A movie trailer caught my eye as I was sitting at home on my couch the other night for my 37 minutes of peace per day when, for just a moment, all of my emails are answered, all of my phone calls returned, kindergarten projects are complete, lunches and bags are packed for the following day and two kiddos are sound asleep in their own beds. “Downsizing” opens in theaters this Christmas and, besides looking fabulous, it immediately struck me as a parody of the struggle my clients face day to day as they retire and begin to think about the rest of their lives on a fixed income. How will we be able to pay our bills? Will our savings be enough? What if we have high long-term care costs?
The movie’s sales pitch goes like this: “Downsizing is about saving yourself. We live like kings, we got the best houses, best restaurants….In Leisure Lane your $52,000 translates to $12.5 million dollars to live on, for life!” The premise in “Downsizing” is that proactive members of society elect to leave the rest of the world behind and shrink themselves to .0364% of their total mass and volume in exchange for being able to live without worry in the “Small World.” For my clients, a sale of their family home and a move to a senior living setting can feel the same way.
Ironically, we often refer to this as “Rightsizing.” For many of my clients, their home is their largest asset. By age 60, 70, or 80, a home owned for a long time is often fully paid off and has greatly appreciated in value. My senior clients look at their savings and their income and ask the questions raised above without considering the value of their home and what a sale of that asset could mean for them. Not only might the sale yield hundreds of thousands of dollars to use for day to day costs as well as long-term care costs, but selling a home may mean significant monthly savings in management and upkeep. Whether it’s paying real estate taxes for a school district they have not utilized in 30 years or dealing with snow removal, trash removal and lawn maintenance, seniors often don’t realize the albatross their home has become. Additionally, the day to day grind of grocery shopping, meal preparation, getting around town and juggling various appointments takes a toll. Why not consider cashing out and opting for an opportunity to “live like kings” within a supportive senior community?
As a result of the innovators who about to come of age in this country, now is the time when the options for community senior living have become nothing short of phenomenal. Independent living and continuing care retirement communities are popping up in every town in metro-Boston. These offer seniors considering “rightsizing” boundless opportunities to socialize, remain within their own town limits and age gracefully in a modern, vibrant setting, all while making their savings last and their lives easier. Most often these communities provide additional support as seniors age and require more care which can be especially important for couples where one spouse’s needs exceed the other’s. The wave of the future is to “age in place” and “rightsizing” at the right time can make all the difference in the world for some clients.
If you are considering a move and thinking about selling your home, please contact our office. We work with a team of professionals who can help with logistics and ease the transition of rightsizing. As for me, I’ll need to find a babysitter so I can catch that movie!
© 2017 Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC