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Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 08:04 AM   #1
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Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.




A rite of passage in a retirees life is selling the house, extra car(s), and alot of that stuff thats been accumulating over the past few decades. Maybe its to buy a little place across town, in Florida, a doublewide in Arizona, an RV - whatever. It will be smaller and more manageable than what is there now.


Its tough when that giant magnet of family, friends and the G word (I dare not say it aloud, [grandchildren] sssh) really throw an emotional monkeywrench into the ER clockworks. Our children are here and we left the sunny south to be with them during this holiday season. I can't imagine not doing that. We have a large house in NY and for many years its been Home Base. Since early retirement in '05 we've travelled back and forth. This return trip was different. When after a thirteen hour car ride we arrived home to plan a Thanksgiving feast for family and friends, we were greeted by a sight! The house looked like the monkey cage at the Bronx Zoo. From top to bottom, plants were knocked over, curtains ripped, woodwork chewed, lamp shades askew, and poop! Did I mention the poop? Everywhere! Holy Crap, I didn't know whether to s--t or wind my watch!

Well three days of carpet shampooing, two cans of wood filler, and one discovered dead squirrel later... Thanksgiving happened anyway. It was quite nice. The food, the company, it was all wonderful and the hint was made that next year maybe a grandchild (there, I said it) would be among us. That was enough for DW.

DW says its time to make a committment. To me she said this. I hate committments. I don't like writing in pen! I'm huntin' a for sale sign and an RV and DW's digging in. Downsizing, the only thing thats downsizing are my nuts. The squirrell got them...for now. But I'm determined to reduce our real estate exposure. The taxes and maintainence are a real long term threat to the nest egg.

How do others downsize? We pour over the Sunday papers looking for ideas. Some simply don't. Three widows I know still live in their same large homes. They tell me that rising condo fees are about the same as real estate taxes, and "after all this is my home". So to those who have gone before me - how did you downsize and still stay in touch with family and friends and grandchildren?




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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 08:31 AM   #2
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

Just go where you want to go and stop worrying about fitting in with other people.
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 08:42 AM   #3
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUM
How do others downsize? We pour over the Sunday papers looking for ideas. Some simply don't. Three widows I know still live in their same large homes. They tell me that rising condo fees are about the same as real estate taxes, and "after all this is my home". So to those who have gone before me - how did you downsize and still stay in touch with family and friends and grandchildren?
Man, does this hit home. I'll be interested in the replies.

We are fortunate to have a fairly sizeable home in a nice neighborhood near downtown, but downsizing by 30% would be a no-brainer for me. The freed-up equity and lower expenses would go a long way to advancing FIRE. DW is reluctantly agreeable to moving... later. Not sure when that is. We just started remodeling our master bath (it needed it, no argument there) but that's not a good sign for downsizing in the near future. I guess we're just confused. At least we both like the house.

As to keeping in touch with family, we've come to realize that they'll visit us once a year if we're lucky (both kids, 4 grkids 1200 miles away in separate cities). Work is such that we'll visit each of them once a year, maybe twice. So all in all, especially if we want to take vacations just for ourselves, it's not easy to stay connected other than by phone.

Given their small kids, heavy careers, need to satisfy both us and the outlaws, etc. we have seen that the burden of visiting falls on us mostly. We are no longer home base. Not ready to move near them because they may well move themselves in a few years for career reasons and we both have careers ourselves. And unless we do the 2-home thing (not likely) we don't want to spend our retirement in severe winter weather for 5-6 months a year.

Classical case of not being able to have it all. The goal is to FIRE, use the newfound time to visit them more often and postpone a downsize or other move until their situations stabilize and our careers wind down. Meantime we'll enjoy what we have and visit as we can.
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 09:05 AM   #4
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

I wish I had the answer Bum as DW and I are in a similar situation. We're comfortable in our long-term home which is modest and conveniently located in an urban area we enjoy. We have four generations of family nearby and we're a pretty close-knit bunch. There are grandkids which we refer to as our "little anchors."

Most of the time, we find this situation to our liking. I've only been ER'd for five months yet have managed to squeeze in four one week long trips and a bunch of day trips. We partake of entertainment and dining opportunities that an urban area offers. And we enjoy the company of family and friends.

Still, sometimes I (more than DW) have a feeling of being too tied down. I've been trying to think of how we can have it both ways: a "homestead" here near family and friends and the freedom to be downsized and totally free to roam.

We've brainstormed ideas, none of which seem to totally fill the bill. We've looked at RV's and second homes, thought of moving to a condo, checked out some caretaker services which watch your home while you're gone, and listed tons of one and two week trips we could take while still maintaining this place.

I'm eager to hear ideas about this too.......

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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 09:07 AM   #5
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

What are your children's living situations? Houses? My husband's cousin put an addition on his house that had living space for his MIL. A nice bedroom suite and family room. She paid the cost. Basically, the house just got bigger. They now have all the family events at their house. Something like that might be a possibility.

