When to Downsize?

You have raised your family and while doing so, you have established friendships and relationships in the community.  And you are comfortable in your home.  But now the children are adults and no longer live in the home and come to visit for only short periods.

Is it the right time to downsize?

Dan and I are currently contemplating this option.  With all three girls living in different states, the house feels too big.   As you pass their bedrooms as you head to bed, you realize that we are currently living in half the house.   Luckily our dog Taxi is  wandering around with us or the house would feel even emptier.

However, there are many decisions that need to be made in determining how, when or where we should make this move.  Review all of the asSmall Houses photopects of this move to be educated on the decision.

There are a number of things that you need to consider in downsizing.

Do both you and your spouse feel the same way?  Both spouses need to be fully committed to the process to be successful.  The choices are plentiful.  You can move to a smaller home, town house, condo, over 55 communities, or move to a new location.  Figuring out where you want to be and what you are willing to compromise on takes a lot of discussion.

Are you aware of the work associated with downsizing/moving? The task of moving can be overwhelming especially if you have lived in your current home for many years.  We have lived in our home for 22 years, which means there is stuff in every closest, attic and basement.  The accumulated items will need to be evaluated, donated or eliminated.  This will be a very big project.  And that thought is a bit overwhelming!

Are you emotionally prepared to live in a smaller home?  Our homes are a significant part of who we are.  The success of owning your home is an integral part of how we view ourselves.  Will your ego be affected by this move?  Contemplate how you might feel living in a smaller home will help this transition.

Have you reviewed the costs associated with the move?  Commons sense tells us that a smaller home must mean smaller expenses.  This may not be accurate.  How much will it cost you to sell your home and move your items?  Will you use your current belongings or purchase new items?  Will you need to put some of your belongings in storage?  All of the financial aspects should be determined before making the change.  The financial savings may not be as great as you think.

Will this be your final move?  You may not be able to answer this question with certainty.  Life and families are always changing.  But understanding the costs and effort it takes to make a move, you should be have a plan for your future and where you will be living is a large component in any financial plan.

Change is not always easy and as I have gotten older, I realize that it is very difficult for me.  The memories of our home and raising our daughters here have made me reluctant to begin the process.  However, understanding the issues will be helpful and time will tell when we make our move.

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About Maureen Crimmins

Maureen Crimmins is co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management and a fee-only independent financial advisor. Have a financial question? ASK MAUREEN

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