Thinking About Moving Closer to Your Grandkids? Read This First

Parents who are glad to see their kids grow up, move away, and become independent often have a change of heart when they become grandparents.

Phone calls and Skype conversations are no substitute for personal contact with grandchildren, who grow up very quickly. Long drives to visit them are tiring and airline flights can be expensive. Eventually it may make sense for you to relocate to be closer.

Talk to Your Children Now

Before you move to be near your grandchildren, it’s best to have a family discussion. You’ll need to be sure that your kids are happy with the idea of having you living nearby. You’ll also need to make sure that your children don’t have any moves of their own planned.

Young adults often need to relocate to take new jobs, said Eric Tyson, author of “Personal Finance for Dummies.” If you move thousands of miles only to find that your son or daughter plans to relocate, you’ll be deeply disappointed. Tyson suggests that you have “a heart to heart about what the situation is” before you contemplate a move.

Moving in With Your Grandchildren

Sometimes financial issues prompt parents and their grown children to live together. A 2018 report by the Pew Research Center said the number of Americans living in multigenerational households is rising, despite improvements in the economy since the Great Recession of 2007. In 2016, 20 percent of America’s population lived in multigenerational situations.

Once you decide to live with your children and grandchildren, you’ll need to have a chat about financial responsibilities. The key to avoiding conflict is knowing what everyone’s expectations are, said Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist in the Chicago area. It helps if you and your kids are on the same page about who will pay for such things as utilities and the mortgage.

“You have to figure out your wants and needs and clearly communicate them,” Lombardo said.

It’s also important not to try to manage your children’s and grandchildren’s lives once you move in with them, she added. You may not agree with all of your children’s parenting decisions, but they will have the final say.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Relocating to be near grandchildren is a big job. You’ll have to contend with packing, loading your things into a moving truck, and unpacking. If you’re moving in with adult children, you likely will need to downsize your possessions. That means selling some items or putting them in storage. To figure out if a move is affordable, factor in all of your moving costs. This may include the costs of selling your home and buying a new one.

Before you decide to relocate, ask yourself how disruptive the move will be. Moving means establishing yourself in a new community. That requires you to find a new barber, a new place to buy groceries, and new doctors. Also consider how far your money will go in the new community. It’s a good idea to compare the cost of living near your children and grandchildren to staying put.

“You should know what you are getting yourself into,” said Tyson.

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