The pros and cons of downsizing

Downsizing from the family home is an opportunity to imagine a new chapter but every person’s journey is different.

Weighing up the pros and cons of downsizing will help you to decide whether it’s the right time and the right move.

Important considerations include:

  • Your finances
  • Your current and future wellbeing
  • Simplicity
  • Location

Think about finances

CON: Downsizing usually involves selling the family home which families may have an attachment to.

PRO: The potential financial rewards extend beyond the capital gains on the home. As well as any profit made from the sale, a new, smaller and more modern home will cost less to run, with savings to be made on utility bills, insurance, council rates and ongoing maintenance. Everything else being equal, it means that the main financial dilemma faced after downsizing is what to do with all the extra money!

Think about wellbeing

CON: The burden of a big house and garden can weigh you down.

PRO: Without the ongoing stress of living with the demands of a big house and garden, those who downsize will often feel an immediate improvement in their health, wellbeing and happiness.

Downsizing is designed to give residents more time to do the things they love. It also frees up time to take on new hobbies or rediscover old ones; socialise with friends and family; become more involved in the community; or simply pack the bags and go exploring – all contributing to an improvement in mental health and wellbeing.

 

Think about simplicity

CON: One undeniable fact about downsizing is that it almost always involves discarding some household possessions.

PRO: Instead of viewing this as a loss, this can actually be a gain – both financially and emotionally. With the advent of online marketplaces such as eBay and Gumtree. com, downsizing offers the chance to make some extra cash from selling unwanted furniture, households goods, garden equipment, even clothes. There is also the personal satisfaction that can be gained from donating unwanted items to charity or giving heirlooms to family members.

Once they make a start, many downsizers find the whole de-cluttering process quite therapeutic, with the sense of renewal that comes with saying farewell to the old lifestyle and welcoming in a new one.

Think about location

CON: Moving to a new neighbourhood comes with stresses and benefits – it all comes down to finding a location that suits your interests and needs.

PRO: To some, a new location is all part of the adventure; to others it’s tricky, but local governments and seniors organisations are always happy to help new residents settle in and orient themselves to their new community. In lifestyle communities, the management team or social committees are often a rich source of information and can connect you to information, care and advice. If staying local, there generally should be minimal issues with finding new services and facilities.

Many communities have the added benefit of increased security, delivering greater peace-of-mind around the clock, and an events program. And it is these benefits to wellbeing and happiness that are probably most important of all.

Downsizing tool kit

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