Okay, by a show of hands, who knows someone—anyone—who moved into their extravagant dream home just as the kids were getting ready to leave home, or just before their bankruptcy, or just before the divorce? Four thousand square feet; four bathrooms; increased financial stress; and a three-car garage.
Maybe you’re a 30 or 40-something couple with kids and you’re feeling a little crowded? Maybe you think you might like the prestige associated with that up-and-coming neighborhood. Maybe college looks far enough in the future that you’re tempted to put your money into a more tangible investment you can enjoy in the here and now?
You’ve done the math. You figure if you can start over with another 30-year mortgage, maybe stop eating out so much, work an extra weekend every month, do stay-at-home vacations, scale back on charitable giving, promise not to buy another new car for ten years (who are we kidding?), then this bigger house thing is a go.
It’s tempting, isn’t it? And if something extravagant is almost in reach, doesn’t that mean we can stretch just a little more and it’s ours?
But, reality check, best practices suggest taking quite the opposite path. Something bigger and glitzier may be floating around in our dreams; but instead, as our children grow through the teen years and as we look to the future, there are abundant reasons simplification can be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Read more, think about it yourself, and get involved in the discussion about why downsizing your life today will pay off in spades tomorrow.
Here’s a word of advice from someone in an empty nest. Financial stability is more fun than a big house, more exhilarating than a cool car, and better for the marriage relationship than pretty much anything else.
Stress. Stress? You don’t want it. Stress from overextending is bad for the heart, bad for digestion, bad for the career, and bad for the marriage. If that’s not enough, financial stress reduces quality of life across the board.
More freedom to be generous.
When we free up our resources from an unnecessarily extravagant home, we free up our resources to invest in the things that have a much more significant “satisfaction” rate of return. We can invest in local charities, our church, relieving world hunger, helping our neighbors, art, scholarships at our college, and so much more. It’s well documented that money spent improving the lives of others brings more satisfaction.
Less clutter to take care of.
Extra space must be maintained and heated and cooled and monitored. Then we tend to spend more on additional stuff we really don’t need in order to fill the space.
Reduced carbon footprint.
We’re already overusing the world’s precious resources. Downsizing reduces our carbon footprint; it’s a responsible “take care of the world” thing to do.
Opportunity to invest in what really makes us happy.
This is more fun than almost anything else. Downsizing increases the odds of taking more family vacations, debt-free college for our children, and fun adventures as empty nesters down the road.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and ask her, “What are some things we can downsize?”