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Deciding to downsize: Some keys to making a decision

How do you and your spouse make milestone decisions? We’re all different – and very little of it is easy, but these elements can help smooth the way.

Talk: Often life gets in the way of meaningful conversations. Take the time to sit down and really talk things through. What’s important to each of you? Bud and I had different, but compatible, bucket lists. We also came to understand how important it was for each of us have some level of control over the process.

Research: Investigate all housing options. This helps identify “deal breaker” aspects, gives you direction and helps avoid that overwhelmed feeling. One of your best resources can be a good Realtor.

Do the Math: Talk with your banker, financial planner and/or accountant – they’ll know your financial potential and can identify constraints. There are several ways to finance downsizing depending on your resources and commitments. You’ll need to know which option suits you best – and which might be used as a backup.

Plan: Many downsizings happen in the wake of less-than-happy events – the death of a parent or close neighbor or friend, marriage of offspring, divorce. The most successful downsizings happen early – before circumstances force action. Start planning now.

Get help: Flash! Interior designers are not just for the wealthy. They look at living space from a unique and very practical “how-will-your-daily-life-flow-in-this-home” perspective. Ours, Cindy McLaughlin of Upstairs/Downstairs (upstairsdownstairsdesign.com, 82 Webster St., Manchester, 625-5800), made sure our existing furniture would fit our new space and made such unexpected and significant improvements in our floor plan that we’re still shaking our heads. This was huge in helping us relax into our decision. Central New Hampshire is rich with great designers. Most offer hourly and “whole project” pricing. 3-W Design (3wdesigninc.com, 7 Henniker St., Concord, 226-3399), Vintage Kitchens (vintagekitchens.com, 24 South St., Concord, 224-2854) are just two that have great showrooms. Visit several to see who “clicks.”

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