BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

February 27, 2012 06:00 ET

Retirement & Downsizing: BMO Advises on How to Determine Whether or Not to Make the Move

- First of Canada's nine million Boomers became eligible for retirement in 2011

- Health, location and financial considerations will determine whether they move or not

- BMO offers advice to those thinking of giving up the family home

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 27, 2012) - Last year, the first of Canada's nine million Baby Boomers became eligible for retirement. Over the next several years, many will find themselves deciding whether to stay in their homes, transition to a smaller place of residence or relocate to another city or country.

According to a report from the BMO Retirement Institute, the top factors that Boomers stated as reasons to relocate upon retirement included: weather (57 per cent), financial reasons (54 per cent), proximity to family and friends (45 per cent) and better access to healthcare/support services (35 per cent).

Although downsizing may seem like a straightforward move, there are several factors to consider before making the decision.

"Even if downsizing may be years away, it's important not only to think about all of the factors that can affect your decision, but to maintain an open dialogue with your loved ones," said Dr. Amy D'Aprix, BMO Life Transition Expert. "Being proactive will help you remain in control, rather than having to deal with an unexpected move when you're not prepared."

There are several factors to consider when making the decision to downsize or not, including:

Your Health

Although health matters may be hard to predict, it is important to think about what you might need to do if your health status changes in the upcoming years. A good place to start is to ask yourself the question, "If there were a shift in my healthy or mobility..."

  • Could you retrofit your current home?
  • Where might you consider living if your current home no longer makes sense?
  • Would you feel comfortable receiving professional assistance in your home?

A Change in Location

A change in location can greatly impact your day-to-day activities and social interactions, and will often determine the lifestyle you lead. Some retirees would prefer to live in a group setting, while others would like to live in a more urban area with easier transport. Consider the following if you are thinking of moving:

  • Will you still be close to family and friends and have adequate social support?
  • Do you want to be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your property?
  • If you become ill or start having mobility issues, will you be isolated in your current or new location? Will you be too far away to receive timely assistance?
  • Where are your main service providers located (bank, doctor, hairdresser)? Will a change in location provide any inconvenience?

Financial Considerations

Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal, notes that, for those considering downsizing, many financial factors need to be considered, including costs related to property maintenance and the possibility of renovations to adapt to changes in lifestyle.

"Many Boomers heading into their retirement years may be looking for the lock-and-leave lifestyle. But with convenience comes significant cost considerations, including maintenance, general upkeep and repairs: important factors for preparing yourself financially."

Ms. Parsons added that some may also be weighing their options for adapting or renovating their current home to support them in their retirement years; she suggested that Boomers speak to a financial expert about the programs and options available early in the process.

Thinking of downsizing? BMO provides the following advice:

Make a list - List the items you consider to be important in your current and future lifestyle. Include the factors you want to maintain.

Social network - Assess where your social support network is, both for emotional and practical support. Will your move affect your access to them?

Financial considerations - Examine your financial situation and be sure to explore the costs involved in moving or staying put.

Think ahead - Always think about possible next steps involved and how each step will affect you: 'If this changes, what then?'

Communication - Keep the lines of communication open with loved ones. Share your wishes and desires, so there are no surprises when the time comes to make your move.

Leaving a Legacy- Determine how important is it for you that the home remains in the family. Will a move mean that you will have to sell? If so, find out if anyone in your family is interested in purchasing it.

For more information on planning for retirement, please visit

For more information on BMO's home financing solutions, please visit

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About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $477 billion as at October 31, 2011, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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