Rightsize or Remain: How to Decide

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As older adults approach retirement, there are limitless ways to spend your retirement years. One of the first decisions most adults near retirement make is where they want to retire. This is usually an important decision between aging in place or rightsizing to a new home. There are positives and negatives to each decision, but the best way to determine your next step is considering the unique needs for your lifestyle, physical and mental health. 

Before deciding if rightsizing or downsizing is the right fit, you should consider five major factors.



If you or your family member has health complications that are not suited for the current layout of your residence, moving or making accessibility updates to your home can have significant benefits, especially if mobility is an issue. Something as simple as moving to a home with a simpler layout or creating a wheelchair friendly entrance may go a long way. Remember it’s better to move or make updates when you can, not when you must.



If the thought of caring for your yard, multiple bedrooms, or general upkeep seems stressful rightsizing or aging in place can both be good options with proper planning. Start assessing services near you that can help you keep up with the overall upkeep of your home, help you declutter, or do space planning either as you age in place or before you sell your home to rightsize.



Being realistic about your finances is a great step towards planning for retirement whether you are remaining in your home or rightsizing. In many cases retirement savings has a limit for what is covered. Making solid financial plans for retirement or creating a financial plan while approaching retirement may help you decide if a move or aging in place could save you money. AARP has a retirement calculator to help you plan. https://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/retirement_calculator.html



Retirement may be a time where you decide to spend more time with family, friends, children or grandchildren to make new memories. It’s important to consider this prior to the aging in place or downsizing process and create a for spending time with, visiting, or in some cases living with a family member. Factor in the perceived need for help and what you and your family members or friends envision for your relationship with them. In some cases, seniors opt to rightsize to a larger home they intend to share with close family and friends.



Are you active? Do you plan to travel? Your lifestyle is a great determining factor for where you plan to spend retirement and where you decide to settle for this exciting part of your life. Retirement is different from what you may remember it being for your parents or grandparents. Choose an option that fits your retirement lifestyle as well as your wishlist for social interaction.



Here’s how to tell if you should move to a larger space:

  • You want to make room for relatives
  • You want to make room for your children to move in and help you 

How to tell if you should move to a smaller space:

  • You have health complications that are not suited for the current layout of your residence
  • The thought of caring for or paying for landscaping, cleaning multiple bedrooms, or other general upkeep tasks and costs seems stressful
  • Moving could save you money in retirement
  • Your home has lots of space that is never used

How to tell if your existing home is the perfect fit:

  • You could make simple modifications for comfort and accessibility
  • You want to use your extra rooms for family members or professionals to assist with care
  • Aging in place is the best financial decision
  • There are services available in your area for property upkeep, daily tasks, and medical care that fit within your budget


As life changes, so does our use of space. For every milestone in our life, we use space differently. Retirement is no different. Planning how you want to enjoy retirement present new things to consider, exciting discoveries, and in some cases bring you face to face with frightening truths. As with any major life decision, creating a well thought out plan and weighing all options helps you make an informed decision. Considering the tips on this list can give you a great foundation to plan for your next phase and help you decide if rightsizing or remaining in your home is the right choice.



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