So, You Think You Must Downsize
Well, maybe you should, and maybe you shouldn’t, so let’s try and work through a few of these issues!
Whenever I ask my clients why they have decided to downsize right now, I generally get one of the following responses:-
- We just feel it is the right time
- This place is just too big for us (or me)
- It’s too hard to look after the garden
- Our children want us to
- There’s too much maintenance
- We can’t manage the stairs anymore
- It’s a bit lonely here and I want to be around more people
- If something happens to one of us, we want the other looked after
Okay – so here we have a start – finding out the “WHY” because if people love where they live, there may be other solutions. Take points 3 and 5 for instance. To these people I would say, “it’s a lot cheaper getting a handyman or gardener in once a week than buying and selling a home. $100,000 of agents’ fees and stamp duty can buy a lot of gardening and maintenance.
For point 4 I would investigate the children’s motivation, which could vary from anywhere between genuine concern (especially with a single parent) about them being alone in the big old home if something happened, to… wanting the inheritance! Again, it’s something that should be considered and discussed between the family.
If the reason is number 1 it shows to me that due consideration has been given and the ensuing decision has been arrived at that there is a need to make a move. This would also apply to number 2, whereby the occupants feel they are rattling around in a mausoleum that they only use 25% of, and many empty rooms can be quite depressing when they bring back memories of happier, livelier days. Number 6 is a bit of a no brainer, and a solid reason to make a move to a single level, easy flowing home that’s easier to navigate and kinder on the hips and knees.
Number 7 usually relates to those who have lost their life partner and are just feeling a little alone. This is probably more around moving into a retirement facility which has organised events, a community spirit, and a range of activities to participate in – or not. Then there’s number 8 which shows concern for what your partner might be faced with should you have suddenly moved on to ‘dance among the daisies’. Although this may be a valid concern, it’s a time to balance probability against compromising a lifestyle you might love, for something that might be years away from happening.
So, all in all, it can be a bit of a dilemma, but at the end of the day, whatever level you may be thinking of shrinking your lifestyle to, you should not overthink it or try to cover every possible imminent disaster when there might never be one. So again, with most things, it’s best to follow your gut feeling and do what makes your heart sing. There are lots of other ways to overcome or minimise the obstacles of old age without necessarily leaving the things that are familiar and make you feel secure.
However, if you are up for the move, and having a change, then go for it! You are now at that stage in your life where you should be doing exactly what you want to do, when and how you want to do it. Whatever you decide to do – make the most of it, and beyond everything – enjoy yourself and keep doing what you love.
Source: “So, You Think You Must Downsize”, The Post – 30 October 2021.