Seniors Downsizing in Retirement
It is raining today, so we have decided to call into a local market, buy a deliciously decadent cake and take it to our friends in the country. This is their first week in their ‘new’ hinterland home.
They sold their suburban home in order to move to a country property with acreage. Whilst the house itself needs a lot of work, its charming potential is already apparent. And it is safe to say that their retirement will now be full of interesting projects to work on.
So, is a move after retirement on the cards for you? And would it constitute a downsizing move or just a relocation to a different area?
Any move can require a lot of energy, both physical and mental. Moving after retirement comes with its own set of stresses and unknowns.
In our case, we downsized as well as moved interstate. It did involve a lot of work but I must say that after the move, our household workload was noticeably more manageable.
Once we had decided to move, we needed to let all of our friends and extended family members know the new address. A set of pre-printed postcards, like this one below (affiliate link), would definitely have come in handy:
Is Moving After Retirement a Good Idea?
So what are the pros and cons of relocation, of moving house after retirement?
Cons of Relocating After Retiring
- If the move is a significant distance away, it would mean leaving friends behind and possibly family.
- Any move comes with its own set of costs. In Australia, stamp duty has to be paid on the new property. And then there is the cost of using a removalist company.
- If the move is interstate, insurances will need to be updated along with vehicle registrations etc.. Sometimes this can lead to an increase in insurance premiums.
- Moving takes a lot of effort, unless you can afford to get a company to do it all for you. Even then, it still consumes a lot of mental and physical energy. A company can only do so much in the relocation process.
- You might really really like the house you currently reside in. Leaving it behind might not be worth it.
- Sometimes one partner is reluctant to move even if the other is keen.
Pros of Moving House in Retirement
On the other hand, relocation can present many varied advantages for retirees.
- A relocation allows you to explore new areas that might previously have been out of the question because of work proximity requirements.
- New areas can bring new hobbies or pursuits. For example, if you do move closer to the ocean or a lake, you could now take part in water sports. You might be able to acquire a boat or a yacht. On the other hand moving to a country area could facilitate new hobbies such as hiking or even horse riding. A new area can present so many things to do when retired.
- A relocation can provide the opportunity to downsize.Perhaps the big house is no longer needed. A somewhat smaller home can mean less cleaning not to mention reduced maintenance. This equates to a freeing up of your own time.
- Downsizing can free up funds tied up in the larger property. This can bolster retirement-income-generating accounts.
- A smaller home will normally come with lower utility costs.
- It might mean that you can move closer to other family members.
- You could end up moving to a house that better facilitates travel. For example, you might move to an apartment block that is managed by a body corporate. That would make it easier to lock up and go, knowing that the gardens are managed and the property looked after.
- It is possible that a different area has a better climate. We moved from Victoria to Queensland to enjoy the warmer days that are typical of localities further north and closer to the sea.
- Your new home might be in an area that provides better access to medical facilities.
- Your new property might have more storage area …. for your newly acquired caravan for example.
What Do Other Retirees Think About Downsizing in Retirement?
They were looking at downsizing preferences of Australians aged 55 or older (affiliate link).
For the sake of this research, the term downsizing referred to both internal and external living spaces.
There were 2,422 people, aged 55+, who participated in the survey.
26% of this cohort had downsized and an additional 29% had considered it. Slightly more singles than couples had decided to downsize.
But what we are really interested in are the reasons that seniors gave for choosing to downsize. They cited considerations that came under the following broad headings:
- Reducing property maintenance
- Having to relocate
So where did people tend to move to?
It appears that people were more likely to move to a different neighbourhood rather than somewhere else in the same area. It was found that 42% moved to new areas, 37% to another area but one that they were already familiar with, while only 24% downsized somewhere within the same neighbourhood.
What do you think about downsizing your home for retirement? Of course relocating after retirement doesn’t have to mean downsizing. Some people choose to move to a bigger property which means they end up with more to look after but they are happy to do so. Take our move-to-the-country friends, for example.
Moving Home Inventory Apps When Relocating
If you do decide to move or have already decided to make the big change, then you might like to try one of the apps available to help you organise everything.
One popular App that is available on both Android as well as Apple devices is Encircle Home Inventory. I believe it is free for a couple of properties but you would need to check if this restriction has changed.
An app like this allows you to upload photos of home items and add notes to each as required. It provides a great way to stay organised so that you can quickly decide where items should go in the new home. It also means that you can have an organised home inventory listing to provide your insurance company when insuring your contents.
You can use a mobile device or your computer to access and manage the inventory app.
Another app that you can use to stay on top of organising home contents is Sortly. This app does have a premium version as well as the free version if you want to access additional functionality. It is also available on both platforms.
Both apps, and others like them, provide a very handy checklist as you pack up, move and then resettle in your new home with greater ease.
Retirees Making New Friends After Moving
I think any relocation can be exciting.
Daunting? For sure, especially if you are moving after retirement!
Nonetheless it can be something to really look forward to and embrace with enthusiasm.
Have you have now weighed up your own pros and cons of moving after retirement and decided to take the plunge? If so, then the following tips can help you make friends more quickly once you have relocated:
Some ideas that can help you become more a part of the ‘new’ local community include:
Getting to Know the Neighbourhood Community
- U3A – Enrolling in Courses to Extend Your Knowledge
You could join U3A (University of the Third Age). It is known as U3A in Australia but I believe the concept exists in the United States, Europe and Asia, perhaps with a slightly different title.
Seniors can enrol for a very small cost here, somewhere in the vicinity of $40 or so for the year. They can then choose from any number of courses that are on offer in their area. Volunteers give up their time to deliver these courses. These wonderful people give up their time to share their acquired expertise with senior students. It’s a great way to widen your circle of friendships.
- Meetups – Joining Interest Groups
These can also be found worldwide. What a fantastic idea!
When you move into your new area, simple go to www.meetup.com and search for one of your hobbies or interests. The search can be limited to your current area only or you can include the wider surroundings as well. You will then be presented with a listing of any and all groups of like-minded people who meet on a regular basis to explore and enjoy their hobby or interest.
You might be into share trading, for example, or political discussions, cooking, dancing, learning a language or any number of other interests. Voila, there is something for everyone.
- Dog Walking
We have found that walking around a new neighbourhood with your dog(s) is a great way to meet new people in your area. The dog somehow breaks the ice. People you meet on the walk are more inclined to strike up a conversation when they see your cute little Fido.
- Door Knocking
We once had a neighbour who was fantastic at this, not shy at all. She would readily knock on the door of a new neighbour to introduce herself and welcome them into the area. And vice versa. Any time she moved to a new locality herself, it wasn’t long before she had door-knocked, up and down the street, to introduce herself. This led to many a street party or get-together.
Overcoming shyness is the key to meeting new friends when moving after retirement.
Being willing to embrace new experiences, as you embark on this journey of moving house, will pave the way nicely for you.