Retirement might be overwhelming for some or an exciting change for others. It may be the time to cross activities off the bucket list, move closer to family, or relax comfortably in a recliner chair. Although there might be many opportunities to look forward to, the cost of retirement is most likely not one of them. You might be living on Social Security benefits and savings, but every individual situation is different. Downsizing in retirement might be something to consider for more than one reason.
Too much space
You might still be living in a large family home from when you were raising a family. Now that all the children have left the nest, it may not be necessary to have that extra space. A larger home means more cleaning and more to keep up with. There may be three bedrooms that have not been used or a formal living room with furniture that has not been sat on in years. You may still vacuum and dust every room, keeping it looking brand new, only for them not to be used.
Less strain on your body
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of four older people fall each year, and one out of five falls cause serious injury. Stairs or clutter can make it dangerous to carry a vacuum or heavier object throughout the home. Large homes may also have high storage shelves, so trying to reach up high to put an item away could strain your back or neck.
Any injury that can happen from simple daily chores can be detrimental. It strains body and may make it difficult to perform necessary activities such as driving.
The unnecessary space, large yard, and high possibility of injury may lead you to out-source daily chores. Pushing a lawnmower in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter can be exhausting and time-consuming. It is easier to pick up the phone and hire a team to take care of those services. However, hiring a team means more money you are spending. You already have your mortgage, bills, insurance, and various other necessities that you are budgeting for.
Downsizing to a more fitting home with a smaller yard or even an apartment with no yard might be something to think about.
Costs in bills
According to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, an average retired couple age 65 in 2020 may need approximately $295,000 saved to cover health care expenses in retirement. Depending on where you live, mortgage/rent, car insurance, health insurance, phone bill, and all other bills tied to home can put you over the edge on spending. It is not easy to plan for things you enjoy while worrying about budgeting and making payments. Minimizing the amount of bills by downsizing may be more beneficial financially.
More time for you
There might be places you would like to visit or the family in another state that you would like to see more often. When you do not have a large yard to tend to and a big house to clean and pay for, the more opportunities you may have to travel and do activities.
According to AARP research, about 53% of retired Boomers were planning 4 or 5 leisure trips and an average of $7,800 was expected to be spent on vacations in 2020. Traveling is not cheap when airfare/gas, food, activities, and stay are added together. If traveling is in the plans or just having more money and time to do activities, downsizing your home may make those desires more reachable.
Downsizing in retirement might force you to go through your items and decide what to keep and what to toss. It can also be stressful looking for a new home, but there can be positives at the same time. It may put more money in your pocket and more time in your schedule.