There are numerous news reports that Baby Boomers are not selling their houses and downsizing to condos or smaller dwellings. As a boomer who has downsized to a condo, this intrigues me. Why is this happening? Perhaps some anecdotal evidence from friends and acquaintances will shed some light on this.
Downsizing Requires Foresight
Typically, you will become physically unable to maintain a house and handle a move in your mid 60's to early 70's. If you are going to downsize, you should really do it in your early to late 60's based on foresight that you will be physically unable to handle your house or a move later. It is easy to overlook your coming infirmity and stay in your lovely house until you are too old to move without major disruption. We know a 75 year old couple who are now too infirm (she has cancer, he is too weak) to ever move out of their 3000 square foot suburban house.
It is easy to stay in your current situation, enough said.
"I Will Never Pay Condo Fees Like That!"
After 30 or 40 years of owning a home and paying for maintenance of the home, it is hard to swallow the idea that you will pay a fixed monthly fee for condo fees or rent. These folks religiously believe that it is better to buy than rent and condo fees seem too much like rent. We know a couple of 60 year olds who balk at the idea of $500 a month for condo fees but they are OK with getting a new roof installed for $10,000 and paying $400 a month for utilities.
We Need The Space
I have some sympathy for this idea as downsizing means that you cannot keep all that "stuff" that you accumulated over your 45 years as an adult. You cannot put all that junk you own or buy in the basement or garage. The alternative of spending $200 to $300 a month for a storage unit brings them back to the issue of spending money on rent. We know a few couples with this hangup.
We Like the Neighborhood
This is a very valid reason to not move assuming you cannot find a condo or smaller dwelling close to your current home. It is harder to make friends and settle in a new area when you are older. If you lived in a place for 10 years, it is easier to stay than move.
photo credit: flickr