Your children have grown up and moved out. They may even have their own kids now. Or maybe you’re getting to an age where caring for your home is getting more difficult and are starting to consider downsizing. For many downsizers, a common question asked is whether to downsize and move closer to your family or whether to stay somewhere that is familiar. This is a difficult decision to make and depending on your situation there will be a range of factors to think about.
Of course the market may take your whole decision out of your hands. Downsizing plateaued in Australia following the GFC due to the changes in both the stock and property markets, while downsizers tended to stay in the areas they lived in before selling. However, the ever growing property market is making it harder for some downsizers to buy in areas they want, especially within the middle and inner city rings. This may mean for you that you will have to look a little further away if your family lives within these areas.
The magic word (it’s not downsize)
The key to this whole stage of your life is: communication. Make sure you include your family in assessing what you want out of the next stage of your life so they can help you make the best decision both for you and the family as a whole.
As you consider your family situation this is where your children can help you by expressing their own hopes for the future. Do you have long-term care insurance and do you need it? If you have considerable assets, the worry of having to pay for your own care as you age may not be a problem for you. But for many Australians they need to consider how they are going to pay for care in their older years.
Moving (or staying put) to an area close to your family may be a way to address this topic and this is where the input of your family comes in to the decision. Are they/will they be in a position to help care for you or will they have too many balls to juggle? Be sure that any input from your family is honest and that no one feels pressured to say what they think others want to hear.
An apple a day…
If you live in a regional area or along the coast, what access will you have to health infrastructure? According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, health outcomes do tend to be poorer for those living outside of major cities. This is a result of a number of factors including accessibility to health services. You will need to assess your insurance status and the state of your finances before you decide to move anywhere with less access to these services.
Doom and gloom aside, you may be a downsizer who isn’t at that stage of life and a sea change is exactly what you are after. Consider the benefits of living regionally and as a destination point for your family. It may be a five-year plan before you then move back closer to the family. You may be driven by a range of projects and not be ready to spend all of your time with your grandchildren just yet, or you could be the opposite and be craving some time with the baby! The point is it is a highly personal decision based on where you are in your life right now. But if you have downsized consider your lifestyle, your present and future needs and the input of your own family when deciding whether to stay where you are or whether to pack up and try somewhere new.