13 January 2020 5 min read

Article written by Belinda Woolrych - Downsizing Expert, Property Makeover Specialist, Author of ‘Rightsize Your Home’.

It’s liberating when you learn the obstacles standing between you and a more enjoyable lifestyle can be overcome. Acquiring a living environment which suits your stage in life is likely to be easier than your preconceptions would have you believe. 

I’ve helped hundreds of Downsizers and sometimes see these preconceptions impacting their downsizing experience. They feel isolated. For them, the thoughts feel very real. 

But solutions are at hand. My book Rightsize Your Home doesn’t trivialise these perceptions, yet it does provide answers to what are essentially myths. 

Here are some common myths and my answers:

Myth: Insurmountable - The task ahead is simply too much and we don’t know where to start

Answer: I always encourage people to believe in themselves. I have no doubt that every person contemplating a downsize in the future has achieved so many amazing things in their lives. I challenge every downsizer to believe in themselves and realise they can do this as they have proven in life.

Myth: Nowhere to go - There is nowhere else we could possibly go

Answer: There are professionals whose job is to search and find homes for people and I encourage downsizers to think broadly. Consider every option, there are people who will help you find the right area, the right street and the right property. It can be done if you look for yourself and be open to all options. 

Myth: Ruin the family - Leaving the family home will be dire for the family unit

Answer: I genuinely believe the house is not the family glue. Your relationships are the bond.

Myth: Timing - The time is not right to be making a decision of this magnitude. 

Answer: The truth is, there is never a right time. It’s the same as having children or changing jobs. But preparing sooner rather than later is the best thing to do.

Myth: Overwhelmed - I don’t know where to start and I have too much stuff

Answer: Again, you can do this! Give yourself enough time and start the declutter early. If you do that and sort something a couple of days a week, every week, it will be completed far sooner than you think. Treat it like a regular part-time job.

Myth: Finances - We will not be able to afford to retire after downsizing

Answer: I strongly recommend engaging a financial advisor who specialises in retirement. Recently the government introduced incentives regarding superannuation and downsizing. The right advisor can help you take advantage of these. You need to establish facts from fiction.

Myth: Comfort zone - I need to know where we are going before I start decluttering or thinking about selling.

Answer: Pause that thought. Focus on getting ready. The right place will come along and you will be ready.

Myth: Ageist - I am not old enough yet, retirement living is for old people

Answer: Don’t think of the village your grandma went to, these places are great! Retirement villages and downsizing is indeed the best way forward. The point is, there are options, so again, think broadly.

Myth: Emotion - I should be ecstatic about this new time in my life, with no regrets

Answer: It’s important to remember that we are only human and it’s okay to have mixed emotions. It’s not unusual to feel guilt or loss or even trauma at this time in leaving a family home.

Myth: Memories - I can’t bear the thought of someone changing all the things I love about my home or, worse still, knocking it down altogether 

Answer: You are freeing up a lovely family space for a young couple to move into and make their own, just like you did when you purchased it. If the purchaser wants to rebuild, my suggestion is “don’t look back”. Prepare the property well and enjoy the financial benefits it will bring.

Myth: Rightsize - We want less maintenance so I have to get something smaller, but we are comfortable with the size of our home

Answer: Ultimately, the next move in life isn’t about downsizing or upsizing; It’s about rightsizing. It’s about ensuring less stress and having a property that suits your needs. You can still find a home with less maintenance that is similar in size.

Myth: Treasured things - Downsizing will mean I will have to throw out all my things, which I love 

Answer: It’s not a matter of throwing everything away that won’t fit but allocating time and working through your things in a rational and organised manner. Decluttering is an opportunity to cleanse the home and the soul.

Myth: Next stage - I’m not sure a retirement village is quite what we’re looking for

Answer: Community living has many health and social benefits. Many of my clients are happy enjoying the advantages of living in a community setting. Make the time to visit a few in your local area. See what they have to offer for yourself.

Stockland commissioned the Author to compose this article for publication by Stockland for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the topic, and not to provide specific advice for your specific circumstances. Stockland recommends you seek independent legal and financial advice before making any decision. The views, information, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the Author, and are not necessarily held by Stockland.

Stockland has not contributed any of the information in the article and passes it on without endorsing or adopting its content. Stockland does not warrant or represent that the information in this article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use. Subject to any terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, Stockland accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage, cost or expense (whether direct or indirect) incurred by you as a result of any error, omission or misrepresentation in information. Published January, 2020.