Baby Boomer retirement: Being smarter about going smaller

Move into something more low maintenance? Or hang onto space for sleepovers with the grandkids?

It’s a quandary many Baby Boomers are grappling with these days, and it’s certainly not one easily resolved. But those questions are just one part of the downsizing puzzle.

Beyond determining how much square footage retirees want to maintain into their golden years, there are other financial and lifestyle elements to consider. 

Is the existing home well-suited to be listed at this time? If it is in need of significant upgrades or located in a sluggish market, it may not make sense to put up that “for sale” sign quite yet. 

Do the economics of the potential new home itself make sense? A move to a smaller home will likely reduce not only the mortgage payment, but also the utilities and homeowners insurance. However, property tax can vary greatly within a move of just a few miles, and of course income tax changes resulting from a relocation can have tremendous impact on household finances. 

Will a move allow for fewer automobiles, or perhaps eliminate the need for a car altogether? The ability to be near public transit or in a walkable environment can save fuel and maintenance dollars, even on vehicles that have been paid off. 

Would there be access to good, affordable health care near the new digs? This is to be considered within the confines of any insurance coverage network, which may be more limiting in one location over another. 

Lastly, of course, there are the intangibles. The ability to throw roots in a new area that is still accommodating to things that matter to the Baby Boomer – from social opportunities and recreation to culture and dining – cannot be overlooked when weighing the pros versus the cons of downsizing. 

After all, what fun is having the grandkids over if grandma and grandpa are bored and cranky?