The Pros and Cons of Retiring Near Your Family

Happy multi-generation family gathering around dining table and having fun during a lunch.
Drazen Zigic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of the questions that many seniors ask themselves is, “Should I retire near my family?”

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Although the answer may seem obvious if you are close with your family, there are actually a number of pros and cons to consider that can make this a more complicated decision.

Here’s a quick overview of the things you should consider if you’re deciding whether it’s a good idea to retire near your family.

Pro: Won’t Have To Move To Be Closer To Your Family

The most obvious pro of retiring near your family — if you already live in the same area, of course — is that you won’t have to spend any time or money moving closer to them. Staying where you are avoids expensive costs like the commissions and potential taxes of selling a home, the fees to hire movers and the upfront capital required to buy or rent a new residence.

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Con: May Be a More Expensive Area

If your family lives in an expensive area, you may find that your retirement nest egg might not stretch as far as you would like. If your family lives in Manhattan, for example, you might struggle to keep up with the cost of living, particularly if you rely only on a Social Security check.

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Pro: Won’t Have To Pay for Care

Assuming your family is willing to take care of you, living close by can be a tremendous boon as you age and/or if you find yourself in poor health. If you’re living alone all the way across the country, you may have to hire an expensive (and potentially impersonal) caretaker.

Con: May Burden Your Family

Although your family may be more than willing to help take care of you in your old age, it certainly will create added burdens on their lives. Whether that means costing them money to help care for you or giving up the time they need for their jobs and their own families, sacrifices will no doubt have to be made. For some retirees, this can weigh on their minds.

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Pro: Can See Grandkids and Relatives as Much as You Want

One of the true joys of growing older is seeing your grandchildren or other relatives grow up. If you live close to your family, you can be there for all of the special moments in their lives, from birthdays and graduations to everyday happenings such as sporting events or class plays. 

Con: May Get Pulled Into Additional Obligations

While you may be more than happy to babysit your grandkids, older relatives who live near their families are often leaned on too heavily. For example, you may become taken for granted as the de facto babysitter for any and all occasions, even if you have some important obligations of your own on the calendar.

Pro: Won’t Have To Pay To Travel

If you live in a different city or state than your family, your travel expenses will necessarily go up — sometimes dramatically. For example, you might have to drive or even fly multiple times per year if you want to be present for special occasions, particularly if you have numerous grandkids or other relatives. 

Con: Family Visits Won’t Necessarily Be ‘Special Occasions’

Living away from your family means that any time you get together it has the potential to be a special occasion. If you see your family only once or twice per year, such as at Easter and Christmas, those holidays can take on extra-special significance. Living close to your family could turn visits into more ordinary occurrences.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.
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