Whenever we post an article for the Sixty and Me Community on the subject of simplicity and downsizing your home, the response is overwhelming. There seems to be a strong desire as we get a little older to eliminate clutter and reduce our possessions to the essentials. Simply put, many of us want to shift to having less and experiencing more.
A recent Reuters’ article talked about why boomers are likely to start selling off their larger homes once the reality of lower retirement incomes and the desire for a better quality of life sets in. They quote some fascinating numbers. Today, more than 80% of Americans over the age of 50 are homeowners. Unfortunately, members of this group are still spending over 30% of their income on housing costs.
As boomers reach retirement they will experience a lot of pressure to downsize, not only to reduce their costs, but, also to cash out some of the equity in their homes to cover their living expenses. Many Americans may be surprised to hear that renting is already more popular than owning a home in many parts of the world.
For example, according to this article, in Germany, only 39% of population owns a home. Everyone’s situation is different, but, I suspect that many women over 60 will find productive uses for their home equity in the coming years – starting a business, paying for unexpected medical expenses or just supplementing their pensions.
When it comes to downsizing their homes, women over 60 have a number of options open to them. Many are choosing to live alone or in co-housing communities. Others are embracing the tiny house movement. Adventurous women even have the option of buying a vintage trailer and embarking on a trip around the world. One thing is for certain – our generation’s decisions will shape the future of city planning, design and architecture.
Having experienced the benefits of downsizing, I can see why this is such an appealing concept for many women. About 4 years ago, I sold my 2 bedroom flat in Seattle and moved into a studio. Everything I own is in one place and I don’t own a storage unit.
The truth is that I have never felt lighter or more alive. I don’t miss the things that I left behind nearly as much as I thought I would and I appreciate my new found freedom on every level.
Are you thinking about downsizing your home? Do you prefer owning your own home or would you consider renting? Please join the conversation.