use the extra cash to fuel your retirement fun. Living in a smaller, more manageable home can make your golden years all about doing what you love with people you love.
Article by Mike Longsdon
Michael Longsdon is the creator of ElderFreedom.net, which advocates for the rights and support of seniors.