Less can be more

Living with less can lead to a more positive life.

Some call it ‘downsizing’, replacing a larger home with something more compact, others call it ‘rightsizing’; finding a place that is more suited to your needs.

Gale Stevens of Right-Sizing Your Home argues that a bigger home is not necessarily better if you don’t utilise all its space. In fact, the former editor-in-chief of US Home magazine says, less can be more.  

“It’s about how to make your house fit your lifestyle.”

The Council on the Ageing (COTA), the primary organisation representing the interests of older Victorians, offers workshops on decluttering and rightsizing to help the elderly realise there are positives to moving from the family home.

“Clutter affects our lives, can cause stress and can negatively impact on health and safety,” COTA reports. “Downsizing your possessions allows you to make future life choices free from the constraints of your stuff.

“Create a vision of how you want to live and have your space support that vision.”

Whatever you call it – downsizing, rightsizing or decluttering – it’s a complex decision with many moving parts, so it’s worth consulting a financial adviser to help you navigate through all the implications and trade-offs, including potential implications for your pension entitlements.

Mercer financial adviser Diane Haggett’s number one tip is to start early.

“Planning where you want to live as you get older has emotional and financial implications and it’s important to have as much information as possible so you can make an informed choice,” Haggett says. “There’s sometimes an immediate need – falls are often the reason why people have to move into care – and that can heighten emotions at that time.

“Careful planning and having open conversations earlier rather than later can alleviate stress,” Diane says. “Part of what I do is provide suggestions and guidance to clients with elderly parents to help make starting this conversation eaisier. Regardless of the situation people shouldn’t feel pressured into making a decision.”