Should You Move to Your Children’s New City?

Multigeneration Latino family walking in the park together, with a young boy and young girl running ahead.

As children get older and grow their families, should Boomers move closer to them?

In the past, active adults and retirees downsized in the south, where warmer weather meant fewer outdoor chores (goodbye snow shoveling!) and fewer aches (cold and arthritis just don’t mix). Often, it can also mean cheaper living.

But those days may be over. Turns out, Boomers enjoy being close to family and friends more than warmer weather. As you come closer to retiring or have already retired but are looking to downsize, have you considered moving to your children’s new city? What if their new city is far from friends and the place you have called home for decades?

For Ken Garvey and his wife, the choice to move from the family home in Chicago to the suburbs closer to their children and grandchildren was easy. “We found that as our children started getting married and growing their families, we were spending more and more time out in the suburbs,” he says. “My wife often helps watch our grandkids while their parents work and we head out to the suburbs at least two times a week, if not more, to watch sporting event or school performances.”

The Garveys are fortunate that they could find a place close enough to their children and grandchildren, but still offered them city living. They purchased a condo at Foxford Station in downtown Western Springs, Ill., which is about 30 minutes from downtown Chicago. The walkable community is close to the Western Springs Metro Station, making it easy to get to dining, entertainment, cultural attractions and more.

“It’s provides us with the ability to still enjoy a walkable location that is closer to our grandchildren,” Garvey says. “Additionally, being close to the train will give us an easy opportunity to get back to the city whenever we want and still provide me with the opportunity to continue working part time.”

In October, Del Webb released the results of a survey on the homebuying habits of 55+ buyers. The Del Webb Boomer Survey which was sponsored by national homebuilder, PulteGroup, Inc., found that 55+ homebuyers want to be close to family.

“Thirty-three percent indicated that is extremely or very important to have grandchildren within walking distance of their next home,” says Valerie Dolenga, director of corporate communications for PulteGroup. “When we asked them to rank all the considerations, grandchildren ranked No. 1.”

Homebuilders and developers are privy to buyer’s needs, as well as wants. They know that Boomers want an active lifestyle, walkable communities and a connection to not only health facilities and grocery stores, but to entertainment and cultural events too. Throughout the country, Boomers can find maintenance-free living that doesn’t just mean pinochle afternoons. These vibrant new retirement communities mean they can live close to family and not give up an active lifestyle.

“While we spend a lot of time with our kids and grandkids, they also have their own lives,” Garvey says. “For us, we wanted to stay active and find a community that would let us still do the things we enjoy beyond spending time with our family.”

Moving away from the family home can mean moving to a warmer climate that is far from family and friends. But, it can also mean finding the right maintenance-free home of your dreams closer to family. Boomers no longer have to give up family to find the right place to enjoy their retirement.

Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning journalist and former content manager for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.

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