3 myths about family life post retirement

November 3, 2015

Most retirees will have more time to spend with family and friends after they stop working, but that doesn't mean their loved ones will have the same amount of free time to share. Many people see retirement as an opportunity to make up for lost time -- to engage with children, grandchildren, aging parents and siblings. People often express a desire to move closer to their families upon retirement; while this can be wonderful, it may not be exactly what you expected. Here are three common myths about family life post retirement.

3 myths about family life post retirement

1. Myth: moving closer means you'll see your family more often

  • This is the number one reason people give for moving closer to their children and grandchildren once they retire.
  • They may feel they missed out on things while they were raising their families, and they look forward to retirement to make up for lost time.
  • The reality: we live in a fast-paced world. You may find that your family members who are still working or going to school are just as pressed for time as you were during your working life.
  • We are also mobile; many retirees move closer to their children only to watch them move away as they follow their own careers.

2. Myth: you'll have a built-in social network

  • It's easy to imagine retirement as a round of lazy days filled with family get-togethers and outings with friends.
  • The reality: Your family members, though they love you, have their own lives.
  • It's easy to forget, as you rejoice in your new-found freedom, that the rest of your family may still be stuck in the nine-to-five grind.
  • Between work, school, and their own existing social connections, your family may not have as much free time as you might wish.
  • And your retired friends, although not constrained by the time clock, have their own retirement dreams to pursue. This is not necessarily a bad thing; pursuing new friendships and social activities can open up a whole new world, if not the one you had planned.

3.Myth: you'll have more quality time with your spouse

  • Retirees sometimes imagine that their post-retirement life will be like an extended honeymoon, punctuated with visits from the grandkids.
  • The reality: Some retirees find that, far from being a second honeymoon, they have even less time with their spouse than they did while working.
  • Living in close contact with your extended family sometimes means becoming the default babysitter and errand-runner.
  • Increasingly, retirees find themselves providing support for their adult children or elderly parents, which can take a toll on quality time as a couple.
  • Only you know your family. Don't view them through rose-coloured glasses, but consider the reality carefully before packing up your life and moving closer.
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