Retire Into More Quality Time by Downsizing
Living in the large family home as the homeowner ages virtually guarantees that the property becomes more and more a genuine chore to take care of. Eying retirement from that big house with the big lawn isn’t an ideal vantage point for most, which is where downsizing comes into play. Even in retirement, your home is likely to be your biggest expense. Downsizing enables retirees to spend more time with their families, engage in leisure pursuits and personal development, and make their communities better places to live.
Changing the way you live during retirement by downsizing doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, most retirees who have more leisure time than more stuff find their golden years filled with enjoyment, just one of the many merits for retirees and those soon to retire. This is especially true today, as 77 million Baby Boomers head into retirement, only to find that the traditional definition of retirement has been turned on its head. Nearly two thirds of workers 55 and older have less than $100,000 saved for their golden years, according to a recent study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. And 56 percent of those workers who are already retired have less than $50,000 to last them for the rest of their life.
Instead of the golden years representing full-time leisure, a large proportion of retirees will find “second act” careers during this time. Many older workers retire from one job only to take on another, often well before age 65, or else move into a new career in unpaid civic engagement. This “gradual retirement” is sometimes intentional, as activity is now deemed more virtuous than all-out leisure, but the importance of being able to choose one over the other remains a high priority for those who have earned it over a lifetime of work.
It could be argued that longer life expectancy and early retirement for some mean more Americans may spend more than a quarter of their life in retirement. This can be an expensive proposition, even to the point of infeasibility. But one of the benefits of downsizing is the economic advantage of living with less. Downsizing calls for living a lifestyle that is comparable to pre-retirement, yet with potentially tremendous cost savings. In the end, this means less or no need for continued income into retirement, freeing up time to enjoy hobbies, recreation and other interests. Of course, downsizing and selling a more-expensive home to purchase a smaller, less-expensive home can generate the money to finance retirement.
Going the condo route as part of a downsizing strategy offers many rewards as well. In general, safety and security concerns are minimized, leisure time is maximized, and there is less concern for keeping up on house and landscaping maintenance services. More social opportunities also exist in condo communities.
If your retirement plans include wanting more time to have more fun, downsizing is the ticket.