PRINT E-MAIL SHARE

Retirement: 3 things to consider before moving

sara kendall | Improvement Center Columnist | November 18, 2016

retirement moving to family

One in three Americans has nothing saved for retirement, according to a recent Time.com article. If you're one of them, and are living entirely off Social Security, you may decide to move in with family to save money. It can be a good option, but be sure to discuss these issues before you start packing.

1. Your contribution to household finances

Let's tackle the big one first: how are you and your family going to divide costs? It's no one's favorite topic, but if you're moving in with your family, the best way to prevent arguments or resentments about money is to agree on a plan. Here are a few points to reiview:

  • What amount should you pay toward utility bills?
  • Will you need to pay for your own groceries?
  • Can you contribute to the rent or mortgage?

If your family wants you to contribute to finances, a quick word of advice: don't blow your entire budget on living expenses and leave nothing for yourself. It is important to have a little pocket money to enjoy a hobby. Discuss instead what a fair percentage of your budget should be contributed to household necessities.

2. Your household duties

If your budget is too tight to meaningfully help with household expenses, then perhaps your contribution to the family home can be your time. Here are some ideas to consider. Mark off whatever you'd be willing to do, and run it past your family:

  • House cleaning. Make sure you specify exactly what you can handle. If you are expecting to do the dishes and wipe off the counters, but your family wants you to handle household laundry, change the birdcage, and dust in every room, neither you nor your relatives may be happy. Get on the same page in advance.
  • Childcare. This can mean dropping kids off at school and picking them up, watching them until their parents are home, making sure homework gets done, and fixing them a snack before dinner. If the kids are too young to be in school, then caring for them might mean keeping them entertained all day long. Consider your health and energy level before agreeing to serve as a live-in "nanny."
  • Cooking. Are you willing to take care of dinner every night? What about lunches for the kids? Who's handling breakfast? Even taking care of one of these meals could be a huge help. If you decide you can manage this, make sure the kitchen is organized so you and won't be doing a lot of bending, lifting, and reaching that can be hard on your joints.

You can contribute to a clean house and happy grand-children, but be realistic about what you're ready and willing to take care of. Encourage your family to be equally honest about whether the chores you can do would be helpful to them.

3. Your comfort

Depending on how far away your family lives, you may be leaving behind your community, friends, and daily routine. Before you move, look into what your new zip code has to offer. Check for:

  • Cheap or free ways to get involved in the neighborhood, such as volunteering in the local school or classes and activities offered by the Parks and Recreation department or community college.
  • Ways to make friends. Are there already groups you can imagine joining, or are you going to have to create them yourself? Try calling the local YMCA, Parks and Rec office, or any of your new town's museums or libraries before you move so you don't feel totally groundless when you first show up.
  • Ways to make a little extra money. If you dream of traveling or enjoy dining out on occasion, you'll need to finance it somehow. Getting a part-time job is a great way to make friends, stay active, and generate some cash. If you're interested in having a second career, see what options are available in the city you intend to move to, and consider what you'd want to spend your money on. If you own the home you currently live in, consider renting it out, or upgrading it with a few well-chosen renovations before you sell it to get top dollar.

By agreeing on how you'll contribute to your new family home and digging around for some resources in advance, you should adjust quickly to living with your family and enjoy your retirement.

About the Author

Sara Kendall is a freelance writer and editor living in Austin, TX with her husband and her dog. She writes about being a renter, designing your home, and other home improvement topics.