There are many things to consider when faced with the decision of when you should downsize your home, but if I had to pick one thing to say to people it would be that you want this to be your decision on your terms and not something that you are forced into.
I've seen many situations with older couples where one spouse dies or one gets sick and needs assisted living, which leaves the other spouse scrambling to make difficult decisions and to make physically difficult moves without the kind of help they need. The truth is, a move is a physically daunting experience, so the older you get, the harder it's going to be. And being forced to sell quickly can cause several headaches as well. You won't have the time to get your home in tip-top shape to get the best asking price, and you are left with less time to research the best options of where you need to settle long term.
There is no perfect age to make the decision, so you will just need to sit down and write out what is most important to you for your future lifestyle needs and what makes sense financially. Do you need to move closer to family or friends? Will you need more amenities such as yard care or more social opportunities? Do you need to free up more of your budget so you can travel more freely or use less of your nest egg? Only you can answer those questions.
A move like this can be very emotional since so many memories are tied to your home, but in the end, taking that burden off yourself at an older age and off your children after you're gone can be a huge blessing in the end. Try to focus on the positives such as less maintenance, bills, and cleaning responsibilities that come with a larger home. Even if the mortgage is paid, those elements can still eat up a large part of your budget.
With home prices on a steady rise, the equity in your home can give you several options for a comfortable retirement if you make the right moves in a downsize. Use this time to start researching exactly what you want and need, so that when the time is right, you are ready to make a move.
I would love to walk with you through this process, so please give me a call when you're ready to start making these important decisions.
If you're interested in calculating the financial benefit of downsizing, follow this link and click on "Housing" at the bottom of the page.