Downsizing to a small home can be a struggle from finding the right home to selling what you no longer need.
You might also find there is opposition from others that live in the house about moving to a not as “posh” area as we will learn today from one couple.
Downsizing is an interchangeable word where it can be to sell a large home to buy a smaller one or simply to get rid of something or stuff that you no longer need.
My parents did just that but it was after I moved to Canada. They were living in a 3 bedroom home in the UK and once my parents were near retirement they decided to rent out the home, downsize and buy a caravan.
The caravan is custom trailer that looks just like a home on the inside with all the amenities minus all the maintenance.
There is a bit of work to do but not near as much as my parents had in the past. My mum and dad took all the belongings they didn’t need any longer and sold them at a car boot sale (a.k.a garage sale).
The downsize didn’t affect us as we were already moved out of our family home but for some families downsizing with kids at home might prove to be challenging.
I know what you are thinking? The parents run the house and the kids must tag along and do what they say. It sounds easy but sometimes it’s not.
A small house is someone’s mansion
I grew up in what most people would consider a small house in the UK however that’s just my opinion. My wife’s family bought a small townhouse on a circle street and fun for the kids was hanging out at the “green box” and playing hide and go seek.
There are people who grew up in an apartment who wish to live in a house our size. Not everyone has had the luxury of living in a home. Not everyone cares to either.
Then there are people who rent rooms and wish they could afford to buy or rent a townhouse. The dream of home ownership is a distant dream so for now they consider the room somewhere warm to rest their head. That was us for a couple of years before we bought our first home together.
For many people change is difficult especially if it’s all you know. Why? It’s easy to get used to doing the same thing over and over or living a certain way and when someone pulls the plug on that comfortable life it can be really tough.
We are not all so lucky to have parents who were able to buy one of the biggest houses on the block but we were happy just to have a roof over our heads. We may not have ran with the rich and famous but we had friends who would do anything for us.
Not everyone feels the same way.
When you give something to someone, let’s say a child and try to take it away they tend to cry because they want it back. So, you might have to distract them with something new and explain why they can’t have what you’ve taken away. That’s parenting 101.
As we get older for the most part we get used to getting, having and losing things, stuff and people in our lives. It’s not easy but eventually the pain, hurt and so on goes away and we get used to what we have again.
Today I had a reader want some tips about how she can handle her daughters who are not happy with their parents decision to sell their large family estate to downsize to a small house in a not so upscale neighbourhood.
I call it a “Lifestyle Change” because for most people who downsize from a million dollar mansion to a small house that costs what most could only dream $400,000 can be tough on teenagers.
It wasn’t until we got older where we recognized that people may judge us based on how successful our parents were. The kids who lived in a shady part of town or those who couldn’t afford a house or who had parents on social assistance weren’t always welcomed into the “in-crowd”.
It’s just as big of a deal today among teenagers who are battling the scores of bullying online and at school and who are trying to fit in. It’s even worse than it was when I was a child.
It’s one thing to teach your child to stand on their own it’s another to watch them fall but when they get back up and not care what the others think is when you know you’ve done your job as a parent right.
Money, success and status of the parents should never be a major concern for a child growing up but as you all know, it is.
Let me share this readers question with all of you and please share your thoughts in the comment section for the reader.
I can’t believe I’m writing this to you but I know that you might find this interesting and answer my question as I REALLY need help with our situation.
We moved to a very well-to-do neighbourhood 15 years ago. Back then my husband, a dentist and I a hairstylist decided to splurge on a large estate which is now worth over a million dollars.
Buying a house in an upscale neighbourhood was merely so we could provide for our children the way we wanted to but I’m afraid it has come back to haunt us now.
The house is outstanding from the workmanship all the way to the landscaping on the grounds. We don’t do any of the home maintenance as we have hired help to clean, landscape and even cook meals a few nights a week.
I don’t grocery shop either as my cook does all of that so I’m out of the loop with what really happens at the grocery store. It was for that reason why I found your personal finance blog. I wanted to learn how to grocery shop properly. Why?
Well, my husband and I are getting older now and with both of our daughters who are twins going to University this year we decided to downsize.
Once the kids are gone we really don’t need to live in a 7 bedroom house with huge grounds, 6 bathrooms, family room, office, fully finished basement, in-ground pool and so on. You get the picture. It’s a beautiful home finished top to bottom but we just don’t want it any longer.
Our kids grew up in this neighbourhood from a young age and now that they are older they only know this type of “taken care of” lifestyle.
They don’t have to clean their rooms or the bathrooms as that is taken care of for them. I’m sure they think we are made of money. Yes, we have money but no we don’t just blow it for the sake of it.
There are no chores to do as we have the hired help so all that our teenagers have to do is their homework and participate in their swimming and horse riding lessons. Apart from that they have a large social circle mostly of kids in our neighbourhood.
Looking back, my husband and I wish that we had given them more responsibility growing up so they understood it better. This was our mistake because we could afford the help and didn’t think of the long-term consequences.
Our children may not be as successful as we are and if they don’t know how to live life how will they learn? From making mistakes I suppose but some of them could have been avoided had we of done things different.
My husband and I had a talk with the kids last month and told them we were going to downsize the estate and buy a smaller $400,000 home just inside the city. We currently live outside the city where we had the house built.
The good thing about the move is I no longer have to run the kids in and out of the city for their lessons or when they stay late after school.
So what is the problem when our life sounds so wonderful? It’s not that wonderful because our kids are VERY upset with our decision to move to a small house in a not so well-off neighbourhood.
