Pros and Cons of Downsizing at Retirement

When the time comes to retire, it can be tempting to downsize your home to something smaller. As the family have now all grown and flown the nest, you likely have more space than you know what to do with. Then there’s the cost saving benefits to consider. However, before you make a decision, it helps to know all of the pros and cons of downsizing at retirement. This will help you to make the best choice to suit your needs.

Understanding the pros

There are many potential benefits that come with downsizing, with the most obvious one being the money you will save. A smaller home means you will use less energy, helping to lower your utility bills. You will also likely have a good amount of money left over after selling your family home. This enables you to live a more comfortable lifestyle.

Smaller homes are also easier to get around. You need to consider safety aspects of getting older. It is no secret that as you age you become frailer. A trip or fall can cause a lot of damage. So if you were to downsize to a bungalow for example, the lack of stairs would make the home a safer place to live out your retirement.

Downsizing can also offer social benefits. For example, you could choose to move into a small communal area. Designed especially for older residents, these communities offer low cost housing with the chance to make lots of new friends. Retirement can be lonely; particularly if you have lost your spouse or someone close to you. Therefore moving into a like-minded community will help to ease that loneliness. This option also comes with safety and cost saving benefits. There are usually wardens who check on residents and houses have panic buttons in case you need help. All maintenance is taken care of so that’s an extra expense you won’t need to worry about.

Understanding the cons

While downsizing can bring many benefits, it doesn’t come without its potential problems. It isn’t always a more cost effective option. For example, if you have paid off, or almost paid off, your mortgage, if you need to take out another mortgage on your new home, you wouldn’t have as much financial freedom. You need to work out exactly what the costs will be before you make up your mind. Take into account the fees that come with moving. Also account for any new furniture you might need. Downsizing can be more expensive than you think so it pays to be fully prepared and have a set budget in mind.

While retirement is all about change, sometimes moving to a smaller place can cause you to become really homesick. Your family home may be too large now, but it is where you have built a lot of your memories. Feeling homesick is common, though it is something that subsides in time.

Another downside if you enjoy gardening is that smaller homes come with smaller gardens. Some have no garden at all. This is something you need to really think about when looking for suitable properties.

There is also the possibility that you won’t like your new neighbours. Leaving your old friends and neighbours behind can be traumatic and it’s a lucky dip as to the type of neighbours you end up with.

So as you can see, downsizing comes with both pros and cons. You need to weigh everything up in order to determine whether it is the right option for you. Never rush into making a decision. The key to getting it right is to research and plan ahead. You might even benefit from seeking professional financial advice.


Bee Moved is a Brighton based removals and storage company which offers its service to both domestic and commercial customers.

About the author  ⁄ Mike

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