Couple planning their retirement in their estate plan.

Downsizing? Be Sure to Avoid These 3 Mistakes

More Americans than ever have started downsizing their homes as well as their possessions. In many cases, Millennials and those in Generation Z are not as interested in owning a large amount of stuff as Baby Boomers for a variety of reasons, including the challenge of purchasing a starter home and a lack of space. Younger generations are often more mobile and minimalist. Downsizing can be a helpful way to minimize your possessions and make life more manageable. We’ve included a few mistakes to avoid when downsizing as part of your estate plan

1. Don’t Downsize Too Soon

If you see many other people in your age group start to downsize their homes, you may feel pressure to do so yourself. We recommend taking some time to consider the pros and cons of downsizing. Selling your home and moving into a smaller one is a big decision. Sometimes people regret doing it too soon, especially if they aren’t ready to retire yet.

On the other hand, taking too much time to downsize can also lead to frustration. Perhaps you’ve wanted to move and get a smaller, more low maintenance house or condo for years, but you’ve put off the big move. Take some time to consider whether or not you’ll regret not downsizing sooner. Will downsizing now provide you with a better financial situation for retirement? Will it significantly add to your enjoyment of life, and is it feasible to downsize now? Taking some time to consider these questions can be extremely helpful. 

2. Don’t Downsize Without a Plan

Before taking the plunge into downsizing, consider your dream life. Where do you see yourself living, what will you be doing, and what will your home look like? Think about all of the steps you need to take to make your plan successful. Consider how close you’ll be to family, whether or not you want to travel, and how much money you will need to spend to furnish your new home. 

Take some time to consider what type of lifestyle you want to lead after you’ve downsized. If your dream is to get out of the city and move to a coastal town in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod or the Islands, consider what your day-to-day activities will look like. How will losing your social structure and places of regular activity affect you? 

On the other hand, if you’re moving into the city, will you be able to find the amount of joy and rest for your retirement? What activities are essential for you? Are you willing to drive a longer distance to your activities to move to a preferable location? 

3. Not Taking the Time to Plan to Give Up Your Possessions

Getting rid of all of our excess stuff and moving into a simple home is extremely appealing. When it comes down to it, giving away sentimental possessions can be emotionally difficult. It’s wise to take some time to consider how difficult it will be to give away possessions. You do not want to experience regret later because you gave away too many possessions that you wanted to keep. 

One of the best strategies for downsizing is to chip away at the process a little at a time. Focus on the positive. Consider the happiness that other people will gain when you pass on items to them. Ensuring that you are in the right state of mind is incredibly important. 

Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Today

If you are considering downsizing in preparation for retirement or as part of retirement, we can help. Our experienced Southeastern Massachusetts estate planning lawyers can help you ensure that your financial future is protected while you downsize. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. 

©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street,   Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375.  This article is for illustration purposes only.  This handout does not constitute legal advice.  There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article.  DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this handout.  Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney.  Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.