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I think most people dream about what they will do during retirement. I know I certainly catch myself daydreaming about the possibilities. With FIRE just around the corner for us, I can’t help but ponder about where we should live.
My wife and I grew up in the same neighborhood. For those that don’t know, we grew up seven houses from each other but didn’t meet each other until we were adults. I actually proposed to my wife on a trail right behind the house that she grew up in.
Both of us from time to time have joked around about moving back into our old neighborhood. While the nostalgia is definitely there, that neighborhood is aging rapidly. Moving back there would probably be very unwise financially. Our parents also no longer live there, although they are still in the general area. My wife and I currently live about 10-20 minutes from both of our parents and siblings.
While we enjoy being close to our families, the DC area is an extremely expensive place to live. It’s ranked as the 5th most expensive place to live in the US, and it’s not getting any cheaper any time soon.
My wife and I have considered leaving the area, mainly because we’d like more land and some privacy. Ideally, we would look out our window and not see what our neighbor was watching on TV. Of course, there are homes in our area with land and privacy. However, the cost of buying a house with all of our criteria would roughly be double the value of our current home. Needless to say, we’d need to move a little farther out to get all our desires met.
Proximity to Family
With that said, if we were to move from the area, we would be leaving behind all of our family. Usually, we see both of our families weekly. We like that our kiddo gets a lot of time with his grandparents as well.
The typical American lives 18 miles from their mother according to the New York Times. Researchers choose to study the distance from the mother specifically as women typically live 5% longer than men. The article also states that 80% of people live within a couple hour’s drive from their parents.
I actually have a friend from college that literally bought the house next to his parents. When I asked him why he chose to do that, he said, “My parents brought me into this world, and I’m going to see them out.”
Benefits of Proximity
The data suggests that the US is made up of close-knit families, often times with members of multiple generations depending on each another for financial and home-care support. With an aging baby boomer population and a growing number of two-income families with childcare needs, the studies confirm that this trend will continue.
Here are some interesting stats:
- 37% of adults have never left their hometown.
- 63% of adults have moved homes at least once in their lives.
- 57% of people have never lived outside the state that they were born.
- Only 15% of people have lived in four or more states.
When I started to write this article, my wife said most people are not like us in terms of enjoying the close proximity to family. She knows quite a few people who live away from their families and enjoy the distance. According to Pew research, my wife is correct. 40% of adults desire to live someplace other than their hometown where their extended family is located.
The average ownership of a single-family home according to NAHB (National Association of Homebuilders) is 13 years. So on average, we can assume that adult couples own an average of five homes in a lifetime.
Coincidentally, I lived in my childhood home for 13 years before my parents moved and I went to college. I am actually coming up on the 13th anniversary of the home that I bought right after college. Guess it’s time to move soon!
Currently, we do not have a mortgage, and if I have it my way, I would love to remain mortgage-less when we move. Although, I’m not sure how realistic that would be. It would mostly depend on location.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Running through the numbers, it appears that I would probably need to work an additional five years to live in a home that could comfortably meet our desires while also providing enough space for our growing family.
So the tradeoff for us is, do I delay retirement by five years to stay close to family, or do we move somewhere more affordable so that I can start my retirement earlier? I think I am leaning towards delayed retirement so that we can stay close to our family. It’s only five extra years, right?
What do you think readers? Has anyone delayed retirement to stay closer to family? Or are you trying to move away from family? Share your thoughts below.