Pam and Bryan are in their 50’s. Their youngest child recently graduated from college and relocated to another state for a great job opportunity. They are officially empty nesters. With college expenses behind them and all three kids off the payroll, the next big milestone is planning for retirement. While Bryan envisions working for the rest of his life, Pam would like to stop working when they become grandparents. As they discuss how they envision their retirement, their home becomes a topic of discussion – should they stay or downsize?

Making this decision can be emotional, especially if your kids grew up in the home you’re considering to sell. In order to make the best decision for your future, begin by listing what you want from your retirement home. Here are 4 key items to consider:

1- Proximity | Do you want to be closer to healthcare facilities? | Do you want to live near a college in case you return to school or just to have a livelier environment? | Do you want to be near your grandkids (and if you don’t have grandkids yet do you want the flexibility to move)? | Do you want to be in a city where there is public transportation?

2- Climate | Do you want to play golf all year round? | Are your joints and aches requiring warmer climate? | Do you like the four seasons but need a shorter winter?

3- Size | Do you want your home to be the gathering location for holidays (be realistic here, many families with young children do not want to travel long distances)? | Will you be entertaining more at your home with friends? | Do you need a home office? | Do you enjoy yardwork or do you want no outdoor chores? | Do you need a mother-in-law suite for aging parents or in-home care as you begin to age?

4- Affordability | Realistically, how much can you spend on all home expenses during your retirement years? When calculating home expenses include the following items: mortgage, home insurance (unless you escrow), real estate taxes (unless you escrow), home equity line of credit, homeowners’ association fees, household repairs/maintenance, utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer, phone, internet, cable, security). | Will you need to spend money later on for improvements as your mobility declines (e.g., chair lifts for stairs, wider doorways, walk-in tub)? | How much money are you willing to spend on a home versus spending money on travel and entertainment?


Once you have an idea of what you want in a retirement home then create a list. This list becomes your checklist as you evaluate homes. Having this checklist will make your decision easier.  As for Pam and Bryan, they decided to downsize into a townhome closer to Bryan’s work and where they have more entertainment and dining options. With the extra money from selling their home, they purchased a vacation home in a location where they could easily sell if they decide to move closer to future grandchildren.


Niv PersaudNiv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Her firm bridges the gap between financial planning and coaching. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, she offers consulting services in three areas: financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant and as a financial adviser. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”