Housing Changes

Housing Changes — Addressing Your Home Needs


Housing Changes — Addressing Your Home Needs

When you create your retirement budget, you may find that one of your largest expense items is housing. Although retiring can be a big lifestyle change, it may not require a sudden need to move to another location or a smaller house. For many, housing transitions tend to be more gradual, with decisions made over several years.

Many retirees choose to stay in their current homes and have the resources to do so. Others need to move or downsize because of finances, health issues or family issues. Still others may just want a fresh start or “less house” now that the nest is empty. It’s a dynamic situation.

Many retirees find there are financial advantages to downsizing.

Deciding to downsize

Most people know when their current home no longer matches their needs and lifestyle. So if downsizing feels like the right thing to do, it may be easier to make the move when you’ve still got a choice, rather than waiting until you’re forced to change due to illness or finances.

Many retirees find that there are financial advantages to downsizing, including reduced monthly mortgage payments, and lower property taxes, utilities and insurance premiums. If you own your home free and clear, selling could provide a profit even after buying a new, smaller place. The extra money added to your retirement accounts could help increase your nest egg.

As you mull over the pros and cons, here are a few things to consider:

  • Physical needs — Do you still need four bedrooms now that it’s just you and your spouse? Is the constant stair climbing wearing you out?
  • Maintenance — If you’re living in a large home with a yard, do you want to continue to pay for upkeep like painting, snow removal, repairs and yard work? Would a condo or townhome be a better fit?
  • Location — Is your home close to your new interests, or would it be more convenient to live someplace else? Do you want to be closer to family? Would living in the city make more sense than your house in the suburbs?
  • Social activities — Would living in a planned community offering recreational and social activities keep you more engaged and active?

Memories last wherever you are

Moving from a home you’ve been in for many years can be difficult. Sometimes, memories can keep you from making a change. Housing costs are a significant part of your budget, so if it makes financial sense, downsizing could help you live a more comfortable and secure retirement in the long run.