Downsizing in Retirement
Retirement often finds seniors at a crossroads when it comes to their living situation. Although their family home contains many fond memories, it may have become too large and difficult to maintain. If you’ve evaluated your senior living options and believe an Independent Living community is the ideal way to spend the next chapter of your life, downsizing is a key step before you move. Continue reading to learn when and how to downsize to make your transition as smooth as possible.
When Should You Consider Downsizing?
Downsizing in retirement is a common next step for aging adults, but the decision should only be made after careful consideration. Factors to consider when thinking about downsizing include:
- Financial Goals: Health care costs often increase with age, as many aging adults require more health care services. Rising utility costs, maintenance expenses and home insurance premiums can eat up your retirement savings. Downsizing and moving to a smaller home can free up the equity tied to your current home while reducing overall costs. If that smaller home is in an Independent Living community, you also eliminate maintenance costs.
- Maintenance Burdens: Maintaining a large home and yard is physically demanding. Seniors wanting to enjoy their retirement and not be bound by these maintenance burdens may prefer to downsize and explore the maintenance-free lifestyle enjoyed in Independent Living communities. If a more relaxed, stress-free retirement sounds good to you, it might be time to consider downsizing.
- Accessibility Issues: A normal part of the aging process includes losing muscle strength, potentially causing mobility issues. If your current home isn’t equipped to accommodate your changing mobility needs, you may want to consider downsizing to a more accessible, age-friendly community.
- Health Concerns: Living alone in a large house can become especially challenging for those concerned with current or future health issues. Aberdeen Village is a Continuing Care Retirement Community, meaning you can start in Independent Living as an active older adult, and utilize other options as your health needs change. As a full-service CCRC in Olathe, Kansas, Aberdeen Village offers a full continuum of care, including Assisted Living, Memory Care and Long-Term Care in one active community.
How to Plan Financially
Once you decide downsizing is the right option, you must consider the financial aspects. It’s essential to plan your finances accordingly. Consider these helpful tips.
- Assess the Current Value of Your Home: It’s easy to overvalue your home due to the powerful emotional connection, so get an expert’s opinion. Order a professional appraisal of your home to learn how much it’s currently worth. This value gives you a better idea of how much you can get for your home, minus your mortgage, if applicable.
- Consider Selling Costs: Selling a home involves various costs besides the required closing costs and Realtor fees. You may need to complete some maintenance tasks to get top dollar for your home. Additional costs may be associated with staging, or you may offer to pay certain fees for the buyer to close the deal. You must budget for all these costs to determine the amount you’ll be left with after finalizing the sale.
- Determine the Cost of Your Next Home: If you’re moving to a smaller home, you must budget for the purchase price and ongoing costs, such as utilities, maintenance, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. However, if you’re moving into an Independent Living community, you eliminate many costs, such as most utilities, insurance and maintenance.
- Sell Unneeded Items: Since downsizing is the ultimate goal, sell items you no longer need before you move. Not only does this eliminate your moving load, but the money earned from selling these items also contributes to your retirement funds.
Tips for Downsizing
It’s incredible how much stuff you can accumulate over time, especially if you’ve lived in your home for many years. Don’t let downsizing in retirement become a daunting process. Use these tips to help you plan and organize the entire process for a smoother transition.
- Start Early With a Checklist: Don’t wait until the last minute to start downsizing. It’s a lengthy process, so begin organizing your belongings and preparing a game plan early to reduce stress. Creating a checklist of what you’re keeping, selling and donating also helps you stay organized and on track to reduce stress even further.
- Enlist Family and Friends: If you have children or siblings who have personal belongings stored at your house, ask them to block off some time to go through these items. They must decide if they want to take them home with them or get rid of the stuff, so you’re not taking up space in your smaller home with these items. Your family and friends might also be able to help you downsize your own belongings.
- Begin With Less-Sentimental Items: Getting rid of your belongings can be very emotional, so start with items less likely to provoke an emotional attachment. Begin with all those extra kitchen gadgets you never use or garden tools you won’t need if you’re moving somewhere that takes care of the yard work. Once you experience how liberating it is to sell, donate or toss these items, it might be easier to tackle those items that have more sentimental meaning.
- Visit Your New Home Frequently: Spend time in your new space visualizing how your possessions will fit and look here. Measure rooms to ensure the furniture you’re keeping fits in the available space and to help you plan your layout accordingly. Knowing these dimensions also tells you if you need to downsize more or less than anticipated.
Explore Senior Living Options at Aberdeen Village
Resident services at Aberdeen Village include interior and exterior home maintenance, groundskeeping, weekly housekeeping and 24/7 security and emergency assistance. Our team is eager to help you settle into your new home. Contact us at 913-213-1686 to learn more about life in an Independent Living community.