This video is on how downsizing can bring you happiness and avoid family conflict.

Transcript

Meet Susan.  Susan is a 70 year old widow living in a 2200 square foot bi-level home.  Susan and her late husband, Bill, bought the home in 1980.  They remodeled the home with aging-in-place modifications for Bill in the last 2 years of his life.  Bill had advanced COPD and he wanted to die at home.  Susan was working and to help Bill stay independent, they installed a chair lift, grab bars, a walk-in shower, and pocket doors for Bill’s wheel chair. 

Susan retired the last year of Bill’s life to take care of him.  She never regretted one minute.  Bill had 3 children from a previous marriage, but none of them came to visit when he was sick.  

When Bill passed away, his children came to the funeral and asked Susan about his belongings.  Susan felt some resentment and she delayed inviting them over to sort through his things. 

A year passed and Louise, one of Bill’s children called Susan.  Louise explained that her son, James was in trouble and she thought a fresh start with his grandmother would greatly improve his life.  Louise asked if James and his girlfriend could live with Susan for a while. 

Susan felt cornered and frustrated and when she said no, Louise became angry and placed guilt on Susan.  Louise reminded Susan that the house was too big for just one person and her grandson needed help.  Susan said she would think about it. 

Susan did think about it and she decided downsizing and selling her home was the right decision.  Susan didn’t want the family conflict and she wanted to live the rest of her years in peace.  The challenge was Susan did not know where to start.

She knew downsizing her home would take a lot of work.  Her and Bill accumulated a lot of stuff in the 40 year plus years they were together.  Plus, his children left their stuff behind when they moved out.  Susan also wasn’t sure where she would move to or how she would pay for new home.    

Over the next couple of years, Susan thought about downsizing one room at a time, but she put it off.  It was just too big of a job.  She avoided Louise and Bill’s family, and this led to isolation.  Eventually, Susan’s health deteriorated, and she went to a nursing home.  When Susan passed away, Bill’s children took what they wanted and sold the house “as is” to an investor for a steep discount.  The house needed too much work to upgrade and clean out for a better price. 

Susan’s story is not unique.  Seniors face this every day.  Collins Realty Group helps seniors like Susan downsize and move.  Using Susan’s goals, Collins Realty Group would have developed a personalized downsizing and moving plan, including floor planning, selling her home, and relocating.  Collins Realty Group does it all saving seniors time and money.  Susan could have moved on to a better life. 

Collins Realty Group also has trusted local resources to refer clients to including financial planners.  In Susan’s case, a financial planner would have recommended rolling the proceeds of the sale of her home into an annuity.    

Annuities are great for asset protection because they protect against a lawsuit, are not subject to the violent swings of the market, can be structured to get a refund or continue to another person, and best of all, they are tax deferred and you don’t pay taxes until you receive payments.  Also, you decide on the payment option-a lump sum or smaller amounts like monthly or annually, or anyway that best serves you.  Susan could have picked a monthly payment from her annuity to pay for her new home, like a senior community, where she would never have to mow grass, shovel snow, or pay property tax again!  

Following the right downsizing plan, Susan would have moved to a safe and senior-friendly home where she could make friends and spend her days doing things she enjoys.  She also could have avoided the family conflict that often comes with dividing assets because Susan’s annuity could not be touched without penalty.

In the end, following the right downsizing plan would have given Susan peace of mind and a and a higher quality of life.