Downsizing For All The Right Reasons

Downsizing For All The Right Reasons

by Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC

At the age of 75, Sharon chose to move from her eight-room home to a four-room apartment.  While still in good health, she sold the mortgage-free house where she raised her three children and never looked back.

Sharon bought the house in 1963 for about the same price that a decent car costs today.  Forty-six years later, she got a bit less than her asking price but still a satisfactory amount.  She dutifully paid the capital gains tax and, with the help of a skilled, thoughtful financial adviser, invested the rest.

Then Sharon rented a brand new apartment in the next town, exactly seven minutes from her old home.  She rented a lovely space: two bedrooms, two baths, open kitchen with black granite counters, a loft for her library and TV, and a living room with large sunny windows.

What Sharon gave up:

  • 2,500 square feet of space and an acre of land.
  • Mowing, plowing, shoveling, pruning, planting and weeding.
  • Roof and driveway repairs, a damp basement and a resident woodchuck.
  • High taxes and insurance bills, not to mention periodic deliveries of 500 gallons of heating oil.
  • A houseful of dark, old furniture and bags of outgrown clothes, toys and tools.

What Sharon gained:

  • 1,700 square feet of bright, light, living space.
  • A few pieces of cheerful, clean-cut furniture from Crate and Barrel to mix with the sentimental pieces from her old home.
  • A container garden on her balcony that is impervious to deer, rabbits and moles.
  • A friendly, diverse community of renters.
  • A much more glamorous and much less expensive living arrangement.

Sharon “right-sized” at just the right time in her life!  The money from her house is working for her now.  With more financial freedom, her budget no longer depends on the vagaries of her entrepreneurial business.  She does not need to watch every penny or obsessively worry about her future.  She can be more generous with her children and grandchildren.  With some luck and continuing good health, these are truly shaping up to be her golden years.

Pearl of wisdom:  People of a “certain age” might do well to consider right-sizing while they are still young at heart and healthy enough to enjoy the adventure!

Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC is a Geriatric Care Manager practicing in Fairfield County, Connecticut. For more information visit her web site at www.joanblumenfeld.com. © Joan Blumenfeld 2012



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