Many people face the decision of when it is time to downsize. Should this be a purely financial decision? What is the value of a home that is familiar, comfortable and full of family memories? For many there are practical decisions to be made. Is the home to large to care for on a daily basis? Are there stairs that are problematic for the homeowner? Is the upkeep of land or landscaping challenging?
Other considerations are important as well. Are there adult children who have maybe moved away? Would moving closer to them make more sense for support if needed or just having more time with family?
Additional considerations should be made such as location; proximity to good healthcare, distance or access to good doctors and medical facilities. Can you easily access the healthcare you need now and in the future? Will you need to drive? Are there transportation options available to you in the future if you can’t drive? Are you close enough to relatives when you may need transportation assistance in the future?
These decisions can be difficult. We can be very attached to our homes for sentimental reasons even if they have become difficult or expensive to maintain. In a recent senior survey conducted by Merrill Lynch, just over half downsized in order to minimize living costs and maintenance of a larger home or property.
The decision to age in place or downsize is a considerable one. A possible strategy to making the decision is figuring out the pros and cons of each option. Determining if the house itself meets your needs? Is it safe? Is the space accessible to you and will it be in the future? If the answer is no, can these problems be remediated? Can your home be modified to meet your needs. There are many helpful products and assistive technologies on the market that can help with these challenges.
If you feel your home meets these needs, the last consideration is financial. Are you now and will you be financially comfortable in the future? If utility costs, property taxes, or unexpected repairs are needed, can you comfortably absorb these expenses and maintain your quality of life. Will you still have money for the things that give your life meaning like hobbies, regular entertainment and travel? Are you prepared should you need in home care?
For more information on in home support and care planning you can visit www.wholelifehomecare.com to give you an idea of services you may need or call to speak to someone about how best to financially plan for possible in home care needs at 858-369-5930.
If your housing expenses are keeping you from enjoying your life a downsize might be worth considering. Moving to be closer to family, healthcare or to have more income for meaningful activities may be worth it.
If you make the decision to downsize make it worthwhile and ensure that your next living choice will be sustainable for you in the future. There will be expenses associated with selling your home and moving. So prepare for those in advance. Be aware of any property tax differences, home owner association fees etc. before picking your next location.
If you come to the decision that your current home will suit your needs but your income may not be enough to sustain your current lifestyle you have options. Some choose to take advantage of a reverse mortgage.
A reverse mortgage has certain criteria you must meet such as an age requirement of being at least 62 years of age. You can access the equity you have built in your home and have multiple options available as to how you want to use those funds. You can request a line of credit, receive monthly payments or get a lump sum. A reverse mortgage is really a loan which is then repaid when your home is eventually sold.
Caution should be taken with a reverse mortgage as it can be a difficult loan to qualify for as well as a costly loan. A recent Huffington Post article discuses these considerations. Whatever you choose just be sure it is what is right for you.