How to Painlessly Downsize Your Lifestyle in Retirement

Debbie Loper |

As you approach retirement age, there are a lot of decisions to make. Should you retire ahead of or after the standard age of 65 years old? What about withdrawing from your private investment accounts? How much should you take out and how often? There are a lot of decisions to make, and many of those will involve adjusting your lifestyle to meet your new income streams. While some retirees opt to change little, it never hurts to take a closer look at things you could change and things you could stand to live without.

 

Pick Your Location

Many retirees will look to move during retirement for one reason or another. For many, the goal of moving is to downsize their space and lower their costs. A smaller home means less time and money spent on cleaning and maintenance. Smaller homes also mean less for mortgage or rent checks each month. However, there are other reasons to consider moving during retirement.

 

Choosing the right location for retirement comes down to many factors. Perhaps you would like to move to be closer to your grandchildren. Maybe you have grown tired of winter and would like to live in a milder climate that has warm summers and cool, moderate winter weather. A move does not always have to be about downsizing either. You may find that downsizing in other areas of your lifestyle allows you to upsize in another, such as your home location.

 

Clear Up Space

One of the downsides of homeownership is clutter. All the space you have enjoyed over the decades has also come with clutter. It could be boxes of stuff that belong to your children, old furniture that you never use, or simply knickknacks collected over time from one vacation and Christmas after another. Acclaimed author and professional organizer Marie Kondo suggests, "keeping only the things in your home that spark joy." If something has a special place in your heart, it should stay. If you cannot find a good reason to keep it, it is time to let it go.

 

Clearing up space in your home has other benefits beyond simply getting rid of stuff you do not use. With less clutter around the house, you will find it easier to clean and maintain your home as you have access to more of your spaces. Additionally, if you plan to sell and downsize in the years to come, it will be easier to pack up and move out of the home without the stress of clearing the clutter at that time.

 

Get Involved with Charities

Many retirees feel overwhelmed by the amount of free time. After years of sticking to a strict schedule for work and their children's schooling or activities, the freedom of retirement can feel like a vacuum of space. However, just because you are retired does not mean you should sit idly by. Try finding a charity or volunteer opportunity in your area that matches your former career and/or personal interests. It is free assistance for that charity, allows you to fill your time during the day, and provides you with a social outlet for engagement and personal fulfillment.

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