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November 20, 2014
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Downsizing for the future


My husband and I recently decided to put our Manhattan loft on the market, ending a nearly 40-year run of vibrant family life in the rambling 3,000-square-foot home my husband built with sheetrock and two-by-fours from the initial investment of a relative pauper. My husband will continue to run his business in the city, so we can’t sever our ties completely. We will find a smaller place, in a not-so-trendy neighborhood. By downsizing now, we hope to live debt-free and give our children a head start on their futures. We also want to spend some time together as a couple again, rather than as roommates with our adult children. In Manhattan, as in most places outside of Detroit, the cost of living is too high for those starting out. Most people we know are in the same situation. We baby boomers gave birth to the boomerang generation, who move back home after college unable to pay the high rents in desirable urban areas.

We worried at first that our children would balk at this move, having lived happily as loft rats. But they too are watching the lives of people around them and taking note of the responsibilities that fall to adult children. If we can tie up loose ends before it’s too late, it will be easier on them in the end. Many more choices are ahead of us as we age. Life is ultimately tragic, ending as it does, even more so if you have lived it well, as we intend.