Is it Time To Downsize Your Home?
Older age comes with several important considerations and decisions, one of which is when is it time to downsize? Most people assume they will start downsizing once their last child has flown the coop, but the truth is that many homeowners put off the inevitable for as long as possible. In fact, just as boomers rebelled against the system in the 1960s and 70s, they’re doing so a second time around in their near-retirement years. Nearly half of all boomers say they never plan to move out of their family homes, while the other half claim to want to stay until they retire — and many are not retiring until they’re in their 70s.
While it’s all well and good to buck expectations and stay in your home through your golden years, you must ask yourself if doing so is really the best decision for your physical health, mental well-being and wallet. If you struggle to be honest with yourself, look for these five telltale signs it’s time to downsize.
Your Monthly Housing Expenses Exceed 30% of Your Income
The general rule of thumb is that your monthly housing expenses should never exceed 30% of your monthly income. Housing expenses include everything from your mortgage to utility bills to maintenance costs. Once costs exceed 30% of your income — whether because you live on a reduced income, your housing costs went up or both — your home starts to become unaffordable.
If your housing costs eat up much of your budget, and if you find yourself constantly stressing over money because you have yet to figure out how to live on a fixed income, it may be time to downsize to a smaller space. Though doing so may be difficult at first, it is well worth it to relieve yourself of that financial burden.
You Cannot Keep Up With the Maintenance
When home maintenance tasks and repairs create both a physical and financial burden for you, it may be time to downsize. While it is common for certain home maintenance chores to fall outside the realm of a homeowner’s physical and financial comfort zones, when all or most of the chores create a hardship for you, it may be a sign it’s time to downsize. It makes little sense for you to stay in a home that causes you significant frustration when you can easily find something much more manageable and affordable.
You Have Multiple Guestrooms but Few Guests
Once the kids are grown and you fully retired, you were finally able to convert all those spaces into the guestrooms you’ve always wanted but could never have. However, now that you have the space to host friends and family from far away, everyone is too busy to stay for more than just a few hours. As a result, your guestrooms sit empty, collecting dust — or, worse yet, junk.
If you have no real use for several extra rooms in your home, stop letting their emptiness despair or frustrate you. Rather, take them as a sign that it’s time to downsize.
You Crave Simplicity
One of the most common and simplest reasons to downsize is that doing so can simplify your life. From reducing your expenses to eliminating many home maintenance tasks to removing the emotional reminders that the kids are grown, there are several ways downsizing can make your life easier.
You’re Never Home
Finally, one of the biggest signs that it’s time to move into a smaller abode is the fact that you are never home in the first place. Now that your job no longer ties you to any one location, you find yourself traveling the globe, bunking up with friends and family along the way. If this is the case, consider cashing in on your home’s equity, purchasing a small “landing place” and enjoying your newfound freedom.
The decision to downsize is a big one and one you should not make lightly. However, if you notice any of the above signs, you can likely feel confident in the fact that it’s time to move on.