Don't think downsizing, think 'rightsizing'

Downsizing Made Simple: top tips from Noel Whittaker and Rachel Lane

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Noel Whittaker and Rachel Lane share their tips on the dos and don'ts of 'rightsizing' in their new book, Downsizing Made Simple.

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WHEN you've lived your dreams, it's time for new ones. The four-bed, two-bath home you loved ... the pool you couldn't get the kids out of ... they've had their day.

Downsizing isn't about living in a tiny home - unless you want to. It's not about square metres: it's about rightsizing your home for the next chapter in life.

That's the opinion of personal finance expert Noel Whittaker who's teamed up with aged care guru Rachel Lane for their new book, Downsizing Made Simple.

In the book Lane and Whittaker explain the dos and don'ts of downsizing.

They will guide you through the legal and financial maze, explain how a move can affect your lifestyle, superannuation, pension and benefits, and share some real life stories from readers.

Whether you're moving to a townhouse or apartment in a strata development, considering a granny flat or making the move to a retirement community, this book is essential reading. The book is available in all good bookstores or at booktopia.com.au

Here are some of their tips on making key downsizing decisions:

Location, location

Where you live affects how you live, and it's one thing you can't change without moving again.

You might long for a sea change or a tree change. If you dream of spending hours walking along a beach or days in the mountains reading a book in front of an open fire, are these things you will actually do? As you age, are your capabilities changing?

Do you want to be near friends and family? You may want to move closer - or further away from - certain people.

And what about proximity to care and medical services? You may be fit and active now, but if that changes you will want to stay at home, in the place you know and love.

Take time to think about what activities you enjoy doing, or are hoping to enjoy doing. Bear in mind the more facilities and activities the village provides, the higher the ongoing service charges are likely to be.

Choose your own adventure

You have an amazing range of options available to you. You may want to buy a new freehold home; move into a strata-title apartment or townhouse; choose a retirement community; explore a mobile home; or establish a granny flat or other collaborative living arrangement.

Remember, there is no right or wrong or best when it comes to downsizing decisions. There is only the one that best suits you.

Try before you buy

When did you last live with your children? If you're thinking of moving in with one of them - and their partner - perhaps you should give it a whirl before you commit.

Similarly, if your next move is to a new community, it may be wise to rent for a period of time before you commit to buying.

If you're trying to find the right retirement community, the thing that will most influence your ability to enjoy the village is probably going to be something you can't see or touch - to quote that great Australian movie The Castle: "It's the vibe".

Many communities have open days and functions people considering moving to the village can attend. Do it.

This will be the best test for whether you will enjoy living in the village.

Some communities let people try before they buy. If this option is available, seriously consider moving in for a short stay.

  • Edited extract from Downsizing Made Simple ($24.99) by Noel Whittaker and Rachel Lane, available in all good bookstores or at booktopia.com.au

The Senior has a copy of two copies of the book Downsizing Made Simple to give away. For your chance to enter simply fill in the online form below:

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