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Should You Downsize in Retirement?

Here’s a piece asking if you should downsize in retirement

It goes through a discussion of the pros and cons of going from a large house to a smaller one in retirement.

We are having this discussion in our home. We have a large, 3,700 square foot house that is too big for four people, much less two (the kids aren’t fully out yet, but both are close).

So we’ve been batting around whether to stay put or sell and downsize.

For now we’ve decided to stay put until we see where the kids land. If they remain in our town we’ll probably stay in our home since the market is white hot and while we could make good money selling our home, we’d have trouble finding a place we’d like (size, location, etc.) at a reasonable price.

We’ve also talked about moving to an apartment, which would give us more travel flexibility (not having to worry about a stand-alone house) but we’re not sure we could deal easily with close neighbors.

Here are some of the other issues we’ve been considering:

  • Obviously when you downsize a lot of your life becomes easier. There’s not as much to clean and maintain. There’s not as much yard to mow or driveway to shovel (moving to an apartment or condo would eliminate these completely). A lot of the hassles with owning a large home would go away.
  • So would a lot of the costs. Maintenance. Taxes. Insurance. Utilities. All would decline sharply or disappear completely.
  • That said, a house gives you a lot of freedom. You can change it how you want. You have privacy. Your neighbors, while still close to you, are not attached to your dwelling physically. You can select from neighborhoods you prefer (limited a bit with apartments).
  • You also have plenty of space. You can have friends or family come and visit and there’s plenty of room for all. Right now our basement has a bedroom, full bath, small mini-kitchen, small living room, and an entertainment room. It’s perfect for guests as they have their own place to stay when visiting us.
  • In addition to what sort of place to live in, we’d need to decide where to live. We love Colorado, but if our kids were far away, we’d probably want to live closer. And while I’ve pretty much eliminated the option, buying a place in the Caribbean still comes to mind now and then.

Those are our random thoughts on downsizing in retirement. What do you think about them? And what about your own retirement? Have you downsized in retirement or are you planning to when you do retire?

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