Richard and Rachel after COVID

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Richard and Rachel after COVID

After all the changes to home, work, play and daily life that have unfolded along with the pandemic, it’s a good time to check in with our favorite local couple Richard and Rachel (names changed) to see where their plans for downsizing are at. Has the experience of COVID changed their timeline or perhaps even their desire to downsize?

On occasion, over the last five years, they’ve been gracious enough to drop in to share their story and serve as the honorary poster-couple for that huge swathe of aging baby boomers out there who are trying to decide what the last third of their lives should look like.  Here’s the background:

They’ve owned a 4br, 3ba, 3200 sq ft home on the non-ocean side of Hwy 1 for twenty-five years. Their kids are grown and they are “seriously” planning to retire (any year now!) They’ve done well in life and have some savings but they’d also like to pull some equity out of their house and use it to enjoy their lives. Now that they’re at retirement age, they realize it might not be a good thing to have so much of their nest egg locked up in their home. 

They’d like to travel. After a lifetime of accumulating stuff and even more stuff, they’ve come to the conclusion that they’d rather own less stuff and spend more time having experiences while they’re still healthy.

They think they’d like to sell their current place and buy a smaller single-level home near the beach or elsewhere, outside of Santa Cruz. Rachel has bad knees and the idea of a one story house is appealing. As a recent article in the New York Times said: Growing numbers of Americans are outliving their joints!. Not to mention the other recent article that said: Growing numbers of Americans are outliving their savings!

Both  had elderly parents who struggled with health problems. They are mindful of the greater challenges that may come another twenty years down the road, if they are fortunate enough to live that long. 

Sounds simple doesn’t it? It should be easy to sell a more expensive house and buy a less expensive one. But Richard and Rachel are finding it anything but easy to figure out how to do it. There’s no road map or pre-made script for them to read in advance. 

Part of what we’re struggling with is the enormity of the change we’re considering. It’s not just about money. When you change home, you change everything. That’s not easy to do at our age.”  says Richard. 

Next Week:  How COVID has changed Richard and Rachel’s plan for downsizing and altered their perspective on the last third of life.

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