It’s a powerful desire that draws us near our grandchildren. Having a long-distance relationship with them can be strenuous, especially when you’re wanting to enjoy these years and really put the time and effort into spending quality time with your grandkids. So could that be a deciding factor on where you retire?
In the past, most people lived, worked, and died in a smaller geographical area but today we’re spread out all over the country and even the world. According to a recent AARP study, 80% of the self-identified grandparents said that it’s important to live near their children and grandchildren. However, it can take a lot of courage and effort to start all over in a new town at this stage of their life. Moving can be expensive and you may or may not want to live in that town. So what are some things to consider when deciding if you should retire where your grandkids live?
#1. Financial costs.
It can be costly to move. Not only will you have to sell or get rid of your current home, but you’ll have to purchase another and depending on your mortgage, you may need to start over with another one. This may or may not be a factor, however, as you may have enough equity to simply buy a home outright paying all the commission costs and having a little extra profit for moving expenses.
#2. Emotional costs.
Moving can be emotional as well, especially if you have lived in one area for a long time. You’ve established roots, friendships, and community togetherness. It can be difficult to leave familiar surroundings, doctors, and routines. But, the other perspective is that you’ll have a fresh outlook, potentially better doctors, a safer community, and to have the support of family around you.
#3. Personal identity.
Consider how you prioritize your family. What will be your role as a grandparent when you live close to your adult children and grandchildren? Are you ready to take a more active part in your grandchildren’s lives? Is it important to you to watch your grandchildren grow up? It’s important to be honest with yourself and your immediate family or spouse before making this big decision. You want to create your own life in a new location and not be completely dependent on your adult children or grandchildren for happiness. The best way to do this is to get involved with a local church, community organization, volunteer, or get a part-time job to expand your social circle.
#4. Family dynamics.
Ask your adult children how they really feel about you living closer? This has to be an honest conversation. Are there unresolved issues between you and your children? Are they looking for you just to be a babysitter? How will the family dynamic work once you live in close proximity with the rest of your family? It can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.
#5. Make a pros and cons list.
By writing out a list of all the pros and cons you’ll get from moving closer to your grandchildren, you can talk through some serious issues and decide whether or not this is the right plan for your family. There are a lot of pros but there may also be cons as well. Think about the cost of living, does your spouse agree, will you need support if your spouse or partner passes away or becomes ill? Don’t just think immediate but think down the road five, 10, or even 15 years and what it looks like being closer to your children and your grandchildren.
#6. Should it be a part-time thing?
Maybe the best option would be a six-month on, six-month off situation. If your grandchildren live in a warmer client or if you currently do, you might consider a vacation home or your grandchildren live. This might be a great way to still maintain some self-identity and your friendships in your current community while building friendships and a relationship with your grandchildren in the other community.
Considering a move in your retirement years can seem a little bit stressful but with some planning, communication, and direction, you can find a plan that works for your entire family.