Tips for Downsizing in Retirement: How This Can Benefit Your Health and Your Finances

Everyone acquires stuff as they go. Finding a place for that stuff is a big part of life, and over a long life spent working for a living, raising kids, and everything else that goes along with it, you’ve probably got a big house packed to the rafters with all your stuff. 

Yet once you retire, you might not need all this extra space – or all this extra stuff! In fact, far from making you happy, the over-abundance of stuff may actually add stress. You might not realize it, but downsizing has benefits that go beyond simply being blissfully decluttered. Downsizing may even benefit your health and your finances as well. Here’s what seniors should know about downsizing in retirement.

This article will contain tips and reasons why seniors should consider downsizing your home. Use these tips when thinking about your future, talking to a spouse, or starting a conversation with your children about why you are considering selling your home and moving into an independent living community.

Downsizing Saves You Money

a family packing boxes to downsize

It makes sense to want to live out your retirement in your existing home. You’ve lived there for years, you know and love the place, and the number of good memories you have from raising a family there is a constant source of happiness. But all those empty rooms add up, especially when it comes to the financial costs of maintaining a large home that used to be teeming with life but is now more of an empty nest. And it’s hard saving money after retirement if you’re taking care of a large house that eats up all your cash!

There’s no way around the problem. Larger spaces cost more to heat in the winter and cool in the summer, and that means you’ll be paying more when it comes to your utilities. Things like trash removal, lawn maintenance, and even shoveling the driveway in winter are either exhausting, expensive, or both. What happens if a water heater goes, or the roof? And the less said about property taxes, the better.

Tip: Remove or lower your monthly maintenance costs! If you downsize to an independent living community, you won’t be responsible for unexpected costs or weather-related expenses. And as a bonus, you no longer need to worry about manual labor or hiring someone to do the labor for you. This helps you spend your retirement savings more on enjoying your retirement.

Downsizing Keeps You Safer and Healthier

Costs are not the only reason to downsize. Another factor is safety. We have to remember we are going to age, and when we do, larger homes can post problems, such as requiring us to walk up and down staircases or stepping over a tub to shower.

Tip: If you want to avoid personal safety issues that arise from living in a home that isn’t the best at accommodating us as we age, consider moving to an independent living community. It’s easier to downsize than to recover from a twister ankle, pulled muscle, or worse. Retirement communities are built for the specific purpose of making us comfortable and safe as we age.

Think one-floor construction and bathroom safety bars, for example. Even if you’re in great health, one accident can cause weeks or even months of painful recovery – it’s better to avoid the issue altogether!

Downsizing Controls Healthcare Costs

Speaking of living your best, healthiest life, it’s important to make sure you have access to affordable healthcare. Any senior knows that Medicare is great for what it covers, but it’s far from perfect. Having to pay out of pocket for medical costs is a sure way to drain your retirement savings unless you have additional protection. Since our healthcare needs will naturally change as we get older, it’s important to plan ahead for any alterations. If you’re already paying more than necessarily to maintain your home, you may have fewer resources available in the event you have a medical issue.

Tip: If you are considering downsizing, look into a CCRC. What is that? Some communities, known as continuing care retirement communities (CCRC’s), operate along practices known as continuity of care. This means that, should you ever need a higher level of care such as assisted living or skilled nursing care, you will receive it for no change to your existing fee. You will receive a continuity of care. Instead of having to transition to different communities with the resources you need, one campus can provide everything, in the environment you’re already comfortable in.

Helping You Live Your Best Life in Retirement

Painting in an art studio

Deciding to let things go and moving out of your existing home to a retirement community helps you in even more ways. Many of us can feel isolated in the neighborhoods of our family homes. Retirement communities resolve that concern. Not only are most amenities you would want provided, from of course TV and internet to fitness centers, often pools, and other great features, but they also offer wonderful socialization opportunities. Club houses, game rooms, reading rooms, woodworking shops, walking trails, various restaurants, and so much more. You can also take classes to learn or improve hobbies such as art or a new language, enjoy excursions, and so many other activities. You’ll certainly never be bored, and it’s much better than keeping busy by repairing your house. offer are incredible. They’re perfect for enjoying yourself, thanks to the sheer variety.

Tip: Seniors can downsize utilities and items that are functional necessities, so that you can free up space for keepsakes and meaningful items. For example, ditch snow shovels and garden hoses for scrapbooks and woodworking tools, or whatever hobby you enjoy.

Use These Tips to Start Downsizing Today

Downsizing in retirement helps in so many ways. You’re spending less money, which frees you up to put resources toward what really matters. You have better access to quality medical care and amenities that let you build up your health and wellbeing. You’ve got untold opportunities for enjoying the company of others. All of these benefits surely outweigh staying in your old home, and you can take your beloved memories with you free of charge.

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