Find out about the pros and cons of downsizing before retirement, as well as lots of additional handy info, to help inform this big life decision.
Lots of people are looking into downsizing these days, with 60% considering downsizing in retirement.
Whilst it is a popular option for many to take, it isn’t exactly a small decision. There is a lot to it, and it is important to consider all aspects of downsizing, especially when considering it before retirement, before making a permanent decision. That way, you’ll move into this new way of compact living with your eyes wide open.
Let’s take a closer look at downsizing before retirement:
Why Do People Downsize Before Retirement?
Why do so many people choose to downsize before they retire? There are many different reasons, some more common than others, but all equally important for the individual making such a monumental choice. Let’s take a closer look:
One of the most common reasons retirees choose to downsize is for financial security. When you move into a smaller, more manageable home, you can often reduce your cost of living by a huge amount. You can unlock equity, and you can save money on maintenance and bills. All of this money can be used to contribute to a better quality of life, and eventually, elderly care and adjustments if needed.
The bigger the house, the more effort and energy it takes to keep it tidy and clean. As you get older, this may become more difficult to achieve. You may also not want to spend so much time cleaning and maintaining a house before you retire, and as you retire, because you want to have fun instead! You can be free of this never-ending upkeep cycle with a smaller, more manageable property. Some people even use some of their saved money (see above) on a private cleaner, making their new downsized life even more convenient.
A Lifestyle Shift
Downsizing is not just about moving to a smaller house, it is a totally different lifestyle. You stop valuing possessions as much, and instead value people, and experiences even more. For the most sentimental items, there is local self storage, which is really helpful. Local self storage means you have no need to give your things up as you downsize.
A smaller home can encourage a more meaningful way of living that many retirees are excited for.
A Fresh Start
Many retirees, especially empty nesters, want to downsize for a fresh start, which can begin long before retirement itself. Whilst the family home is full of memories and sentimental feelings, sometimes it is time to move on from that into a time for new beginnings and an exciting new chapter. Downsizing provides a chance to declutter, distribute meaningful items and get rid of years worth of stuff you never really use or enjoy. You then move into a brand new home that is perfectly sized for this next chapter, and well-equipped for giving you a great start in this next part of your life.
Some people want to travel and have adventures before they retire. This means a more manageable, compact home is a great idea. A ‘lock and go’ property is a really handy type of accommodation for someone who wants to keep exploring the world, and who spends a decent amount of time away from home. It makes the dream of travelling before retirement more accessible and manageable overall.
Anticipating Future Care Needs
A significant reason many people choose to downsize is the foresight of future care needs as they age. Smaller homes mean less upkeep, which is better for older people who might face mobility issues in the future. Downsizing also means better access to single-level living, or homes with accessibility features, making it easier to age comfortably.
Another factor to consider for future care needs is how remote your current home is. Should you need care at home at some point in the future it is easier to find home care if you live in or near a town. Lots of people want to make this kind of change before they become in need of care, so they have the chance to get everything setup and in order long before it becomes an emergency situation.
In some cases, you might be faced with disability or care needs before retirement, in which case downsizing makes sense. You not only have a smaller, more manageable home that will cost less to be adjusted, but also free- up equity to make it exactly how you want it.
The Pros And Cons Of Downsizing Before Retirement At A Glance
Before making any decision about downsizing as your get older carefully consider these advantages and disadvantages:
- Boosted Retirement Savings
- Reduced Maintenance
- Cheaper Utility Bills
- Dreams Realised Earlier In Life
- Leaving Your Current Home
- Economy May Not Support Your Timing
- Adjusting To Less Space
- Decision May Impact Other Family Members
Tips For Downsizing Before Retirement
Although it can be a great decision to downsize before retirement, there are some key things to think about, including:
Decluttering – It makes sense to declutter like a pro in order to downsize, and you will need to do a lot of decluttering. There simply won’t be enough space to keep everything you own in your new place, and although local self storage can help, you can’t keep it all. This includes furniture that may not even fit into the new place.
The Current Economy – You might feel it is time to downsize, but the housing market may be on the turn. It might simply not be the right time to make a move like this, and you might have to wait. It is important to speak to an estate agent for more advice so you avoid making a mistake that could be very costly.
Financial Advice – It is imperative you get financial advice before making this kind of decision. Whilst there are some amazing financial benefits to downsizing, it is important to check how it will impact your finances, including your retirement fund, before you make any permanent decisions.
Family Input – It is so important to discuss downsizing with your family before making any big changes. The implications, including you moving further away, or potentially spending some of what they could have assumed is their inheritance, is important. Calm, helpful discussions will help you reach the best possible conclusion in the end.
Common Q & A’s About Downsizing Before Retirement
What About My Savings?
Downsizing is likely to boost your savings because of the equity you will release, and the money saved from less maintenance. However, speaking to a financial advisor will give you a full picture of how your finances will be impacted by downsizing before retirement.
Will I Have To Get Rid Of All My Sentimental Items?
Absolutely not. They can be gifted to loved ones early, out into local self storage or prioritised in your new place in exchange for other items you get rid of.
Is Downsizing Better For The Environment?
Yes, much better as your property footprint will be smaller.
Downsize Your Way To A Better Life, Whenever The Time Feels Right
Downsizing before retirement can be a really smart move for your future. By doing a lot of research and taking your time before making any permanent decisions, you can make your downsizing transition a smooth one. Your retirement might be a way off yet, but the next chapter starts now!