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Choices to be Made

Should I stay or should I go?

Downsizing or upsizing a house is one of the big questions baby boomers and seniors need to grapple with.

Merrill Lynch provides some resources that will help you come to a decision that’s right for you.

Start by asking yourself 5 questions.

  1. Is maintaining the property wearing you down?
  2. Are you comfortable managing your daily routines?
  3. Can you get around to stores, restaurants, and social activities?
  4. How much support would you have in an emergency?
  5. Will loved ones worry about you and do your children need peace of mind that you’re safe?

Another Merrill Lynch report --“Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” -- conducted in partnership with Age Wave, explores the wide housing options available to downsizers, the advantages of downsizing, option for remodeling to ease aging in place, along with some considerations for late retirement.

Though the hard data apply to U.S. retirees, some of the advice is universal.

For instance, the report offers some topics to consider when you’re considering the future. They include:

1. When deciding where to live in retirement or whether to move, think of future life stages and priorities regarding things like affordability, climate, proximity to family and friends, recreational or cultural activities, and opportunities for continued work. Test-drive potential relocation areas by making long visits or doing short-term rentals.

2. Weigh the expenses associated with all of your options. Those include things like income, mortgage or rent payments, property taxes, relocation expenses, along with any renovations you’d like to make for aesthetics or for aging-in-place purposes.

3. Determine whether paying off your mortgage before retirement would be beneficial to your long-term plan.

4. Have a strategy for long-term care and determine the options that would let you receive care where you most prefer, whether that’s is at home or in assisted living.

5. Consider the home modifications – both physical ones, like installing ramp, and technological ones for, say, remote health monitoring – along with the services needed for you to remain in your own house should you face health challenges.

For more information, see: