Should You Relocate to Live Closer to Family in Retirement as a Single Woman?

It’s rare that we imagine ourselves facing retirement without our spouse or partner. Unfortunately, most women outlive their male partners for at least 5-6 years - and 26% of retirees are divorced. All of this to say, it’s possible you may find yourself in a position as a single woman to make decisions about where you want to live in retirement, and whether or not relocating to be near family is in the cards. 

Let’s review when and if it makes sense to relocate to be closer to your family as a single woman in retirement, and what you should consider before making a final decision. 

Weighing the Financial Pros and Cons

It can be useful to start by reviewing the financial benefits and drawbacks of relocation. This will give you a logical foundation for your decision. Even if you end up choosing to relocate when the pros don’t outweigh the cons, you will at least have a clear understanding of the roadblocks you may face. 

First, let’s go over the potential benefits of relocating to be near your family if you find yourself widowed or divorced in retirement:

  1. You may be able to reduce the cost of travel if you’re interested in spending more time with kids and grandkids during retirement.
  2. Depending on where your family lives, the cost of living may be lower, and state and local taxes may be lower.
  3. If you’ve lived in your current home for a while, you may be able to take advantage of increased property value when selling your home to roll into a new home purchase and still free up cash flow.

Now, let’s look at possible financial drawbacks:

  1. Just as your cost of living and taxes may be lower where your family lives, they may also be higher. It’s important to do your research on these things before booking the moving truck!
  2. Moving can be expensive and a headache - especially if you are planning to downsize or completely revamp your living space.
  3. The family you’re planning to move near may choose to relocate again - which would bring up all of these financial questions again. 

Beyond the Numbers

Of course, moving near family is never 100% a financial decision. Many retirees want to be closer to kids and grandkids to be more involved in their daily lives. If that’s your goal, relocating may make a lot of sense for you. However, you will need to think beyond the “highlight reel” you’ve imagined. The truth is that, even if you live closer to family, you likely won’t spend every waking moment with them. So, what will you do with the rest of your time and energy? 

Take the time to go beyond your initial desire to be near family, and any financial benefits you gain from relocating, to think through what your daily life will look like in your new home. In fact, it may even be wise to “test drive” living near your family by renting an apartment or home for an extended period of time before officially moving. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Your support network. Yes, you’ll be near family - but what about friends? A church community? Your preferred physicians? How will you restructure a support network?
  2. Daily activities. Will you take on a part-time job to meet people? Join groups or clubs? Volunteer? Think through what life with and without your family will look like when you move.
  3. Future planning. Is long-term care available in your new community? Will your family plan to stay there long-term so you don’t all have to move?  

Need Help?

Deciding whether or not to relocate near your family as a single woman in retirement can be stressful. Understanding your finances and clearly defining your retirement goals with a financial planner can help. Get in touch with us today! We’re here to walk you through these big decisions to help you live your best life in retirement.

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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