6 Reasons Baby Boomers Should Consider Downsizing

six enticing advantages to living the “Less is More” lifestyle

Apr 6, 2014 at 12:18PM

According to AARP, for the next 18 years, baby boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day. That's a lot of American homeowners who are reaching retirement age and are starting thinking about their next phase in live. Part of that next phase may include unloading their large family homes in favor of spending their 'empty nest' years enjoying their newfound freedom.

When you think about the combination of approaching retirement and the children off on their own, what are the real advantages to downsizing?

Here are six enticing advantages to living the "Less is More" lifestyle.

Smaller House = Smaller Mortgage
Generally a smaller home can translate into a smaller monthly mortgage payment. In many cases, if you have lived in your family home for many years, and built up a sizable home equity, you may be able to cash out and purchase a new smaller, less-expensive home – even possibly eliminating a mortgage payment completely. When searching for homes on Trulia, a quick search filter allows to arrange for-sale homes by square footage to help narrow down your options quickly and easily.

Less Monthly Expenses
Downsizing your home also downsizes your monthly expenditures, too. Utilities may be smaller, taxes and insurance may be reduced, and general upkeep and maintenance on a smaller home is going to be more affordable.

Climate Change

Downsizing also provides a fantastic opportunity to give up the snow shovel and slap on some sunscreen. Raising your family in the cold winters of the mid west and northeast could become a distant frozen memory if you take the opportunity to move south or west to follow the year-round sunshine.

More Affordable Town
Downsizing is a great opportunity to move to a less expensive metro area. Finding a city that gives you more 'bang for your buck' is a big boom to retirees and empty nesters that will soon be adjusting to living on a fixed income. In a hot retirement market like West Palm Beach, Florida, the average sale price on a home is $127,000 and the cost of living in the area is affordable. Compare that to a family and industry-friendly metro like the Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL, where the median sales price is $335,000 and cost-of-living expenses are generally higher, and you'll see that costs can shrink in towns where affordability is in alignment with real estate prices.

Lifestyle Upgrade
Empty nesters have a bit more time for themselves. So, in the process of downsizing, you have the opportunity to relocate closer to all the new lifestyle amenities you will want to enjoy with all that newfound spare time. Is it golf, tennis, biking and other outdoor activities? Or do you prefer life in the city, with restaurants, theater, shopping and cultural activities all within walking distance? Downsizing allows you to live closer to lifestyle you want – and hopefully, you have a bit of monthly cash left over to pay all those golf tee fees!

Less Stuff = More Life
There is also something intangible about downsizing and getting rid of all that 'stuff.' Here is the wonderful added benefit to this clearing-out process: when you organize your home, you organize your life. When you create space in your home, you also create space in your life! Remember, your home is a mirror of you and how your life works, so as you simplify your home, you simplify your life. By investing the time needed to clean out and edit your possessions, you are on the road to creating a new lifestyle that not only functions better, but is easier to maintain. Talk about a win-win!

Remember, if you're deciding to move to a new town, check out Trulia Local to get a sense of how it is to live in a new area. Their natural disaster maps, crime maps, local amenities and commute maps help you get the inside scoop on a new location before you pack up to a new, smaller space.

This article originally appeared on Trulia.com

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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