Moving in with the Family: How to Make it Work

Once you have reached retirement age, you will have many decisions and considerations to make. Perhaps the largest of these decisions will revolve around where you want to live as you move into older age. For many of us, the home we have built throughout our lives represents the family we built and grew and is where we made many of our life’s memories. However, once you reach retirement, you may realize that the home you love so much is a little too much for you to handle. You will likely have high utility and heating bills. That big home will also require that you clean and maintain a larger area. When you first retire, that large house might not seem like too much to maintain. However, you should think about your mobility as you age. What may be an easy task today might turn into a struggle as you get older.

Because of all that can go into maintaining a large home, many retirees start to think about the possibility of downsizing. Most retirees have most likely paid off the mortgage on their larger home which can turn in to a large advantage when time to sell and purchase something smaller or more manageable. By using the equity from the sale of their large house they may be able to afford a smaller house, apartment or bungalow. But although this will be the ideal solution for a retired, relatively fit and able couple, it may not be so convenient for anyone who lives alone or may have caring needs. For these individuals, purchasing another home may not be the ideal choice. Instead, living with family may be the smarter decision.

Before making any kind of large decision related to where you want to live, it is important to consider all options, as well as the implications of any decisions. If you are a retiree that thinks it wisest to move in with family, it is important to think about whether or not you think you will be able to live with your family full time. On the surface, this may seem like an obvious consideration to make. However, living with family everyday can be quite different than anything you have experienced for quite some time. It will no longer be spending short periods of time together for holidays and birthdays. It will be spending a lot more time together and seeing each other each and every day.

The next consideration to think about if you want to live with family is where exactly you will be living. You want to ensure that should you move in with family you will have sufficient privacy. The level of privacy you need will depend on you personally but you want to make sure that you will be able to have your own private time and will be able to maintain whatever level of independence feels comfortable for you. You may want to ensure that you have your own area in the house in order to maintain privacy and an area that is exclusively for your use. Now you may be in the fortunate position of having a ready-made annex, with your own living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom included. However, not every family has this kind of living situation at their disposal. For most families, building this kind of accommodation will require conversion building work, or even having the accommodation built from scratch. Of course, this may be expensive which means that you will have to consider the cost and if it is affordable. You will also want to determine whether or not you want to spend your savings on such an accommodation. Those who are lucky enough to have ready funds at their disposal, such as equity from the sale of their larger house, pension or annuity payments, will find that financing this should not be a problem. However, if you aren’t in that kind of position, you will need to think about how you will pay for the new accommodations.

Having your own annex or ‘granny flat’ in the grounds of your family’s home will therefore be the perfect solution for most retirees. Again, the personal choice of where to live during retirement will depend on your preferences. What seems like the ideal situation for some, may not work for you. However, if you have the option to live with family, you may choose to spend your retirement years with the people you love most in your life. Choosing where to live is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. Take some time to really weigh the pros and cons before making any definite decisions.