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Why Words Like ‘Rightsizing’ Matter

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(Hint: you’re not ‘downsizing’ or ‘smart sizing’ for a reason)

Words Matter.

I remember learning this lesson a long time ago, but it was only when I started CMFTO that it really hit home just how important it was to use the right words. A recent Washington Post article on “smart sizing” reminded me why I choose to say “rightsizing” instead.

Typically, “downsizing” has been used to represent the choice someone makes to go from their long-term family home into something that’s more appropriate for empty nesters. The article suggests that the better way to refer to this process is to call it “smart sizing,” but I disagree.

Both “DOWNsizing” and “SMART sizing” carry a negative connotation. It’s as if we’re saying either a) your life is now going downhill, or b) you weren’t exactly brilliant in your previous choices. Neither of these options feel good. Instead, I prefer “rightsizing.”

Rightsizing is about being proactive in your lifestyle choices. With our Rightsizing Done Right™ approach, we’ve worked with clients who needed to rightsize into a bigger home, not smaller. Just as we’ve worked with clients who have moved from independent condo living to assisted living. This is the correct option for these clients, and it’s neither “down” nor “smart” – it’s “right.”

For our clients undergoing more difficult transitions, we have seen their faces brighten when we use the term rightsizing instead of downsizing. The reason for their relief is simple: “rightsizing” feels better. It’s proactive, and it feels like a positive step forward, not a step down.

So, while we appreciate the Post’s attempt to move from “downsizing” to “smart sizing” – it’s still not enough. In every aspect of our lives, it’s important that we view our choices as what’s “right” for where we are now and where we want to be in the future. 

All my best,

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