What are some questions aging adults should be asking when considering downsizing?
You won’t be alone. Almost four in 10 baby boomers (37%) plan to move at some point in later life. Of those, 42% say they will settle in a smaller home. Here are some questions to consider before going smaller:
• Are you and your spouse on the same page? I speak from experience. I’m ready to downsize, and my wife says she’s willing to do the same. But when we have taken some “trial runs”—looking at smaller homes and discussing what we might need to discard—it is clear that my wife’s heart isn’t in this. Her attachment to our current home, with all its memories and our (many) belongings, simply runs too deep.
Downsizing is difficult enough without both partners being fully committed.
• Do you understand just how big a project this will be? Many people get enthusiastic about downsizing—until they actually begin going through drawers and closets. Then the sheer size of the task overwhelms them.
With this in mind: Get a good book about downsizing and the mechanics involved before you jump into this. (One suggestion: “Downsizing the Family Home” by Marni Jameson.)
• Can your ego handle this? Clearly, our homes are part of who we are. A comfortable and spacious house is frequently a sign of success, a “reward” for years of hard work. Is “smaller” or “modest” (or “tiny”) really part of your makeup?
• Have you run all the numbers? Moving to a smaller place can mean smaller bills (for heating and cooling, taxes, maintenance, etc.). Find out how much will it cost to sell your current home and move your belongings? Will you need to buy new furniture? Are you moving to an area with a higher cost of living? Will you end up spending more money on travel (to visit family and friends where you used to live)?
Downsizing can help many people, but it isn’t foolproof. The savings might be more modest than you anticipate.
• Are you certain that the size of your household isn’t going to change? In other words, is there a chance that an adult child might have to move in with you? Or that an older parent could end up living under your roof? A small (or smaller) home can get awfully crowded.
For more information, contact Spring Arbor.
Wall Street Journal