Things to Consider When Downsizing After Retiring

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Congratulations on reaching one of the most exciting milestones in a person’s life: retirement. With this monumental event comes the possibility of change—and positive change doesn’t always mean bigger.

Downsizing is your first step to feeling fresh and untethered as a retiree.

Here’s what you have to consider when moving into a small space—and making space for big memories. 

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Understand Your Budget Requirements 

An upside to downsizing is that you can save money. Be aware of the monetary commitment that comes with selling, buying, and living in a new home so that you are not burdened with financial strain during what should be a relaxing new chapter in your life. 

Make sure the following expenses are reflected in your downsizing budget, so they don’t come as a surprise later:

  • Cost of living – Consider how much money you’ll need in your everyday life. Would the act of downsizing to a smaller home significantly cut these expenses? If the answer is no, you may want to reassess what other benefits you’ll get from moving.
  • Additional housing expenses – In addition to everyday utilities and house maintenance bills, be sure to take the following home acquisition costs into consideration: property tax, mortgage payment, down payment, and closing costs.
  • Selling your house – Don’t overlook the cost of selling your current house. Consider hiring professionals that will help ensure you get the most out of your former abode. You may need to spend money on remodeling or staging your home to make it as alluring as possible to potential buyers.

If you’re struggling to find the money to purchase your dream retirement home, look into financing options available to you, like home loans for veterans or other special programs from your local government. 

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Identify Your Lifestyle Must-Haves

Think about what exists beyond the nest. Envision what you need to live a fruitful life. Is your new house near the people, places, and amenities you need to achieve your dream reality?

To help answer that important question, here are some factors to consider:

  • Location – Is it important for you to live on the beach or in a city? Are you moving down the street or across the country? Think about your ideal lifestyle and what physical place will help you achieve these goals. 
  • Community – Moving gives you the chance to develop new relationships with those around you. What opportunities to get involved with the community are there to help enrich your retired life? 
  • Transportation – Make sure your new location enables you to move and groove the way you want to, whether that’s through adequate highway access, wide bike lanes, or a stellar public transportation system. 

Reassess Your Personal Belongings 

If you’ve lived in the same house for a long time, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of stuff throughout the years.

Here are some ideas on dealing with decades-old stuff and simplifying your life: 

  • Tidy up – Keep sentimental and essential items but get rid of the clutter. The more you remove what you don’t need, the more you’ll be able to enjoy what is important to you. If parting with your things is more difficult than you anticipated, read a book for decluttering your life to find more tips and tricks that may help you.
  • Designate storage spaces – You’ll need to ensure the items that you keep have a place to go. If you’re storing your things at home, be sure they are stored properly and in an organized fashion for easy access. If you decide to pay for a storage unit, make sure that cost is reflected in your budget.
  • Understand size – Measure any old furniture that you’d like to transfer to make sure it fits in your new house, both in terms of space and dimensions (because you can’t chop that giant corner sofa in half). If you find that some of your valuable items aren’t a good fit, sell your furniture online and funnel your profits back into your new furniture budget!

Prepare for The Future

Do yourself a favor by prioritizing accessibility in your new home. Think about whether you’ll eventually need features like non-slip floors for your kitchen or grab bars for your bathroom. It’s also a good idea to look at single-floor houses so you won’t ever have to worry about navigating a flight of stairs. 

It never hurts to be proactive, and you may thank yourself later! 

The Big Move

You may feel a flood of bittersweet emotions once you start moving somewhere new and letting go of the old. This experience can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. Remember that you don’t have to do it alone—lean on the support systems in your life like family, friends, or specialized professionals to help make your experience easier. 

Happy downsizing!