While it was the norm to own your home on your block of land, where you raised your children and stayed there until you couldn’t any longer; times have changed – for you. There is no doubt that you are very fond and attached to your family home, but here are 7 Surprising Reasons Why You Need to Downsize from your McMansion.
As a Baby Boomer or an Empty Nester, your priorities have changed. What were once core elements for you as a family are not the core elements of your life as a footloose and fancy-free person in your own right.
1. You don’t need a McMansion anymore.
The children have left. You don’t need the 3 or 4 bedroom house just for when they come to visit. They and their children, your grandchildren, will adapt to wherever you choose to live and will probably be relieved that you are not rattling around in a big house, pining for their visits. It doesn’t hurt to remember the words, of the Harry Chapin song, Cats in the Cradle when you prioritize yourself.
“And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then”
2. You have too many possessions
We do become very attached to our things. Everything is a reminder of good times, and sometimes bad. Our closets are full of clothes that we don’t wear. Our furniture might help us feel secure, but do you still need all of those beds and other bits and pieces. The books help reaffirm that we love to read, but do you need to keep every single one of them? We probably even have Harry Chapin in vinyl, and I wouldn’t get rid of that as vinyls are going up in value, but really. How many Tupperware containers do you have and use? How many dinner sets do you have and use? Count your towels? Really! Do you want the snow cone that shows you visited the Eiffel Tower, or are your memories and photos enough? While you might have been a champion on the roller blades, or your children’s sporting equipment still litters the garage, do you need it?
We all have possessions that we can do without. Declutter and then declutter and find out the essentials that you will need when you downsize to something more suitable to your new lifestyle and new freedom.
3. Your priorities have changed
Where once you were busy working all of the time, running kids to soccer training, dance classes, mowing the lawns, cleaning the house, you now have the time to think about what you want. Do you want to spend more time socialising? Then an apartment in the city is probably the answer. Do you want to escape to the country or the beach? Then move out of town. As a word of caution here, think carefully before leaving what you know, your friends and yes your family. Make sure that where you move will cater to your new found lifestyle…and that includes what you are familiar with.
Do you travel? An apartment is ideal because it is a lock up and go. No lawns, garbage to worry about. Get a post office box to get rid of mail worries. Do you even want to own a property anymore? Many people are selling up and renting and using the capital to fund other interests, like travel or a new business. Many baby boomers and empty nesters start new businesses and do very well with them because let’s face, we come with considerable experience in micro and macro management. Others pay off debts and start with a clean slate.
4. You will save money
The cost of heating a McMansion compared to a smaller place for one is a major saving. All utility bills will be less if you downsize. You should have already noticed that the grocery bill is considerably less and that your petrol bill should also be a lot less, now that your are not on the kid runs. Maintenance bills on a smaller property are a lot less than a bigger property. You won’t need a TV or/and a computer in every bedroom, but chances are they probably went when the kids did.
Think about the unwanted stuff that you can sell on eBay or some such. You will be amazed at what people buy, and how much will be in your pocket.
5. You are not getting any younger.
These are the words no one wants to hear or to write, but there are some realities that need to be faced. A smaller property is easier to maintain and while exercise is important, getting up a ladder and clearing the gutters of leaves, becomes problematic at a certain age. This must be a consideration whatever you decide to do. You need to be able to maintain your McMansion if you decide to stay.
At some stage, you will need to be nearer to medical facilities should they be needed. You need to be closer to transport links should you need to use them. Everyone gets to the stage when they can no longer drive, or should no longer drive.
6. You deserve YOU time
This is a period in your life when it is all about you. It is an opportunity to be ‘you’ focussed. It is the opportunity to do exactly what ‘you’ like, when ‘you’ like and just for ‘you’. It does not mean that your family do not matter, but at this stage you matter a bit more. Travel? Yes. Go out for dinner on any night of the week? Yes. Have an afternoon nap? Yes. Say no to family and friends? Yes. Selfish? No.
7. You will feel liberated.
That is correct. Fewer possessions, less home maintenance, and fewer bills. It does not mean that you don’t have a home for the family and friends to come to; it is just a different one, not a McMansion with empty rooms. Whatever you choose, this decision becomes a you decision and a you home, even if it is a yurt in the Mongolian hinterlands.
These 7 Surprising Reasons Why You Need to Downsize from your McMansion are probably not that surprising, but sometimes it helps with your thought processes to look at what YOU need and want.