Moving closer to your family is a wonderful way to spend your later years, and it can strengthen your most important bonds. But just because living near family in retirement sounds like a dream come true doesn't mean you should dive right into it without having a few essential conversations first.
If you're considering relocating after you retire, make sure you talk with your family about the following issues before the fact.
Time with Your Grandkids
More time with grandchildren is a common motivator for moving closer to family in retirement, but you need to be on the same page as your family about how much time you'll spend together.
For instance, you may want to spend time golfing, dancing and dining out, but your kids and grandkids may expect you at every swim meet, little league game, ballet recital or school play. Alternatively, maybe you're planning on spending lots of time with your kids and grandkids, but they have busy schedules that can't be changed. In either case, mismatched expectations can clash and cause hurt feelings.
To avoid this, be sure to discuss how you'll fit into the family dynamic after you move. This conversation can help everyone set reasonable expectations.
Your Social Outlets
How will you plan to spend your days in retirement after you've moved? Uprooting your life post-career means you may have to make new friends and find new social outlets. This can be a tough adjustment that you and your family should be prepared for.
Before you move, do some research into activities, clubs, associations or volunteer opportunities in your family's area. Coming into your new home ready to start building a local social network can take some pressure off your family. They won't have to worry about whether they'll be your only social outlet, and you can enjoy the anticipation of your fun retirement plans.
You and your adult children should talk openly about your expectations around childcare. If you're moving to be closer to grandchildren, that could mean something different to them than it does to you.
For instance, do your kids expect you to become an unpaid babysitter in retirement, even though you've got a list of fun activities you want to try? Alternatively, if you're looking forward to being your grandchild's regular babysitter, will you be upset if your family prefers to stick with the caregiver they already have in place?
Understanding how you and your children feel about your role in their childcare plans before you move closer to them can be a good way to prevent resentment and hurt feelings down the road.
In a perfect world, money would be no object when you move closer to your family in retirement. But with cross-country moves costing nearly $5,000 on average, the financial aspect of moving will definitely be part of your considerations, and those of your family.
That's because some families might assume they can count on each other for financial help with both expected and unexpected moving costs. If you're planning your move under the assumption that your kids will help defray part of the cost, that could cause some serious tension if they don't agree. Or, if you're planning to DIY everything from packing to driving a moving truck across the country when your children would be happy to pay for movers, you might be wasting time and energy by not bringing them into the discussion.
Crunch the numbers for your move and talk to your family about financial expectations so that you don't get in over your head financially or emotionally.
The process of moving can be pretty onerous, especially later in life. Perhaps you're hoping that some of your children might come to your current home to help you decide what to keep and what to give away so you'll have less to move. Or you may want your family's help with getting unpacked and settled in your new place.
If you need this kind of help with the logistical aspects of moving, tell your family directly. Assuming that they can help or that you have to do it all on your own could cost you time and money. A direct conversation can help you make the best moving plans for your situation, whether your family will be involved in certain parts of those plans or not.
Being Closer to Family in Retirement
There are a number of excellent reasons to move closer to family in retirement, but the process of moving can be full of potential pitfalls if you don't discuss expectations with your family. Open communication can help you ensure that your move will be a happy first step into a fulfilling retirement.