Could downsizing your property give you a new lease of life?

Chastleton House

At a time when much debate in the UK centres on insufficient housing to cater for the needs of a burgeoning population,encouraging downsizing by older people to make way for buyers of a younger generation is again being put forward as part of a solution.

Apparently,according to the Prudential, more than 2m homeowners over the age of 55 and over plan to downsize in the next few years.Another report suggests that downsizing could release upto £100,000 cash from the average property sale in the UK (in London this figure could be as much as £275,000).

So why and why now?

Homeowners have for many years felt trapped in the economic recession but they are now becoming more confident about the future and making a major lifestyle move. For many, the sale of a current property means:

-more appropriate living space as needs change in older age
-having more disposable cash perhaps to distribute to family
-help to ‘make ends meet’ in retirement,
-being able to spend on holidays and travel
-funds to secure long term care.

Most of those in the Prudential survey said that cash released by selling the equity in their property would be used to fund their later life.

Restricted physical mobility, high property maintenance and refurbishment costs,the ever increasing utility prices for gas,water and electricity are just some of the drivers for downsizing according to the website downsizingdirect .com

This trend to downsizing is is seen by many commentators as good for the general property market, freeing-up housing for those finding it difficult to step onto the property ownership ladder.Some feel it may also lead to the building of new developments to suit an ageing population where services and the benefits of community will provide greater fulfilment and quality of life.

The strong message seems to be for those looking to downsize is to seek appropriate professional financial advice. It is important to have a realistic expectation of what a sale will yield, and what will be left after all the costs of selling,buying a another home, and moving have been factored into the mix.

Have you had recent experience in this?Do let me know.




Key Factors in Retirement Planning

From Tax Credits at


In retirement planning, always a thorny question to deal with is : what level of  income will I require  in order to maintain my standard of living when I eventually decide to retire? Financial and pensions advisers  call this target income the replacement rate, which is expressed as a percentage  of income received immediately prior to retirement.

So won’t I need at least as much income in retirement as before? You can count yourself fortunate if you can retire without taking a drop in income. But that you can probably keep up your level of spending on consumption with less income has been put down to the following:

  • In retirement most people pay less tax
  • For many the cost of saving for retirement stops
  • Most households look to have no mortgage left to pay for, or not  for long after retirement

At the  RETIRE Project at Georgia State University  required replacement rates have been studied and calculated for decades. As at 2008, the project estimated that households with earnings of more than $50,000 needed about 80 percent of pre-retirement earnings to maintain the same level of consumption. The Boston College finds achieving this level of earnings depends on the following factors:

  • Level of government income support, if any – the higher any supplementary financial support received the lower the retirement income provided by savings needs to be
  • Rate of return on savings– the higher this is, the lower the amount needed to be put away as savings
  • Age when savings begin– the earlier the start,the less is required to be saved by way of regular contributions
  • Age of retirement – the longer this is delayed, the lower the required saving rate needs to be

You can see a summary of the Boston College paper here:  “How important is Asset Allocation to Financial Security in Retirement?”

Adjusting any of these factors can make a great deal of difference to the prospective retiree. Starting to save early, and/or delaying retirement can make a significant difference to the outcomes. When retirement planning appropriate professional advice should be taken.