The Truth about Downsizing

Years of rising house prices in some parts of the country have given a lucky group of retirees an asset they probably never expected to have. Here’s the truth about downsizing. Research by Prudential suggests downsizing your home can raise as much as £85,300 or $109,629. So perhaps it’s not surprising that a fifth (22%) of the soon-to-be-retired population are considering moving to a smaller property, according to research by Saga. These 50- to 59-year-olds will join the thousands of pensioners who sell their family home and downsize each year to fund a new life in their retirement.

Heating cost is lower – In winter, one fellow who downsized with his wife, said “Our electricity bill comes to less than £200 or $257. I was paying that every six weeks in our old house.”

Life is simpler – Without a mortgage, expenses are low. There is less stress; life is slower. There is more time for creative work, more time with your spouse, and more time for travel.

More time walking. If you choose the right place where you can walk most places, you can walk, and there’s no need for the expense of a car. You will find yourself walking to and from restaurants, walking to the parks, walking to the square where friends gather, walking to the store.

You will be healthier. With regular walking, you will be in better shape and healthier.

Many find their standard of living improves. Some places allow you to have a housekeeper and a gardener. You may find property taxes lower, along with cheaper medical care. Don’t limit yourself to the U.S. There are some great places to live outside the U.S. Investigate alternatives via International Living. This month the magazine had a great article titled Eco-Friendly Living That’s Good for the Soul.

Downside of Downsizing

Friends and Family. You may give up the nearness of your family and friends. You may give up the ability to just drop in or to see grandchildren as often as you did before. If you move outside the U.S. it is expensive to travel and tiring.

The language may be a problem. Without expats to help, you may feel isolation you hadn’t known before. It is tough to get what you want in simple services like telephone, cable, electricity, water, and propane if you don’t speak the language.

Adventure may not be your thing. People who move to another country may feel out of their comfort zone. Soon, they will want to go back to what they know or will wish this place was like that place.

Your furniture may not fit. Downsizing brings you face to face with the realization that you can’t bring all your stuff to the new place. You will have to get rid of precious pieces. Keep telling yourself it is just stuff. You can get more stuff if you want. Or you can get a storage box and pay money to store your stuff. Eventually, you will visit your stuff and decide this is silly.

I have a friend who downsized three and a half years ago and moved to San Miguel de Allende.  He and his wife say it was the best decision we ever made. Life is wonderful.

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