How to Downsize for Retirement

With retirement looming, kids off to college, and friends making plans for their later life it may be time to start thinking seriously about the years ahead. One of the big decisions people have to make as they near retirement age is whether they should downsize. Moving to a smaller home can release money to enable you to enjoy retirement in comfort. Here’s how you can take those first steps to downsizing your property.

Decide What You Need

When planning a downsize you’ll have several things to think about besides selling your home. You might want to be nearer members of your family or there may be a favorite place you want to spend more time. Don’t forget to think about facilities near you and to plan for five to ten years ahead. While you may enjoy a good level of fitness now, should you fall ill would that remote cabin really be such a good idea? Having shops and other amenities within walking distance of your home is practical. For some people being part of a retirement community is a positive choice whilst others decide on a smaller apartment within a city or town.

Budget for Your New Life

Once you have a retirement plan to downsize, start budgeting how much you’ll need to get by. This should include money to enjoy your interests, such as travel, as well as maintaining your daily lifestyle. You may need the help of a financial adviser to do this but it is worth setting out the money you will have on retirement in order to see the potential for downsizing and the choices you have. While it is important to budget it is also vital to ensure you don’t overstretch your finances and become unable to afford unexpected bills or vacations.

Start Clearing Your Closet

When you have a plan you may need to start clearing out any clutter and unwanted items. Think about regifting items you have enjoyed but no longer require to family and friends. Have a yard sale with unwanted things or start selling online to raise cash. Use your local thrift store to offload anything no longer of any use. Once you have had a good clear out you’ll get an idea of the space you don’t require, your home will be more appealing to buyers, and you’ll have less to pack for your move. This is also a good way to create more retirement income and savings.

Search for Your Smaller Home

If you know the area you are heading to you can start looking for a place to live. As well as the property you’ll need to check out local facilities and think about the conditions in winter when it is more difficult to get around. Do check out transportation. If there is none, how will you get around if you have to stop driving? Are there lots of steps to your new home and how will this work if you were less able to manage. You are probably fit and healthy right now but old age creeps up on everyone and factoring in these issues will avoid more moving later.

Once you have that perfect apartment or new house you’ll need to plan the date and start getting ready to settle into both a new area and lifestyle.


About Jeremy

Jeremy Wallace is founder and chief investment officer at Wallace Hart Capital Management, an independent financial services firm committed to offering comprehensive advice and customized services. Jeremy has 20 years of experience in the financial industry and is passionate about helping clients preserve and enhance their wealth so they can pursue their passions. Jeremy graduated from Emory University with a degree in international economics and a certificate in financial planning. Outside of the office, Jeremy spends most of his free time with his wife, Julie, and their three children, Isabel, Lincoln, and Reid. He is an avid Chicago Cubs baseball fan, and  he enjoys golfing with his wife and traveling with his family. Learn more about Jeremy by connecting with him on LinkedIn.