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Does Downsizing Fit in Your Retirement Plans?

I spend a lot of time visualizing my retirement. My parents are both near 80 years of age and there is no doubt that the decisions that they have made are influencing my current and future plans. They have done well: compromises have been made, investments and budgets are managed, and health concerns are attended to. They enjoyed many years of a vacation lake home before they sold it, and now they enjoy traveling. 

Does Downsizing Fit in Your Retirement Plans?

We are leaning more and more towards downsizing and moving at retirement. Communities that cater to the 55+ crowd tend to have lower home prices. I am a bit obsessed with the online realtor sites as I watch houses in one particular community enter and leave the market. Oh, we are not moving yet. We still have one child in high school.

But I see the day. Our home is large – it fits our family of eight beautifully. One day we really will be empty nesters and the equity in this home should be nearly enough to cover the cost of a smaller home sitting on a golf course in a beautiful retirement community. It would mean leaving a city that we love, a community that we have been actively a part of for nearly 30 years, and friends that we hold dear.

Living in Silicon Valley means that our housing costs are high. As I am getting older, I know more and more retirees packing up and leaving the area. Cashing out on home values here is allowing them more financial freedom to live the life they want somewhere else. I admit seeing myself move has been a transformation. I am not 100% sure that it will happen, but I see many, many benefits. So in the meantime, I watch the housing market and visualize our life in a different community. 

I do have friends that have recently sold their homes and are now opting to rent. One is retired and the other is fast approaching retirement. Homes are selling fast in our area, and they are selling for a premium. My friends are willing to cash in their equity and then rent until they have a firmer picture of their future. My one friend is calling herself a gypsy as she has tentative plans to visit a number of towns over the next 12 months. She is putting off any permanent decisions until that time – she really just wants to see where the wind may blow her. There are a lot of freedoms to be enjoyed when your children are grown and retirement becomes a reality.

Does selling your family home and downsizing fit in your retirement plans? What about proximity to children and grandchildren? Our adult children are scattered, but not yet settled. There are so many factors to consider in planning our retirement!

One day we will be making that decision. In the meantime we are enjoying our home and the children that are still living here. 

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