It’s an inevitable part of getting on in years when it comes to finding somewhere to enjoy our twilight years, do we decide to stay put where we are, or downsize to a much smaller property? There are infinite factors that can influence your decision, from picking the right neighborhood, to being closer to your children or grandchildren. But in picking a place to downsize to, especially if you are reaching retirement age, what do we all need to be looking for when finding the right home to suit our retirement lifestyle? Ask yourself the following…
Question One: How Do You Anticipate Old Age?
Do you anticipate needing more help to get around when you’re older, especially if you have health conditions now? And yes, this question is a very difficult one to answer in asking yourself how you think you will cope with old age gives you a far better idea of what you need to put in place. And, in thinking about these preventative measures, you can start to consider what you need from your home, but also what you need from your life. Are you on medication now that you will be on for the rest of your life? If so, in downsizing to a new home means that you need to go somewhere within proximity to healthcare services, or pharmacies. Yes, there are pharmacies where the medication is posted to the resident, a prominent one in America right now is RxOutreach, and you can visit RxOutreach.org for more information, but if mobility is an issue, and there aren’t many amenities in your desired location, this may require a drastic rethink. In thinking ahead to your twilight years, post-retirement, it’s inevitable that our concerns turn to our health. And this needs to be one of the priorities as you age, as well as the next question…
Question Two: How Far Away From Your Family Can You Bear To Move?
We all want to be closer to our family, and why not? In retirement, you’ve got the golden opportunity to spend more time with them now than ever before. But in finding somewhere that is near to your loved ones, there may be a few sacrifices you will need to make. In choosing a property that you need to downsize to, this could mean that you will have to throw out a lot of your personal possessions. Can you bear to do this? A lot of issues with the housing market now is that in picking the closest house to your loved ones, it may mean that there is a major caveat in picking the property. For example, the right property may mean that you will have to rent, and so can you finances cope with this? Or by picking a house that is close to your loved ones, but isn’t exactly what you imagined, does this cause more problems down the line for you? On the other hand, lots of people choose to stay in their own house, rather than downsize, and while this is very handy right now, especially if you have grandchildren to look after, it is only a practical solution for so long. By moving a little bit further away, this may mean you can get the house that you really want, but one that is practical for you as you age.
Question Three: How Are Your Finances? Really?
With all the will in the world, if we don’t have the capital to back it up, we are going to spend our retirement years scrimping and saving every which way we can. It seems that this is one of the main reasons that people choose to retire later now. The big thing about pension plans now is that they have declined somewhat in recent years and the value of a lot of pension plans are not what they once were. So, are you paying enough into your pension plan to make sure you will enjoy those twilight years? And this has a devastating impact on the type of home you could afford. Lots of people, once they approach their late seventies, go for a simple and modest bungalow, but these understated homes aren’t always practical. So, although the home may be cheap, your quality of life isn’t that good. Living in a stressful home environment is something that nobody should endure when they reach retirement age. So if you’re young enough, it’s now time to think about your own personal pension plan. While there are state-funded pension plans, you may want to think about putting money aside yourself. If you are still working, the freelance way of life is very appealing to some people, primarily because they can get a lot more money for their efforts. So, by having a mindset that you are going to freelance for a few years, and use the earnings to build up a pension pot, this can prove to be a useful method to put capital aside. And on the flip side, do you have the means to save money? Remember, there are many positives to a smaller home, such as tax breaks, as well as the fact of heating the home will cost a lot less. But if you have issues when it comes to saving money, you may want to think about selling up your current home, as you can get up to $500,000 of capital gain if you are married, or $250,000 for individuals, tax-free. However, this is only if you’ve used your home as the main place of residence during two of the last five years. Investing is another one of those options for many people, such as the landlord approach, where you have people rent your property. You need to make sure that you do the math beforehand, and there are handy resources to help, such as on AARP.org, a retirement calculator that shows you how much you need to save. However, when it comes to weighing up the pros and cons of an investment in comparison to the effect it will have on your life, this needs to be carefully considered.
Question Four: Is Moving Even Practical?
Not just the physical act of moving house, which is going to be very difficult in old age, but if you are thinking about relocating to your ideal town or city, do you find that the place is not as practical as it would appear? Although we all have fantasies of retiring to a beautiful island, is there actually enough public transport, and would you be able to get around if you were unable to drive? Remember, your health will have a big impact on your choice of location, and it is these practicalities that should take priority. The other thing you need to think about is if it will be even good for you? Yes, you may have spent your working life fantasizing about the good life, but will it be good for you on a personal level? Lots of people decide in the end to stay put, because of one main reason. This reason is that moving to a new area can be a big risk, and while you can spend some time in your desired location scoping out the practicalities, some people find that they get bored easily, and yearn for the hustle and bustle of a city or large town. This all depends on you as a person, but if you are moving somewhere to be closer to your grandchildren, it may be a great idea, because you are closer to them. But are you going to feel that once your grandchildren have flown the nest, that there’s nothing to keep you and good there? We all tend to think about how we feel now and what our needs are in the here and now, but we don’t think ahead.
Question Five: Is It Worth Staying Put?
If you spend a long time trying to get onto the property ladder, selling it might be a difficult task, financially and emotionally. The big thing people think about when it comes to hitting retirement age is that it’s the perfect opportunity to start again, to do things they never had the time to do. But does this mean you need to go somewhere new? It can be exciting to dream of a new beginning, but if you’ve got a home that can be modified, especially to suit your needs as you age, it can be easier to stay put. You’ve built a life where you are, and this is arguably the overriding factor for staying put anyway. Change and upheaval in your retirement years can be stresses you don’t need, so if it’s possible to stay where you are, this could be the best solution for everybody concerned.
While we all have various reasons to downsize, it can be a lot more hassle than it’s worth. But sometimes, it can be the blessing we needed all along. And, it’s important to remember that you need to enjoy your golden years. Downsizing may be the thing, or staying where you are is a considerably more practical option. Ask yourself these five questions, and the answer should become clear.
This is a collaborated post.