The Pros and Cons of Downsizing When You Retire

Many retirees are faced with the question of whether or not to downsize their homes. Before deciding to downsize, it’s important to consider the many positives and negatives that come with this lifestyle change.

Saving on money

Smaller homes typically have smaller mortgage payments, which can, in turn, enlarge your cash flow, according to Elizabeth Weintraub, a former writer for The Balance. Weintraub goes on to say that utility bills are also usually lower in smaller homes since there is less wasted space. With the money you save on bills, you can spend more on the hobbies or activities that you enjoy. As an added bonus, reducing the amount of energy it takes to cool or heat your house is great for the environment.

Limiting your space

Downsizing, of course, entails moving into a home that has less space to move around in. According to Weintraub, some individuals may find that their new house feels cramped. There may not be as many rooms to spread out in, so it could be more difficult to find a quiet place to relax and spend time away from loved ones. Weintraub also cautions that the limited space reduces your ability to host guests. As such, if you throw a get-together at your house, you likely won’t be able to have as many people over, and you might not have a guest room to offer.

Reducing your stress

Writing for Money Talks News, Emmet Pierce says that downsizing can ultimately lower your stress level. Liliane Choney, executive director of ReVisions Resources, notes that organizing your new home and throwing out unneeded possessions allows you to live more comfortably. Furthermore, there are fewer responsibilities to take care of in a smaller home since there is less to maintain and clean, which also minimizes your stress, according to Weintraub.

Selling your belongings

In order for your belongings to fit inside a smaller home, you would probably have to get rid of some possessions. Tom Sightings, a contributor to U.S. News & World Report, also says that some items may not match the look of your new house and may need to be replaced. Even if you do sell or throw out everything you can, you could still wind up not having enough storage space or leaving a few of the items you can’t bear to part with in packed boxes.

Increasing accessibility

As you get older, going up and down stairs might become more of a challenge. That’s why Pierce says a smaller house that has only one floor could be a great option. When you relocate, you can aim to have a more accessible home that is easier to maneuver around in. Plus, you can opt for a location that’s closer to restaurants and stores, making it more convenient to go out.

Keeping all of these pros and cons in mind can help you decide whether or not downsizing is right for you. To learn more about the specific impacts downsizing could have on your life, discuss your options with a financial advisor.

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