Downsizing your home

As your life evolves, your needs change. That's especially true of your housing needs when you transition into retirement.

What to consider when downsizing your life

If you're an empty-nester, it may be time to rethink your housing situation. You may want to downsize into a smaller home, condo or townhouse that requires less maintenance. Or maybe you'd like to move to a warmer climate or live closer to your grandchildren. You may even wish to help your parents with retirement housing alternatives.

To help evaluate your choices, consider your lifestyle:

  • Do you want to continue with home maintenance chores and expenses? Can you afford to hire help? Will you have to rely on friends, family and relatives?
  • How close do you want to live to family and friends? To public transportation? To shopping and social life?
  • Will you be able to renovate your home as your physical needs change?
  • Do you adjust to change and make friends easily?
  • How does your spouse feel about moving or staying at home? Your family?

What retirement housing options do you have?

  • Stay in the family home. If you're physically independent and willing to do the upkeep, you'll probably be happy with this option. You might also consider remodeling your home to reflect your changing lifestyle and needs.
  • Go with a smaller home, condo or townhouse. Downsizing your home and moving into a smaller space will likely be less expensive and more manageable. With a condo or townhome, most of the outdoor maintenance chores are done for you.
  • Move closer to or move in with your children. This option requires an important discussion with your kids about the emotional and practical implications this move could have on you and your loved ones. Ask yourself the following questions: are you physically and financially independent? Will you feel like you’re in the way? How will other family members feel?
  • Other retirement housing possibilities. Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) are an increasingly popular option for many. CCRCs and/or assisted-living facilities rent rooms or apartments and offer as many or as few "extras" as you care to choose — housekeeping services, meals, social activities, transportation. Some also offer degrees of physical assistance if you require it.

Other financial considerations

Before you make any major decisions, talk to a financial advisor about how changing your housing might affect your financial situation and your retirement, now and in the future.

  • How will a sale/purchase of a home impact your retirement income or financial goals?
  • How much will health care cost in retirement?
  • Where do you anticipate most of your retirement income coming from and will your money last? Do you know what a safe withdrawal rate is?

Plan for the retirement lifestyle you want

An Ameriprise financial advisor can help you evaluate your options and considerations in terms of potentially downsizing your home as you prepare for retirement.