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Four Tips for Downsizing in Retirement

M Hill 2017
Michelle Stevens
Vice President, Manager - Brockport Community Office
[email protected]
(585) 851-0900 x42820

It may sound like a daunting and emotionally draining task, but downsizing could be a savvy financial move, especially if you haven't reached your retirement savings goals.

1. Set goals for downsizing

Before you make any decisions, think about why you might want to downsize. Is it to save on mortgage payments or other monthly expenses? Or are you looking to free up some cash to help pursue your lifestyle goals in retirement?

No matter what your specific goals may be, understanding the connection between them and downsizing can help motivate you to follow through with it.

2. Determine the best time to downsize

Choosing when to downsize is an important decision. One benefit of downsizing early in retirement is that mortgage payments and other related expenses could decrease. This could mean you have extra funds to pursue new hobbies and activities. You might even be fortunate enough to have sufficient funds from the sale of a larger home to pay for a smaller home with cash, thus eliminating or decreasing your mortgage payment, or significantly increasing your cash flow.

But there may be advantages to delaying downsizing. If you wait to do it later in retirement, you might have a better sense of just how much you need to downsize to support your current lifestyle. Plus, timing your downsizing plans with the real estate market could mean that you sell and/or purchase a new home at a more opportune time.

3. Research associated costs with downsizing

There are several costs to think about if you are downsizing your home: the worth of your current home, the cost of a new home, and the fees and expenses associated with relocating. You can start by contacting local real estate agents to receive estimates of your home's value. Compare the estimates to have an idea of how much you might be able to get for your home. Research online to see what homes in your neighborhood have sold for recently.

One option that might be available is to rent a house or apartment for a length of time before buying it. That way, you'll learn whether the home and the location suit you.

If you're buying a new home, don't forget to account for the down payment, home inspection, closing costs, and other associated charges. Factoring all of the numbers into the equation may reveal whether downsizing makes the most sense for you and your financial situation.

4. Consider downsizing belongings, not just your home

For some people, downsizing might simply mean cutting down on clutter rather than relocating. When purging your home, consider the following:

  • Take your time. Don't feel pressured to clear out your entire home in one fell swoop. Instead, make a plan to do one room or section of your home at a time.
  • Involve your children. If you have kids, consider asking them for their help. Many hands make light work, and your children may end up expressing interest in items they would like to have.
  • Sell valuables. Maybe you have jewelry or collectibles the family is not interested in. Consider having those items appraised and selling them to an auction house or online. Depending on how many items you're selling and their worth, you could wind up with quite a bit of money that you can use to help cushion your retirement fund.
  • Donate gently used items. Find a local organization to donate furniture, clothing, or other possessions in good condition to. Some donation outlets may even offer free pickup of certain items, saving you time and hassle.
  • Clear out junk. Chances are you've accumulated items that you simply won't be able to give away or sell. Discard belongings that serve no purpose other than taking up space. You might be surprised by how much room you could free up.

CNB Can Help

If you have any questions about your retirement strategies, please contact me at (585) 624-5921, ext. 40820 or [email protected] or schedule an appointment at your local Bank Office.

©2018 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. This material provided by Michelle Hill.

Tax information presented is not to be considered as tax advice and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your personal tax advisor, attorney, or accountant for advice on these matters.