Downsizing in Your 60s: A Guide for Retirees

Making the decision to downsize for retirement is no easy task. It requires a lot of forethought and planning, and can stir up a lot of emotions as well. But no matter your reason for downsizing, there are resources and tips out there to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

3 Reasons for Downsizing in Your 60s

As you approach your 60s, it’s natural to wonder how retirement will change your financial situation and overall lifestyle. Here are some of the most common reasons older adults choose to downsize when they hit retirement age:

Financial Benefits

One of the top reasons retirees choose to downsize is to save money. As the nest empties and less space is needed to live comfortably, opting to transition to cheaper housing is a great way to lower costs and increase retirement savings. Cashflow from selling your current home, a cheaper mortgage or monthly rent, and lower utility bills are all financial benefits you can expect when you downsize. 

Simpler Living

Downsizing to a smaller home or apartment often means less maintenance and upkeep that can become more of a hassle as you get older. And by saving money on a cheaper mortgage or rent, there’s more budget to dedicate to services like lawn care, housekeeping, maintenance, etc. which means you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying yourself, and less time on chores and house work. 

Greater Support

Another important consideration when making the decision to downsize is your health and wellbeing. It’s a fact of life that, as you age, tasks that were once simple can become more difficult, especially for seniors with physical or cognitive impairments like dementia. For seniors who may want or need greater support in their day-to-day, a senior living community is a great downsizing option. 

Read: Moving & Settling Parents Into Assisted Living

How to Downsize for Retirement

With so many moving parts and factors to consider, downsizing for retirement can feel really overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you’re prepared for each step of the process. Here are some of the major steps you’ll go through in the downsizing process that you’ll want to adequately prepare for:

Document a Plan

Before you make any actionable decisions, it’s important to organize your thoughts and ideas in one place you can reference as you downsize. The first few questions you’ll want to ask yourself are:

  • What does the timeline for downsizing look like? 
  • Do you want to stay in your current area, or are you considering relocating?
  • What kind of home would you like or need? A house? A condo? An apartment? 
  • How much space do you need to be comfortable? One bedroom? Two? Three?
  • Are there other must-haves that will factor into your decision?
  • How much money can you budget for downsizing and relocation?

Creating a clear, organized plan that you and your partner (if you have one) are comfortable with is key to getting the downsizing process started on the right foot. 

Sell Your Current Home

It can take some time to get your home ready to list and sell. Working with a real estate agent can help make the process a bit easier, but keep in mind that a portion of the sale price will go toward their commission, which will impact your total financial gains. 

Declutter by Donating or Selling Items

One of the hardest steps of downsizing is getting rid of items you no longer need and won’t have the space to keep. Letting go of possessions you’ve acquired over the last 20, 30, 50 years is an emotional process. Give yourself time and grace to deal with feelings of sadness and anxiety, and lean on those you care about most for support. If you’re struggling to part with certain items right away, consider renting a storage unit for a few months following your move to give yourself more time to make those decisions. 

Read: Helping a Loved One Downsize 

Once you’ve decided which possessions you can live without, there are many resources and platforms to help you get rid of those items. Apps and websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, and more make it easier than ever to sell items quickly. A good old fashioned yard sale is also a great way to get rid of clutter and make some extra cash you can put toward other downsizing costs. In addition to selling items, you can also donate to organizations like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or even local shelters in your area. 

Move to Your New Home

The final step in the downsizing process is actually moving into your new home. Be sure to dedicate adequate time and budget to packing and moving materials and services. There are companies that can help you through each step of the move, including packing and unpacking all of your items, to make the transition as easy as possible.

Downsize to New Perspective Senior Living 

For retirees looking to downsize, New Perspective offers a variety of housing and service options to meet each person’s lifestyle. Whether you’re an active senior looking to live independently while engaging with a community of peers, or you require more hands-on assistance with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and laundry, New Perspective has communities designed to meet your needs.
Learn more about New Perspective’s independent living, assisted living, and memory care services, and find a community near you today!