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Stress versus sentiment: The real reasons why you don’t want to move home

Posted on 10 September 2018

Moving house is one of life’s most stressful experiences. That’s what you’re told, and there’s plenty of evidence to support it. But there’s a part of the equation that tends to be ignored.

Moving house is one of life's most stressful events

Moving house ranks slightly differently depending on the scale or survey, but it typically sits in the top five most stressful life events. It’s up there with divorce and the death of a loved one.

Clearly it causes a major disruption to your life, with the stress of it lasting three months on average, according to research by energy company E.ON. Buying and selling at the same time, dealing with estate agents and solicitors, keeping on top of the paperwork, deciding which possessions to keep and how to dispose of the rest: it’s a long list of challenges.

row of houses

So, why move house?

Such challenges are worth it when the gains outweigh the losses. It might be that moving home allows you to move in with a partner or take up a new job. Perhaps it gives you a fresh start or creates more space for the children or grandkids to run around in.

Our reasons for moving home change as you get older. For example, 18-24 year olds are the most likely to move to advance their career, while 25-34 year olds are the most likely to move because they need more space for their expanding family. Both reasons focus on hopes for the future. They anticipate getting ahead at work or having more children.

By contrast, those aged 55+ are the most likely to move so they can downsize and release some capital. Instead of moving to gain something, the decision is more about avoiding loss. It is taken to clear debts or top up pensions in order to feel more secure in the present. Social psychologists describe this change as a gradual shifting from promotion motivation to prevention motivation.

Except of course, those who do decide to downsize are still experiencing loss of a different kind.

grandfather and grandchild playing a game together

Sometimes the sentimental loss is too great

Humans are inherently territorial creatures who like familiarity, routine and order. When moving house, you temporarily lose all of these. Then there are the ripple effects throughout the rest of your life. You're not just changing your home and getting to know the new one, you might be in a new area where you have to take a different route to work or find a new doctor and dentist.

But it’s more than that. Every home and neighbourhood you belong to influences who you are. Look around your home now. All those little details reflect: your personality; how you see yourself and your family; the way you’ve lived your life; and what’s changed over the years.

Dismantling all of that personal history is hard because we are sentimentally attached to our homes, particularly as we get older.

What’s the right decision for you?

It may be that moving home in later life is a positive choice for you, in which case there’s plenty of advice available on reducing the stress involved.

But if you want to preserve those emotional ties, equity release will allow you to remain in your home until you either die or go into care. By borrowing money from the value of your house, you’ll have tax-free cash to spend on whatever you wish. The sum will be repaid from the proceeds of your house sale, with any surplus going to your family or wherever you choose in the usual way.

Anyone who’s ever moved house will agree it’s one of the most challenging life events to go through, both physically and emotionally. So, to make sure it’s the right decision for you: check out our equity release guide.

Find out more about The SunLife Over 55 Equity Release Service

For more information and to check your eligibility, call on 0800 633 5566 or request a call back.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services. Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.