According to a 2002 AARP study, 80 percent of the grandparents surveyed said it is important to live near their children and grandchildren. But what goes with that decision? What is at stake, and how do you know if it is the best choice for you, your family, and your grandchildren?
Before you go packing up the U-Haul and move across the country — here are a few things to consider when making the decision to move closer to your grandchildren.
Are You Ready for a New Life?
If your children don’t live in the same city (or state) anymore, this could mean potentially starting over again. Consider this. Do you think you are ready for that? Even though you will be joining some familiar faces (your family), you will still have to start from the ground up again. From making friends, meeting neighbors, finding a grocery store, doctor, dentist, etc. — not to mention the potential selling of your home and acquiring a new one.
Before hastily moving anywhere, consider this: As the grandchildren grow older and start living their own busy lives (often leaving less & less time to spare for grandparents), you must develop your own life and let them be the wonderful addition. Some grandparents feel this more than others. They miss their old friends, church, and routine and eventually opt to move back to where they left off.
So, if you are thinking about moving closer to your grandchildren and you’ve weighed out the pros and cons — keep in mind that life has its unexpected twists and turns. With your children now bearing the weight of parenthood and your grandchildren becoming their own individuals, you must create a life worth enjoying.
How Often Are You Willing to Relocate?
Now, there is no guarantee that your children and grandchildren will stay put in the same city, same state, or even the same country. Life happens, and nothing ever stays the same. New job opportunities could pop up, relationships could change (maybe divorce), or possibly military life has the family relocated often.
That said, you can’t predict all the twists and turns that lie ahead. The only thing you can do is get a good understanding of the family dynamic and make your decision based on that. Remember, life is about the choices you make and the chances you take — don’t live in fear of the potential negativity.
The Move & Your Finances
Before getting involved with local movers and going through the process of disconnecting and reconnecting utilities, it’s best to vet the cost of living in your new area. If it is higher than where you are now, you’ll have to factor that in when building out your new life. If you were looking to cut back on your expenses anyway, you might want to research the tax environment for retirees as well.
According to the numbers by the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost of an interstate move was about $5,630 in 2012 (based on an average weight of 7,100 pounds and distance of 1,200 miles). These numbers have most likely risen quite a bit since 2012, so moving expenses should also be considered when mapping out your next destination.
Funding the Purchase of Your Next Home
Buying the right home later in life can make all the difference for you and your retirement. So can the way you choose to fund the purchase. Some people choose to pay all cash, so they won’t be burdened with a monthly mortgage payment. Others choose to take out a traditional 15- or 30-year mortgage, so they’ll only have to put down a fraction of the purchase price at closing. However, there is also a little-known and powerful third option, one that’s exclusively for homebuyers aged 62 and older.
It’s called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (H4P) loan and it can help you to keep more of your retirement assets to use as you wish compared to paying all cash. But it stills feels a lot like an all-cash payment, because, unlike a traditional mortgage, there are no monthly mortgage payments. As with any mortgage, you are still required to pay the property charges, like taxes and insurance.
Enjoy Being a Grandparent!
Moving to live near your grandchildren is no small leap. You may already have your mind made up, but it’s important to weigh out the pros and cons before creating a whole new life for you and your family. For some, the move makes sense, but other times making smaller compromises, like visiting your grandchildren for the summer, will make more sense for your type of life. Whatever decision you make, enjoy the most of your new role in the family and create as many beautiful memories as possible.