Article written by JoAnn Harvey and Jim Stanko
How Making Your Home the Right Size Makes Economic Sense
Simplify Your Life and Financial Future
Simple lifestyles are becoming popular. Many are looking for a way of leaving behind today’s hectic, technology-driven way of life. We’re becoming aware that the idea of buying more things to make us happy has resulted in providing clutter and financial burdens.
Getting rid of a lot of “stuff” and moving into a smaller home has provided many with greater personal freedom and increased financial security. Of course, rightsizing is easier said than done. We all have sentimental feelings for our homes and our possessions. We’re accustomed to moving up to more, not down to less.
Actually, we rightsize all the time. When we go on long vacations or take short day trips, we realize we can’t take everything with us, so we pick what’s most important and leave the rest behind. Part of the fun of being away from home is the freedom to do what we want without dealing with a lot of stuff. Accordingly, if we concentrate on looking forward to a clutter-free, relaxing retirement, we could potentially pull through the tough rightsizing efforts needed to reach that goal.
Let Go of Your Stuff
Why is it so difficult to get rid of our belongings? Many of us are “depression babies” and we tend to have a fear of discarding anything we think might be needed “someday.” We keep things “just in case.” Some have storage units full of stuff they will never use, and they continue to pay for storing it “just in case.”
Some feel guilty about giving away stuff that has been given to them by friends or family members. We may want to save our things for our children – but, will our children really want them? Consider how difficult it could be for your children to deal with all your belongings should you pass away or have to go into a nursing home.
Many of us simply do not want to face the fact that we are in the last stages of life and are fearful of making even minor changes to the status quo. Waiting too long to rightsize could rob us of a comfortable retirement. So…what time is better than now to set some goals?
Move To Improve Your Home Life
Is your home too big for you, too much trouble or costly to maintain? Moving into a smaller house in a different part of the country could make life easier and create more financial stability for you. Your new, smaller home would likely require lower taxes and insurance and lower your utility and upkeep costs. This could amount to thousands of dollars in savings every year. You might want to move closer to family members. You may wish to go back to school and maybe move to a college town. The flexibility of being mobile has great advantages, including the potential of helping you maintain your career should your company move its location or you lose your job.
The decision to move is not easy. However, the sooner you decide, the sooner you can start rightsizing in preparation. Having less stuff around your home will make it more attractive to buyers and your moving expenses will be lower.
Plan Your Future Carefully
If you plan to move to a new home, check the neighborhood ahead of time. Look for surroundings that will work for you. Find out if the community is pedestrian friendly in the event you should choose to walk for exercise, pleasure, or to work, if that’s an option. Will it be more cost effective to live and shop and find entertainment in the new community than in your current setting?
Look for a low-maintenance house, not an older one that will need major renovations; low maintenance landscaping can be a plus for the “Silver Sneakers” generation. If considering a condo, be careful to check on homeowner association rules and extra charges that may be involved with ownership.
Consider the price you will get from selling your present home and if you will clear enough money to purchase the new home in the new community. Will you need cash to fix up the new place?
Deciding on a new locality in advance will allow you to calculate which of the things you now have will fit into the new home and which items you will have to sell or donate to charity.
Read Part 2 of this article
About the authors
James Stanko, age 72, has himself and his wife gone through the rightsizing process. He is willing to share his experiences so please feel free to contact him at 858-922-4766. Jim is also an expert in the H4P financing option.
Jo Ann Harvey is a retired schoolteacher and lives in San Diego. She loves to write and share her first hand experience of rightsizing to help others who are considering making a move.