Does Your Home Fit Your Retirement Dreams?
Thursday Nov 14th, 2019
Whether you are just starting retirement, or winding down your work to a slower pace, it’s time to have that first conversation with your loved ones about downsizing. Hitting your early 60s is a transitional time, and it marks the perfect point at which to examine how your home is working for your current life and the life that you plan for your future.
To get you started, think about the following question...
What do I envision my retirement years to look like and what kind of home will support that vision?
Your Current Home
No doubt, your home is filled with many memories of family gatherings and baby’s first steps. Thinking about packing your things and downsizing is probably a very difficult decision to make. However, there will likely come a time where your large home becomes more of a source of stress, rather than a source of enjoyment. Many rooms are sitting empty yet still require cleaning and upkeep. The yard work and shovelling is becoming a physical or a financial drain. And, the house itself is getting older and requiring more maintenance and repairs. After many years in the same community, perhaps you are beginning to realize that the area has changed and you no longer know your neighbours and don’t feel at home in the changing demographic.
“Your Retirement Lifestyle” Task #1
Create a “Pros and Cons” list for your home. What do you love about your home? Why does it make sense to stay put? What do you dislike about your home? What aspects of your home create stress? Complete this exercise every couple of years or during a major life change. When the cons start to outweigh the pros, your decision may become more clear.
The World Traveller
If you have the fortune of good health and financial ability, you may be considering a retirement lifestyle that includes extensive travel. Perhaps your dream is to see the world and you plan to spend several months a year in exotic destinations. Or, perhaps you just can’t take the snow and ice and have opted for a waterfront condo in Florida to spend your winters. In either case, having a large house, can be a considerable source of stress and can actually take away from the enjoyment of your retirement dreams. It can be difficult to make sure a property is being properly looked after during a long absence. Heavy snowfalls, weedy gardens and extreme cold temperatures, can wreak havoc on your plans for maintenance and security.
“Your Retirement Lifestyle” Task #2
Create a travel calendar for the next several years. How long do you plan to be away? At what time of the year? Where would you like to go and will there be a significant time change? Enter the names of family members and friends who you can ask to help you with your home during these times away. Are they reliable and capable? If faced with a crisis situation, can they handle it? If this exercise is creating anxiety about caring for your current home, it may point you in the direction of making a change.
Your Everyday Life
Beyond travel, it’s so important to understand where your priorities lie when it comes to day-to-day living. A larger home can be wonderful during the holiday season when you need lots of space for overnight guests and a large dining table for family dinners. However, for the majority fo the year, it’s likely to be just you and your partner living mostly in just a few rooms. What is your ideal lifestyle? Some mature adults want to be “close to the action” and live walking distance to shops and restaurants. Others feel that having the serenity of peaceful surroundings is the only way to live, perhaps close to a lake or great walking trails. Living in a suburban neighbourhood may not bring you the daily retirement lifestyle that you are craving.
“Your Retirement Lifestyle” Task #3
Close your eyes and think about an ideal day in your retirement life. Write down the details of that day. What does the setting look like and how do you do to fill your time? Do you socialize? Exercise? Now, be honest with yourself… does your current home mesh with that vision? Where would you need to live to make that perfect day happen? A condo downtown? Or a move right out of town into a smaller, more nature-filled community.
Most of us spend many years working towards the freedom of retirement. When we arrive at that point, it is so critical to take control of our life situation and ensure our retirement dreams convert into reality. You’ve spent years creating a loving home in which to raise your family, now it time to create a loving home that supports you!