Differences with spouse on where to live following retirement

wrychoice1July 20, 2014

I have 6 weeks left until my last day of working in a profession I have practiced for 38 years. Not sure what I will do when the second week of September rolls around and I do not have to get up to go to the office. The initial plan was for my husband to work thorugh the end of the year, but as it gets closer to my last day, he is talking more and more like he will also give his notice. I was kind of looking to forward to having a few months on my own before he was retired, too. I was hoping to sort out for myself how I wanted to spend my time without feeling obligated to also consider what he might want. We are having a difficult time trying to figure out where we want to live in the next couple years and I fear we will simply remain where we are because we cannot resolve the differences between us with respect to where we would like to live in retirement. I was never fortunate enough to have children; he has 3 from a previous marriage and several grandchildren. Two of his children (and 3 grandchildren) live in the Pacific NW; another lives in a western state (along with his 4th grandchild). My siblings live in the SE, along with all my nieces and nephews with whom I am very close. My husband and I live in the midwest. I know he wants to move out west to be closer to his children and grandchildren. While I have a civil relationship with his adult children, it is not close by any means. At first, I was OK with the idea of moving west, thinking I could always come back home for extended visits...but as the retirement thing is moving ever closer, I am beginning to get concerned.

Anyone else confront something similar --- where you and your spouse have very different ideas about where to live following retirement?

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Congratulations on the impending retirement!!! Many options are going to depend on your age, health, financial resources (big one!) and/or how you may feel about your current home.

DH and I have been retired a little over a year now and it's just the best ever! We are originally from CT and we were fortunate to both work for the same company. 13 years before we retired, we transferred to our AZ office because we both knew this was were we wanted to end up. So we got to enjoy many of the perks of retirement lifestyle (weather, resort environment, palm trees and pool in backyard, endless golf opportunities for DH, NO SNOW) for many years. Thus no angst about where to go now. The trade off is that until DH sons moved out here too, most of family and friends are still in CT so that necessitates more travel.

Sorry for rambling on about "us" but wanted to set the stage for what we've observed while here. DH and I are totally unlike your situation because we were in perfect harmony on the "where", but it seems the happiest people we see originally from the Midwest with dispersed families - and who have the financial means and good health - are those who keep a home base for summer in the Midwest; visit or plan longer-term winter stays in the SE. Scatter in visits in the NW. The unhappiest ones are the ones who tore up roots and moved to be closer to one or the other and then the loved ones moved or had to relocate for work, divorced, ended up too busy to spend the time with them they imagined.

STRONGLY advise don't make any major moves or sell the house without test driving some of the scenarios.

I retired and expected to have at least a year on my own before my slightly younger husband retired, but he got laid off (thankfully with full pay and benefits for 10 months) 3 days after I retired! But seeing the stress come off his shoulders was the best thing ever!

So if hubby wants to do that too, it helps to just be upfront and tell him you think it will be wonderful to have no schedule - even with each other - while you both ease into new routines. We do things together all the time like movies and casino. But we each have tons of on our own time. You'll figure it out.

Good luck.......you're gonna LOVE IT

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 5:38PM
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I would wait a year to make a major decision. I had to retire early due to a conflict of personal (supervisor a real jerk), and had plan a bunch of fun stuff, but did not follow thru on much of it. But we traveled with a 5th wheel for many years all over the US and Canada, and years ago in Mexico. BUTHope this helps
Marie from ND

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:05AM
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It would seem that both wrychoice and phonelady have somewhat atypical situations. Because they appear to not have strong or positive relationships with their stepchildren, and so the notion of moving to their towns is not as appealing to them as it is to their spouses. Looking for areas to move to without thought of having family nearby will produce different alternatives.

I think frequently people choose TO move to where their children live when it's possible. Personally, I'm still a young retiree, but the thought of moving away from friends and family to a so-called "retirement area" holds no interest to me.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 12:57PM
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Kids (using the word loosely, as at our age the "kids" are entering middle-age with kids of their own) move around unexpectedly. Nobody works for one company all their lives any longer; sometimes they have to move where the work is.

Don't plan your lives around where your kids are now. You and your spouse need to decide for yourselves where you want to establish a new lifestyle. That takes time and effort. Don't move anywhere without trying it out first, and that means several trips in all seasons.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:00PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois

My children (all adults) can live their lives without me being within 100 miles of them. They don't expect me to be there and I don't intend to be there - for whatever reasons (unless emergency).

We live in central Illinois. Hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We retired within two weeks of each other and have done OK (18 months later).

We have talked about moving to a lot of places, with a strong consideration to the weather. We haven't come up with something that we agree upon, so we'll stay here for a while.

The missus' mother and sisters live about a 2-hour drive and we see them 4-5 times a year. That's good enough for me. They talk on the phone with each other a lot. We don't need to be there.

Retirement can mean big changes or it can mean that you don't have to use the alarm to get up. Whatever your decision on this situation, be sure to take time to smell the flowers!


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:21PM
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My former boss and his wife, after they retired, moved from the Midwest to North Carolina to be near one of their daughters and her family.

They lived there 2 years before the son-in-law transferred to Washington state. So my boss and wife followed them to Washington.

Then the son-in-law transferred to Oregon! My boss and his wife stayed in their newly-adopted state of Washington.

Don't use the kids as a reason for moving to a specific place. You'll be sorry. Go visit them, but don't move there. Like somebody else said - they don't need you - and shouldn't need you. And they might even be dismayed to learn you were moving near them!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Not too long after DH and I relocated from CT to AZ, my two adult stepsons followed and now live very close to us. So much for that non positive relationship another poster alluded to.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:05PM
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My personal take on moving to where your family is located or they moving to your area. Are you looking for someone to take care of you when you start to have problems. In the case of followers how much support have you been giving. Are you expecting to have your family as the only source of activities.

If any of the above really think of what is best for all.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 9:48PM
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I think you might try figuring out what you want your retirement to look like. Do you want to live near the beach, in a big city, in the country, mountains, in an over 55 community? Do you want to play golf a few times a week, or do you prefer visiting museums, or going on hikes? Is living near family a must or are you happy to fly or drive to visit a few times a year? Are you living in a high cost area and can you afford it in retirement or would moving to a low cost state ease you financially?

I think writing down what is important to you can help clarify things.....cost of living, climate, access to good healthcare, activities, etc.

I think the only way I would follow my kids would be if they or grand kids had a disability or something and they needed extra help on an ongoing basis. Would you want to live in an area you dislike just to be near the kids or family? And, as stated, job transfers happen...are you going to follow them every time?.....moving is expensive, finding new doctors, etc...

We have the opposite dilemma. We're not retired yet but will be in a few years( I will go before DH). It looks pretty sure that two of our three kids will stay in this area..they are happy in pretty secure jobs. Do we move AWAY from them to a lower cost area, better climate, etc? They get a little upset when we talk about leaving, but they are busy and we don't see them every week anyway. Plus, as we age, I don't want to burden them with having to take care of us when they will have their own families to worry about.

It's a lot to consider. Maybe you and your husband should pick a place where there isn't family that you both like and travel to visit each side. That's a fair compromise since it sounds like you won't be happy living near your step kids and he won't be happy living near your family.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:56PM
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Jim, I wanted to move to a small town, but I knew my husband would not want that. I opted for the "no alarm".

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I am now three weeks out from retirement. I am feeling a bit better about things. I believe my husband and I will take our time to make any important decisions. I think we will visit different places to get a feel for things and, ultimately, make a choice we are both happy with. I am really looking forward to having my time be my own...already have a couple of short trips planned!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 4:15PM
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