Tori Spelling can downsize, how about you?

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott and family


By Stephanie Holmes-Winton, personal finance expert


You gotta love a girl who grew up as one of the richest kids in the world (in one of the richest homes in the world –

a 57,000 sq ft mansion, known as “The Manor,” that went on the market for $150 million in 2009), yet refused to

bank on her parents’ money. Indeed, when her father - television mogul Aaron Spelling - passed away, she

reportedly got less than $1 million of his $500 million estate.


So it’s even more refreshing that Tori Spelling and husband Dean McDermott continued to surprise a lot of people

when they put their “mini-mansion” in Encino up for sale and moved into a much smaller home in Malibu. What

was Tori’s reasoning behind this decision? Given the costly Malibu real estate market, the new home has been

reported to cost about as much as the sale price of the former home, so it can’t be money; but it is remarkably

smaller (around 2,300 square feet). Indeed, Tori and Dean reportedly wanted a cozier home so their growing

brood wasn’t stretched over so much space. They wanted to make sure that as a family of five, they were together

most of the time when at home. They also wanted to have more animals, thanks to the new nearly 2-acre property

(have you seen the mini farm they had hidden in the backyard of their old place?), so their children would grow up

learning to care for other living things. How awesome is that?


Most of us have heard of downsizing once the kids fly the coop so we don’t end up rattling around a big old empty

house. But what about early life downsizing? What about seizing the opportunity to look at what you really want

from your life now? You might just find that for you too, less house could equal more of the life you want.

What could you do with less house?

Less to dust is just the beginning of the possible upside to downsizing much earlier in life. A smaller pad can

happen for all kinds of different reasons, the most important of which should be that it helps you to fulfill your true

desires in life.


Think about it…


  • What freedoms could you experience from less house?

  • What family time could you recapture?

  • What money could you save for fulfilling life goals and experiences?

With that in mind, let’s start by exploring some financial benefits to downsizing:

  • Less to clean. Whether you are a DIY duster or have a cleaning lady, time and money can be saved when 

    there is less space to clean.

  • Shrink your mortgage. If downsizing results in the purchase of a less expensive home, you can shave years 

    off your repayment clock and save thousands in interest on dollars you no longer have to borrow.

  • Less to heat. If you are strategic about it, you may be able to find a home that not only has less space to 

    heat, but also one with the most efficient type of heating.

  • Lower property taxes. Generally, if you purchase a less expensive home, you could save some serious 

    dough on municipal taxes.

And what about the lifestyle benefits?

  • Location, location, location. Downsizing may mean you can afford a home in a more convenient location to 

    reduce your commute. Perhaps you can move somewhere that allows you to walk to the grocery store or use 

    the subway.

  • Purge. Too many of us are drowning in stuff. There are way too many TV shows about money being spent on 

    storage lockers filled to the brim with stuff – and then abandoned for other people to bid on. How crazy does 

    that sound when you really think about it? Indeed, how freeing would it be to rid yourself of things you don’t 

    need; you may not even realize what’s bogging you down until you just let go.

  • Life lesson. Let’s be frank, kids don’t model the things you say, they copy what you do. Consciously opting for 

    less space can teach your kids a valuable lesson about what’s really important in life.

  • Together time. Think about time at the cottage vs. time at home. A smaller space means that the family just 

    can’t get quite so spread out. By the very nature of the space, you end up together more.

Smaller doesn’t mean cheaper

Be careful. Even if you decide to downsize, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically spend less. It’s easy to rationalize 

renovating a smaller space and get carried away fixing up your smaller abode to run more efficiently (cool

containers, shelves, and closet organizers really add up). And don’t forget to factor in moving costs, including real

estate fees, land transfer tax, furnishings that may need to be given away or sold (and replaced with more

compact alternatives), among other often unexpected expenses.


Instead of jumping right in, take the time to live in the smaller space so you can make strategic purchases. Set a

monthly limit on how much you will spend each month getting your new place sorted out. Don’t assume the rooms

or closets must be used for the same purposes as the last homeowner. A smaller kitchen may come without a

pantry, but a conveniently located coat closet may make a great alternative that you can convert with some

inexpensive shelving.

Where life meets money, true planning begins

Taking your family down a couple of hundred, or a couple of thousand, square feet isn’t for everyone. But it is a

great option that far too many of us leave off our list of possibilities until our golden years. We can all live our own

definition of success, and it doesn’t have to include a large home.


It comes down to asking yourself what you really and truly want from your life. If downsizing could help you achieve

that, do your homework, make a plan – and start thinking small!


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