The pros and cons of downsizing when you retire

Retirement opens a world of opportunities. You can invest your time in new hobbies, traveling, family, or volunteering. You may have had a desire to move to another city or state, but it didn’t make sense to move while you worked. Retirement allows you the opportunity to move to places you have wanted to live. This can also mean you have the chance to downsize your home as well. Downsizing your home can have many benefits, but there can be cons that come with downsizing as well.

Pro #1 – Physical health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one out of four seniors fall each year. Serious injury can be the result of a fall down a flight of stairs. Clutter can make it difficult to maneuver around when cleaning or carrying items around. A larger home may have higher storage spaces that force you to use a ladder to access the storage. This can increase the risk of falling or straining your back or neck. Injury in your senior years can take time to recover from and affect daily activities. Downsizing can decrease the risk of physical injury.

Moving into a smaller home with more reachable spaces and no stairs can significantly reduce the risk of injury.

Pro #2 – Save money

If you downsize to a different area, you may save money based on the property taxes in that area, car insurance, health insurance, and more. You won’t have as much space to air condition in the summer or heat in the winter, so the amount of money needed for bills may decrease. When you worry about budgeting and bills, it can be hard to enjoy other things in life. Downsizing may put more money in your pocket.

Pro #3 – Fresh start

When you leave a home, you will leave many memories behind. This can offer you a fresh start in a new home within a new city. You can make new memories in your new home and try new hobbies that weren’t available to you in your prior area.

When you go through your belongings as you prepare to move, you can get rid of all the things you no longer want or need. You can start fresh with new furniture that now fits your smaller home.

Con #1 – Leaving memories

Once you decide to leave your home and move to another, it can be hard to leave when many memories were created. You may have height markings on the wall from when you measured your children’s height. There may be minor quirks in the structure or stains that remind you of a specific memory. It is not easy packing your belongings knowing you won’t step foot in that house again.

Con #2 – A lot of work

Downsizing requires you to go through your belongings and decide what to pack, donate, or throw away. If you have a lot in storage, it can take a long time. It can also be hard to part with certain items. Once you pack everything in boxes, you have to rent a U-Haul and load the boxes only to unload again at the new house.

Con #3 – Worry about selling

Putting your home up for sale can be a stressful time. You may decide to work with a realtor, and finding the one for you isn’t easy. It will also depend on if it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. You may get an offer well above the asking price, or you may have to settle below the asking price. This means you could have put more money into the home and only break even.


There are many things to consider before you decide to move and downsize. You can benefit in many ways when you move to a smaller home, but the process of getting there can take time. You will want to weigh the pros and cons to help make the decision.

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