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Downsizing or Rightsizing?

My husband, Bob, and I just bought a 1300 square foot 1969 rancher. The funny thing is, it is almost an exact replica of the 1968 rancher that my late husband and I bought more than 25 years ago, right down to the dark paneling on either side of the brick fireplace in the living room. In between the two ranchers, we lived in a beautiful, 2400 square foot log home on top of the mountain. Talk about wonderful! I love the ambience of that house, how it could feel like we were on vacation every day. But as beautiful as the log home is, it no longer fits our current lifestyle. Our goals in life have changed as we’ve gotten older, and our main objective now is to simplify: to be able to travel more, to visit the kids and grandkids that live west of the Rockies more often, and to spend more time in beautiful downtown Frederick without having to drive up a steep, windy mountain road each time we go home. As a friend of mine said, “You’re not downsizing, you’re right-sizing!”

At first, my three adult daughters weren’t thrilled with us moving out of the log home into a normal house in a normal neighborhood. After all, how cool is it to say that you live in a cabin in the woods? The cabin invokes so many fond memories: of many a late night spent on the deck looking at the clear sky full of stars, sitting around the fire pit in the back yard, and of their late father. But they also recognize that our goals and priorities change throughout life, and Bob and I are making decisions for our future, just as they are making them for themselves.

Sometimes we make our decisions because of circumstances beyond our control, and sometimes it’s because our priorities have changed. But every step of the way, we need to consider if the choice we’re making fits in not only with what we want now, but also in our plans for the future. And while no one can predict the future, knowing what your priorities are and having a goal will help you create your path to the future.

When considering a major change or purchase in your life, ask yourself these questions:

  • How does this affect not only my current lifestyle, but over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • Do I already have a plan in place to pay down my current debt and build my savings? How does this new purchase affect those plans?
  • Will this decision negatively affect my future goals? Is it in line with the priorities I’ve identified for myself?

Identify what is a priority in your life, both now in the near future. Then, decide if the decision you’re making is in line with those priorities, including the financial aspect of the decision. Bigger and better can be good, but smaller and older might be the “right-sizing” you need.