Thursday, March 15, 2012

When "Staying Put" does not work out! Thoughts on down sizing!

The thought of an apartment that’s not in the city – with no room for Pop Up community is making me ill.  They probably won’t allow Daisy [the dog].  I feel my insides squeezing even though I know that if I do it, I won’t have to worry about cash flow once the deed is done.  At least not for a while.  
I am a aging woman and I have talked a lot about downsizing. I am just like everyone else...I worry about the mortgage and finances and debt.  Money is the "tail that wags the dog" in many of our lives.  When I began reading The Little Old Lady Stays Put this morning, it hit me one more time.  What we want and what we must do are totally different things.

I am not a place person in any way. I spend my winters in a park model and live with the previous owners stuff.  It doesn't take very many of my things to make me feel at home.  Don't get me wrong, the living space is beautiful in my eyes but just not big or even permanent.  But....

Here is the truth of the matter.  It is ours...we own it and in our minds that is what makes it home.  I have lived temporarily in an apt. within the last 10 years and it was very hard.  AND we go back to Oregon in the summer for 6 months to live in a 1500 square foot home in a small 55+ community very near my children. School buses stops/pass by on the street across from our homes in both places. I cannot in all honesty call myself a fulltime small space dweller nor am I isolated from younger people in either place.  I don't yearn for the bigger space when we are in Arizona but I know Oregon is there.

That is where The Little Old Lady Stays Put  blog comes in.  They have been running a series of stories about why some must sell their home and downsize.  One post called "Death by Mortgage" talked about reverse mortgages and how the house can run out before the person gives out.  It is a big gamble because we do know that the equity in our homes is a nest egg of sorts for many of us. Just the worry of that mortgage hanging over our heads could be awful.

If I were facing this and one of us suffered from dementia making outside help necessary, I can see how financial our homes would become a problem.  We would probably start looking at selling our home and downsizing considerably in order to provide care for the person that needed it.  I cannot walk in the another's shoes but the blog does give me a glimpse into the heart of the The Little Old Lady.  Could I see the positives?  I don't know.

So given the choice, would you move to an apartment and pay a monthly rent to let someone else maintain the lawn and the plumbing? Could you move permanently to a 55+ community and rent a very small space?  Could you make the sacrifice in terms of space and privacy to save that nest egg for what may or may not come?  How much space do you need to be happy?  What do you think?



  1. Great questions. We will stay in this 3200 sq ft/ 17 acre place until my husband tires of it. I give it five years- at the most. I love Kansas- but there are no jobs for my adult children.
    I plan on downsizing to two places- both under 700 sq feet. Condo on east coast/ bungalow on theWest- both near kids. Pretty sure we can sell this place to buy those. I don't see the need of a reverse mortgage. Dementia is not in either set of genes. We look good for health care unless the government fails. We shall see...agggg!

  2. We downsized from 3200 to 1700 square feet when the kids finished college and moved out. My wife and I had no problem making that cut.

    Our youngest daughter moved back home after a series of employment problems about 6 months ago. I'm guessing she will be here another half year before moving out to her own place. Even with an extra person 1700 square feet provides plenty of room.

    I am ready to downsize again to a 1200 square foot condo where someone else takes care of the lawn and outside of the unit. I need office space, but otherwise am content with small spaces and less upkeep.

  3. Jannette and Bob,

    I think your comments reflected two different stages in retirement or life for that matter. In fact, as I have observed retirees go about their lives in retirement, I notice that there are distinct patterns they seem to follow. I will need to write about that again one of these days.

    Thank you for your input.


  4. Dear b: Thanks for highlighting our PopUp Community - I hate living alone and share my home with others which has led to wonderful adventures over the years. I love having space, but don't really know if I need it (with a capital "N"), however it will be a journey to find the next best thing. I glad to have found your blog and hope it will help me in my quest for finding what's next,
    Jackie Herships AKA Little Old Lady. Let's stay in touch our readers are interested in many of these issues.

  5. Dear Jackie,

    I just noticed your comment this morning. I am in Mexico but not near the earthquake. Yes we must just keep touching base. Our readers do share a common interest. I will be writing about you again very soon. I am going to do some more research on the "underground" movement.

    Be well.



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