10,000 People Turn 65 Today…


More on the Downsize-Dilemma

I keep experiencing a sense of déjà vu lately. Four or five times a week, I find myself in the middle of the same conversation with completely different people!

Coincidence? I think not. The scenario goes something like this: A call comes in. The person is thinking about selling their home. They wonder whether I can come over to look at their place and give them some advice about what they may need to do to prepare it for sale.

They aren’t ready to sell yet. They’re just trying to get a better sense of what the big picture of real estate looks like. Where the market is and how much they might be able to sell for. All of this is great of course. It’s what I do. Over the years I’ve had hundreds of these calls.

And yet, when I get there, what’s supposed to be a simple Q&A about real estate, often turns into a much broader discussion about big life questions that are bouncing around in their heads. The existential dilemmas they are feeling. All the what-ifs about the future. The litany of concerns that come with aging. Their natural resistance to change. And just how hard it is to define what quality of life really looks like.

This is the conversation that’s making the rounds out there. It’s a collective expression of a huge, silent dreaming that’s welling up from deep within the culture.

The caller is usually somewhere between 55 and 75 years old. They often have aging parents and/or kids close to graduating college. They are wrestling with their own retirement issues. When to quit working? How to “move-down” and simplify life. Get rid of all the useless stuff in the garage. Maybe have fewer stairs and less property maintenance.

Along with all of the above, come even more complicated questions about things like: financial planning, family trusts, capital gains and property tax transfers, medicare, social security and long-term care insurance.  

Ultimately all of these things relate back to home and the role it plays in our lives. For most of us, home is the single biggest asset we’ll ever own, at the same time it’s the physical, emotional and spiritual centering place for our lives –  our refuge of safety, privacy, comfort and security. Home transitions are almost always a part of larger life transitions.

Sound familiar? Today 10,000 people in the US will turn 65.  More than a few of them live in Santa Cruz. Over the next five years, that number of is going to increase dramatically as the population continues to age  And that means the conversation is going to continue….


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