This article was originally published in October 2018 at https://www.investmentplanningcounsel.ca/.
You may have heard the news that:
- Housing prices continue to climb; and
- A large number of Canadians believe they don’t have enough money saved for their retirement.
Why should you consider rightsizing your home?
Many Canadians qualify as being “house rich, cash poor,” meaning their homes represent most of their financial assets. According to Ratehub.ca, Canadians, on average, spent 45.9% of their pre-tax income on housing in 2017. That’s considerably above the 30% level the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation uses as the benchmark for affordability.1This means many Canadians have invested – and are investing – more in the equity of their homes at the expense of their retirement savings, leaving rightsizing as an increasingly attractive option.
What are your options for rightsizing your home?
A common form of rightsizing is selling your current home and moving to a smaller one, such as a condominium, if and when you require less living space in retirement. It could also involve moving to a different neighbourhood that’s either less expensive and/or closer to amenities. Some “rightsizers” sell and then move into a rental unit.
Rightsizing is about using the value of your current home to fund the retirement lifestyle that works best for you.
What are the alternatives to selling and moving?
There are numerous other options for using your home to boost your retirement cash flow. Investing in some renovations to turn extra living space into a rental unit could help provide a source of additional income. There are numerous financial solutions available as well, including a reverse mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC). I am happy to help you determine what options might be desirable given your unique set of circumstances.
How can you get started?
One of the first things you can do is to take a walking tour of your home. Bring a pen and paper (or your mobile phone or tablet), as well as some sticky notes. As you tour your home, do the following:
- Take a close look at all your large items (like furniture, exercise equipment, etc.) and small- to medium-sized appliances. Tag or note the ones you rarely use.
- Go through your closets and shelves, and tag or remove small items that you have not used for months. Clothing not worn for more than a year is a good example of the types of items that are likely taking up unnecessary space.
- Examine your list of unnecessary large items and gather all your unnecessary small items. Group them into those that can be given away to family or friends, sold, given away to charities or free recycling services or, if absolutely necessary, put into offsite storage.
- Identify areas of your home that are mainly being used for passive storage (e.g., a finished room in your basement that is full of boxes). The use of living space as storage space could be an indicator that you have more home than you need.
These steps will help you determine how big of a home you truly need to enjoy the lifestyle you want. At the very least, they can help you free up some living space while you’re still in your current home.
Click here if you would be interested in booking an appointment with a financial advisor regarding financial planning or other estate plans you are considering.
1Simon Mills, “Housing Affordability Across Canada,” Ratehub.ca.
This article was originally published in October 2018 at https://www.investmentplanningcounsel.ca/ and supplied by Scott Penney, PFP® and Wealth Advisor with Investment Planning Counsel of Canada.