Downsizing is often characterised as a hairy and scary prospect, fraught with emotion and anxiety. But people are beginning to realise that downsizing for retirement and beyond actually heralds the beginning of an exciting new chapter in their lives. The opportunity to ‘reinvent’ yourself and create the lifestyle of your dreams is really what it’s all about. So, how do you decide how you want to live and where?
Well, why don’t you try a little ‘What’s your downsizing destiny?’ trick! Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself anywhere in the world. Don’t think about it too hard, just zoom off to your favourite destination and take a look around.
So, where did you go?
For many people the trip to their happy place isn’t so very far away. In fact, it can be quite close to home - maybe just a little nearer the beach or a bit deeper into the countryside. For others the trip is truly globetrotting and foreign accents and exotic sights abound. And some even head for the busiest city they can conjure up! Well, guess what? Where you went on your virtual escape is a very good clue as to what kind of lifestyle change would suit you!
If your ideal retirement destination included views of the blue beyond, then perhaps the sea beckons. After all, what could be better than a morning spent strolling the soft sands of the foreshore or fishing for your dinner?
Just make sure you do your research before packing your bags. As one downsizer admitted, ‘I chose my seaside location because it was where my family had holidayed for years and I thought I knew it inside out. I didn’t realise that the off-season was cold and fogged in. It took awhile to adjust to that, but I’ve grown to love it.’
Did your virtual escape feature trees and more trees? Then trading your suburban digs for rolling hills may be the change you’ve been looking for. Country living offers downsizers a slower pace of life and more bang for their buck. Distance from family can be an issue though, so be prepared for an adjustment if you’re now considered ‘out of range’. Says one rural downsizer, ‘We needed a tree change for financial reasons as well as lifestyle ones, but we see the grandkids much less than we’d like. Our solution is to make up for it by having them for extended periods of time during school holidays.’
Another tree changer said his downsizing dream ended up a bit of a nightmare when the hobby farm he took on ended up being more than he’d bargained for. He says, ‘I honestly never worked harder in my life than when I downsized. In reality I’d actually upsized my responsibilities. I laugh at myself now, but that’s only because I’ve managed to sell the farm and scale down – for real!’
Did your fantasy life feature unknown lands and far off cities? Then perhaps you’re one of the lesser-known downsizers – the Life changer! Life changers are those downsizers who are up for a monumental move. These hardy types have nursed an unrequited love for a foreign land or dreamt of uprooting and never getting stuck in one place ever again. Happy to learn a new language and establish themselves abroad, the life changer is at home anywhere. As one robust Life changer enthused, ‘My career took me and my family all over the world, apart from a longish stint in Australia for secondary schooling. Now our adult children are scattered around the globe and my wife and I are at liberty to live wherever we want! Paris, New York, you name it and we’re considering it!’
So whether you want to see the sunrise over the ocean, mountains or city skyline, there are oodles of lifestyle options available to you – just reach out and grab one!