One of my coworkers rents a huge house on the beach for a couple of weeks during the Christmas season and flies all his kids and their SOs there for Christmas. So far that is working nice for his family. Though everyone has to time their vacations appropriately.

Our neighbor has a bed and breakfast. For Thanksgiving he had a huge family group rent the whole place. Thanksgiving dinner was brought in.

Squirrels are our nemesis. Before we bought our place our apartment had been empty for a while. A squirrel got in and ate the bottom edge of the bathroom door and put huge gouges in the basement door. We never changed them out; now it is just "character" for our 105 year old place.
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

Different strokes for different folks although the bottom line is to research it and then just do it. DW and I did it two years ago and wish we would have done it five years ago. It is a rather liberating experience to get rid of stuff and makes life quite abit more enjoyable to say the least. Or in at least our case it did.

Good luck !
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 04:09 PM   #7
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

This issue worries me.

We have one child on the West Coast (where we are temporarily) and one on the East Coast.
No grandkids yet anywhere.

My wife and I are from Texas originally and plan to return there. Downsize to 2,500 square feet or so and just rent out hotel rooms for any guests beyond what we can handle. Not perfect but probably the best option. .. at least centrally located for the rare events when both will visit with kids at some future date.

I somewhat envy a younger brother whose daughters have children and who live within a few minutes' drive. Proximity to children and grandchildren is something that I doubt we will ever be able to enjoy.
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-04-2006, 04:51 PM   #8
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

DH and I built a lovely large home where we expected the kids to land after school. Well, they settled elsewhere and are busy with their own lives. They don't have the time to travel to see us. We use half of the home we built.

After considering our options we plan to sell the house, travel a couple years, then move to a CC community not far from one of the kids. DD (with G) has a huge home 'on the boards' - plenty of room for holiday dinners and grandparents. Access to a hub airports will make family travel easy for us. I want to make the holidays great and easy for them. I remember what it was like to travel with kids on the holidays, I don't want to wish it on them.

One popular option in the NW is to rent a large home in Sunriver (they often book a couple years in advance) and invite the tribe. In the winter there is usually enough snow on the ground for little kids to play in, teens can go to Mt. Batchelor, and their elders can hand around the fireplace with a glass of wine.
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-05-2006, 06:18 AM   #9
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
What are your children's living situations? Houses?
Nope. So far they're renters. We considered building a family compound. I still like thinking about that. But it flunks the sanity test at key points like location, who pays, how much, etc.

I think I'm gonna ask Billy about renting a "fiver".



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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-10-2006, 06:28 AM   #10
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

I think there is a basic difference between men and women when it comes to "nesting." We moved to shorten my commute and I thought we were going to do some serious downsizing or maybe even renting. DW kept looking at monster homes (just the two of us). We "comprimised" on one about the size we sold. When G #1 was born, she wanted to fix up a room for her "for when she stays with us." I'm thinking why does a kid need their own room at our house and what happens if we have 6 of them?

I've noticed that seems to be happening with people I know. The kids move out and the parents buy a bigger house. WHY?

DW is complaining about how much cleaning it takes. Suggesting downsizing gets silence in response. I'll be damned before I hire a maid for cleaning a house twice the size we need.

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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-10-2006, 09:34 AM   #11
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B


DW is complaining about how much cleaning it takes. Suggesting downsizing gets silence in response. I'll be damned before I hire a maid for cleaning a house twice the size we need.

Please let us all know the maid's name is when she arrives.
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-10-2006, 10:31 AM   #12
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B

I've noticed that seems to be happening with people I know. The kids move out and the parents buy a bigger house. WHY?
Because now they can afford it.

Amongst our acquaintances, it seemed like it was common for couples with families to be squeezed into a small home that was all they could afford. Dink friends tended to live in McMansions, since they could afford them and thought they were a good investment.

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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.
Old 12-10-2006, 11:58 AM   #13
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Re: Downsizing and the "G" word. Or hyenas home alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
I think there is a basic difference between men and women when it comes to "nesting." We moved to shorten my commute and I thought we were going to do some serious downsizing or maybe even renting. DW kept looking at monster homes (just the two of us). We "comprimised" on one about the size we sold. When G #1 was born, she wanted to fix up a room for her "for when she stays with us." I'm thinking why does a kid need their own room at our house and what happens if we have 6 of them?

I've noticed that seems to be happening with people I know. The kids move out and the parents buy a bigger house. WHY?

DW is complaining about how much cleaning it takes. Suggesting downsizing gets silence in response. I'll be damned before I hire a maid for cleaning a house twice the size we need.
Hey, in another year or so we will be downsizing. Our house will be on the market that will perfectly meet her needs! View property, very well maintained and easy to clean.
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