Top down­siz­ing tips for se­niors

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - DEAR MONTY Con­tact Richard Mont­gomery at

Reader ques­tion: We are con­sid­er­ing down­siz­ing our home. We are in our mid60s and in good health, but some­thing smaller and in a more mod­er­ate cli­mate keeps mak­ing more sense. We have dif­fer­ent ideas about the best meth­ods to sort this all out. Do you have any ad­vice that may sim­plify the process? — John and Donna F.

Monty’s an­swer: Down­siz­ing can in­volve prickly de­ci­sions when plan­ning a life­style change. Fam­ily, friends, and neigh­bors will of­ten weigh in with the best so­lu­tion for you. While ad­vice can be con­flict­ing, each point of­ten has a solid foun­da­tion. Not ev­ery­one needs to or wants to down­size, and there are some pit­falls to avoid for those who de­cide to make a move. Here are some ba­sic tips that may help the de­ci­sion­mak­ing process suc­ceed.

First, get your pri­or­i­ties down on a sheet of pa­per. Rank them and con­sider ad­vice against your pri­or­i­ties. What are the im­por­tant fac­tors in your lives? Keep the op­tion of stay­ing put in the mix.

Con­sider spend­ing time in your fi­nal­ist des­ti­na­tions. If you have been there be­fore, you may see it dif­fer­ently as your per­ma­nent home.

Dis­cover what lo­cals have learned about living there. Lo­ca­tion-based in­for­ma­tion is plen­ti­ful on the In­ter­net; for ex­am­ple, cost-of-living com­par­i­son sites have done help­ful re­search for you.

Nail­ing down a lo­ca­tion sim­pli­fies the rest of the process. If you do not agree on the lo­ca­tion, con­sider rent­ing a place in fi­nal­ist com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing their best (or worst) sea­son of the year.

De­velop a plan. If we de­cide to make a move, what is the process? Do our fi­nan­cial re­sources limit our choices in how we pro­ceed? What is the value of our cur­rent home? What will our fu­ture home cost? Can we save money rent­ing in the new lo­ca­tion? Should we sell our home and store (or sell) our fur­ni­ture and rent in the new lo­ca­tion for a year to get ac­quainted? Should we keep our home as a fall­back in case we come to be­lieve we made an er­ror? Should we make a clean break?

Test dif­fer­ent op­tions. There are a va­ri­ety of choices — in­clud­ing over 55 com­mu­ni­ties, apart­ment-style flats, high­rises, gated com­mu­ni­ties, sin­gle-fam­ily sub­di­vi­sions and even op­tions you may not have re­al­ized ex­ist. If you de­cide to test living in a new city, con­sider rent­ing a dif­fer­ent life­style in each city.

We of­ten put off deal­ing with our fu­ture hous­ing needs. For many of us, our home is com­fort­able, and mov­ing takes work. The hap­pi­est and most sat­is­fied peo­ple in re­tire­ment are those who are well in­formed.

— More Con­tent Now

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