The past year we’ve been looking for a small house design that would suit all of our needs which we have. Once the idea of moving to this small house was becoming a reality our kids threw a fit.
Most of their friends live in our well-off neighbourhood and if they move they will be looked down on. My children told me this and I wanted to cry. What have we done? Although in part we are to blame this is what social media does and other outside influences.
My kids are not alone as many people as adults go through this when it comes to buying “stuff” which is why they are in debt.
They have to prove to everyone how well they are doing just so people are jealous of them or for whatever reason makes them feel better. In a way we were once these people.
What I believe with our girls is that it’s more about showing everyone how “successful” we are as opposed to moving to a house no one in their circle of friends would care about.
I believe that people still come together in friendship circles based on where they live and lifestyle of the parents. Many of the kids in our neighbourhood have credit cards that the parents give them and access to all sorts of activities, travel, shopping etc.
It’s easy for kids to know whether their parents have money or not based on lifestyle however that’s not always the case. I’m not saying all kids who live in million dollar mansions are spoiled however I think that feeling less than on top of the world with their friends is going to be hard.
I’ve already had to discuss “being poor” with my girls because they say that their friends will take one look at our new house and think we are poor.
I feel sometimes that we’ve raised them wrong but for the most part I know I did what I could to teach them manners and to strive to be successful in all that they do. I just wish we taught them more about personal finance.
I’m still getting grief no matter what house we go and look. We’d like to buy a bungalow for when we get older and can’t walk up flights of stairs. The kids do understand although I feel like I’ve let them down in some way.
Although my husband has a good job and earns a wonderful living we were not always so smart with our money. Once we bought the house we went hogwild buying furniture to fill it and are in debt. Not to mention the holidays, spa days, vehicles etc.
Clearly we need to learn how to budget our money better. Just because we earn it doesn’t mean we know how to save it.
Setting money aside for their education didn’t register since my husband earned a good living. We thought we would just pay it when the time comes. We never told our girls this but thought we might as well tell them that the won’t have to worry about their education finances.
I was hoping that once they heard the good news about not having to owe money after University for sure they would be excited not having to save the money themselves. I was wrong.
They seem more concerned about the small house than they are their education. They are very smart kids and I feel like we are crushing them emotionally by moving as they go into University.
I’ve tried to explain that their friends in the neighbourhood will be doing their own thing and moving away and likely only very few of them will stay in contact.
I’m not sure what to do. Our real estate agent says now is the time to buy and sell our home especially in the area we live in. It could take some time to sell our house or it could take a day but we should be ready to go.
How do I cheer my kids up about moving from our 6000 sq ft mansion to a small house of only 1600 sq feet with a finished basement?
Thanks for taking the time to write me this extensive letter to read. Your kids seem a bit spoiled in the sense that they are used to the large floor plan of the estate and downsizing simply won’t cut it for them.
It also is apparent they are worried what others will think of them from a “wealth” standpoint.
Unfortunately kids base their pride and worth on how much money their parents have and how big the family home is. Having a small house means you have parents who can’t afford to buy anything better. That’s simply a crappy way to analyze this situation but it’s the norm these days with social media telling us just how rich you should be to “fit in”.
Just look at the recent belly button challenge to see if someone needs to lose weight or not going viral on the internet. It’s not only idiotic it tells me that our children really need to focus on life and not just what everyone else thinks or believes. It’s always been there but the blast of technology over the years has brought it out even worse in kids.
For this reason parents need to step in from a young age and monitor, educate and motivate children to stand on their own two feet.
Kids today are wasting too much time watching TV, playing video games or surfing the internet day and night on their smart phones.
Small House Living
It’s not that bad at all living in a small house that meets all of your needs. There are people who rent only because they can’t afford housing costs or pay the down-payment. I’m pretty sure they would love to move in with you given many of the pitfalls of living in an apartment building.
A small house is a matter of perception as something small to one person is not small to another.
I don’t know if your children work or not but I’d suggest you motivate them to get a job and fast. They need to learn the value of money and how it will apply to their lives moving forward without mommy and daddy. If a child has no concept of how to earn money they will never understand how it’s spent.
Learning about paying bills and saving money for things like their education or their own clothes is paramount to their financial success. I know many “rich kids” but not all of them are smart with their money.
You could even go one step further and teach your children how to budget money or learn as a family since you mention it’s something you need to do. If you don’t pay them to do chores make up a chore list and pay them an allowance every week which they can keep half and must invest the rest.
Talk to your children and explain to them that living in a small house that costs $400,000 is still a huge house to someone else. Not everyone has the luxury to live in a mansion most of their younger years so they should be thankful for that opportunity and move on.
If your children understand just how important it is for the two of you to downsize to a bungalow since you are aging they might come on board with you if they understand life better.
Another thing you can do is mention that they are free to move out on their own and that they are at the age which they can leave home. It may not be this year but in the next year or so the kids will be gone and no one will be home. Living in a large estate home with only 2 people and some staff can be costly.
The bills and property taxes alone are probably massive and I bet you would rather use that money to travel or enjoy the rest of your lives together.
A big house is not always the answer, living the life you want is.
It sounds to me that your kids are opposed to the move from the estate to the small house for many reasons but most of all they need to understand the value of money and that if they didn’t earn it they don’t get a say in how it’s spent. That may be harsh but it’s the truth.
In this case it’s just a matter of the kids not wanting to be looked down on as if their family is poor or no longer can afford to live in the big house. I hope you find the way to help your children understand and please keep us updated.
What do you think about these kids? Are they worried about what their friends will say about them moving to a small home in what they believe is the “hood” of the city?
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