Have you been asking “Should I stay or should I go?” When it comes to your home, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate every so often whether you home still fits your current needs. Many people are surprised to learn that Seniors often upsize to accommodate frequent visits from growing families or even boomerang children. Of course, many begin to look forward to downsizing to reduce home maintenance chores, utility bills, and time-consuming indoor chores such as cleaning and repairs.
So, how do you evaluate when it’s time to move? If it’s time to stay, upsize, or downsize? This article has a list of considerations, updated numbers on what other retirees are choosing to do, and some suggestions that might help you decide what choice would work best for you!
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Downsizing or upsizing your house is one of the tougher challenges baby boomers and seniors need to grapple with.
Merrill Lynch provides some resources to help you come to a decision that’s right for you.
Start by asking yourself these five questions.
- Is maintaining your house starting to wear you down?
- Are you comfortable managing your daily routines?
- Can you get around to stores, restaurants, and social activities?
- How much support would you have in an emergency?
- Will loved ones worry about you and do your children need peace of mind that you’re safe?
In addition, another report, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices, conducted by Merrill Lynch in partnership with Age Wave, explores the wide housing options available to downsizers, where retirement hotspots are, advantages of downsizing or remodeling for aging in place, along with considerations for late retirement.
Upsizing, not downsizing
Here’s a surprise. Most assume that the bulk of retirees move to downsize. In fact, 49% actually upsize. Some do it to comfortably accommodate visitors, including children and grandchildren, from out-of-town.
Others retirees find themselves in a boomerang situation (16%) with adult children returning to live with them. Between 1980 and 2010 the number of multigenerational households doubled from 11% to 22%.
Emotional connections to home
And while the move, frequently to a sunshine state, is thought to be a norm, one-third of respondents expect to stay where they are throughout retirement both because of emotional connections with their home and town and because the house is a financial asset.
Many opt to renovate their existing home to make it more attractive, comfortable, and friendlier for aging in place.
Remodeling also entails technology upgrades to make homes more connected and secure and less costly to maintain.
Some of those upgrades include apps that control appliances and smart thermostats to reduce utility bills. Three-quarters look to technology for monitoring their health through sensors, alerts, and medication reminders, and 64% are interested in technology that lets them better connect with family and friends through video chat, for example.
Preparing for the future
The report also offers some topics to consider when you’re thinking about the future and making housing decisions. Here are five items.
- When deciding where to live in retirement or whether to move, think of future life stages and priorities regarding things like affordability, climate, proximity to family and friends, recreational or cultural activities, and opportunities for continued work. Test-drive potential relocation areas by making long visits or doing short-term rentals.
- Weigh the expenses associated with all of your options. Those include things like income, mortgage or rent payments, property taxes, relocation expenses, along with any renovations you’d like to make for aesthetics or for aging-in-place purposes.
- Determine whether paying off your mortgage before retirement would be beneficial to your long-term plan.
- Have a strategy for long-term care and determine the options that would let you receive care where you most prefer, whether that’s is at home or in assisted living.
- Consider the home modifications – both physical ones, like installing a ramp, and technological ones for, say, remote health monitoring – along with the services needed for you to remain in your own house should you face health challenges.