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Crazy or cozy? Deciding whether or not to move closer to your adult kids.

What to consider as you make this big familial and financial decision.

Has moving closer to your adult kids crossed your mind? You’ve probably already thought of the potential upsides: You can start fresh in a new city and new home, switch up your career, and best of all, be closer to your children and grandchildren.

You might also have heard some cautionary tales about doing this from friends or acquaintances who relocated with less than perfect results: they sold their home for less than desired, it caused a gap in pay for their career, or their kids ended up moving again.

Like a lot of big life decisions, you can find the right answer for yourself and your family by asking smart questions. Here are a few of the most important to get started:

Can I find a way to test drive this move?

We’re going to answer for you: Yes!

Stockpile some vacation time and try an extended stay of at least a month. Make sure it’s during “normal” times, not just holidays. Really get a sense of the routines for you, your kids and their family by doing ordinary stuff like grocery shopping, going to the gym, getting a haircut.

Does your company offer flexibility, letting you work remotely, take a sabbatical, or work based out of a different branch of the same company? If so, try to arrange a home swap, or temporarily rent out your current home to cover costs of renting in the test location, and see how it goes.

What will my kids think of living closer to their parent(s)?

Ideally, less distance between you and your kids—and, perhaps, grandkids—will mean more time to spend together. This can be amazing for your family, but also means you need to set new boundaries.

Have a discussion with your adult children and their partners to make sure you’re all in agreement about what your move may mean for your relationships. Some questions to consider are:

  • Will it be OK to pop in without calling first?
  • What are the expectations or limits on babysitting for grandparents?
  • How frequently will the family have dinner together (and who foots the bill)?
  • How will everyone ask for help when needed—whether for yard work or a ride to the airport?
  • How long will your kids be staying in this location? If your kids move away, what happens then?

Will all my kids be close if I move?

For bigger families, a relocation may put a parent or parents closer to one child than to another. Consider how you’ll stay connected across the miles and establish a sense of fairness when it comes to the time and attention you want to give all your loved ones. Also consider how much you may spend traveling to see family in other locations. Would it cost more than where you live now? Again, talk it out together.

Can I afford to move somewhere more expensive?

Consider the cost of living for your new locale. You may need to tweak your spending habits if you move someplace more expensive.

Do the math on what you’ve been spending on travel to visit your kids when they weren’t close, and if you’re saving on airfare or car mileage, consider investing that money for retirement.

Would downsizing cost me more?

Moving can be expensive, and if you haven’t moved in a while, you might experience sticker shock. The costs to sell your home, buy a new one, move your belongings, and get settled in can really add up.

Next, consider whether you want a big home for hosting family—or a smaller home than you have now. Downsizing can mean less home to take care of—but it doesn’t necessarily mean scaling back costs much. On average, people ages 65 to 74 who sell a $270,000 home turn around and buy one for $250,000.1 Demand for smaller homes, and extra bells and whistles, can drive up costs.

Do I want to shift gears in my career?

Lots of options here: Do you need to keep working as much as you have been? Part-time or even a break from the daily grind to go back to school could be a good fit with this move closer to your kids.

If you love your current job, negotiate with your employer to see if you can stay with your company, either by working remotely in your current position, or by transferring to another facility or office nearer to your kids. This can be a permanent change or just temporary, if you’re test-driving the new location for a few months.

Another option? Start your own business. People between the ages of 55 and 64 are a fast-growing group of new business owners, representing 25.5% of entrepreneurs.This is a big financial leap though, so make sure you—and your bank account—are prepared for it.

Is this where I’ll want to live when I retire?

There’s no right or wrong answer on this, but it’s helpful to do a little forecasting on financial conditions for yourself.

  • Services: What are the costs of adding comforts like lawn care or home repairs by a pro? Research à la carte options or the package costs of a private, low-maintenance neighborhood that caters to retirees.
  • Taxes: Would my taxes go down after retirement in this location? Maybe. Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming are among the best for retirees.3
  • Healthcare: Will I be close to the kinds of medical specialists and facilities I want? Are out-of-pocket costs for doctors and hospital stays higher here than where I love now? You can’t predict your exact costs, but resources like the Kaiser Family Foundation have some research that can help.4

Thinking through these seven questions carefully can help you with the big decisions about moving. Through careful planning and thoughtful discussions with your family, deciding to move closer to your children and grandchildren can be a very rewarding change for your family, career, and finances.

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