Picking up the conversation with Richard and Rachel
Picking up the conversation with Richard and Rachel, gracious homeowners who have agreed to be the poster-couple for our discussion about downsizing. While everyone’s life is different, anyone currently wrestling with their own downsizing questions will probably identify with some of their comments. Feel free to email me your own as well.
Tom: Richard, you said the huge scope of change is the hardest part for you.
Richard: Yes, if it was just about the finances of downsizing, that would be pretty simple. It’s not hard to figure out the property tax and capital gains questions if we sell.
Rachel: But it’s so much more. It’s about making money decisions that will have a big impact on all the questions we don’t know the answers to! Like how long we’ll live and what health challenges we’ll face. I’m afraid we’ll outlive our resources.
Richard: This is like traveling to an undiscovered country. We spent the first two thirds of our lives expanding. We grew up and life kept getting bigger. We got educations, made friends, got married, had kids. The world kept growing. We bought our first house, then a bigger one. Our pay increased, we accumulated more stuff and built a comfortable nest egg.
Rachel: Now we’re looking at the last third of our lives and a huge paradigm shift: The world is shrinking. We’re retiring, going slower, making less. Friends are moving away. Our parents passed, the kids are gone and the house is too big. Soon we’ll start drawing down on that nest egg. We won’t be putting any more in and that doesn’t feel so comfortable. Downsizing is a lot more than moving to a smaller house.
Tom: Sounds a little depressing….How about thinking of it as “right-sizing” rather than down-sizing. Making proper adjustments to the place you’re at in life?
Richard: That’s right. On so many levels life is better than it’s ever been. We’ve got savings. We have grandchildren. Fewer responsibilities and lots more time. Life is more relaxed and who needs more stuff ? We want more experiences not more stuff.
Rachel: In our most lucid moments we know we’ll have to move someday. We’re fine now and can probably live here comfortably for another ten years. But will we be in a better position to move somewhere else when we’re in our 80s? There’s no way we’ll have the same energy or resources we have now. Why not bite the bullet and do it now?
More of the conversation next week…