Moving During Retirement

by L

What Mistake Do People Make When Moving in Retirement?

Grandparents Uprooting Their Lives to Move Near Grandchildren

Depending on which stage of life Totebaggers are in, either they or their parents might consider moving to be nearer their grandchildren or to live in a warmer (or lower-tax) state. Have any Totebaggers (or parents of Totebaggers) gone through a move in early retirement? What do you see as the pros and cons?


192 thoughts on “Moving During Retirement

  1. Both my parents and DH’s parents are approaching retirement in the next 5 years or so. I am glad that DH’s mom won’t be able to afford moving to our high COL coast, but am hoping that my parents want to move closer to their grandchildren! I am also guessing that DH’s dad/stepmom won’t move, since they are close to his sibling right now.

    My parents will need to downsize, but the real estate market where they live, especially for larger homes, is incredibly slow: limited buyer pool and unwillingness on the part of sellers to lower prices. One of their friends who moved out of state has been trying to sell her house for 5 years – original list price at 900K, now down to 600K and still not moving.

  2. My MIL is planning on retiring soon (on what $, we don’t know) but we have dissuaded them from moving close to us. Not that the help wouldn’t be nice sometimes, but I feel like if DH got a great job offer somewhere else, we wouldn’t be able to take it (they also have my BIL’s kids 30 minutes away). If we knew we were staying in Atlanta long term then I would probably feel differently about it. Although, they tend not to have too much going on in their lives and it would feel like a lot of pressure to constantly have to entertain/be on call. My parents would never move to us, they very much have their own lives and interests, but I think once they retire they’ll probably visit a bit more.

  3. Interesting topic. My brother and sister both live closer to my mom, but both are contemplating moves away – one permanently, one for a few years. My mom is concerned to say the least.

  4. Curious, also, what living “close” to relatives means. To me it would be < 30 minutes. Right now our parents (not DH's mom) are 3-5 hours away depending on traffic.

  5. My parents were living out of the country when they made this decision and grandchildren were not in the picture. They looked at where their friends were retiring and found some clusters both inside and outside the US. Ultimately, they decided to move near me and one of my mom’s sisters, which was not in any of these clusters. When they were both first retired, their health was good and they would travel to see friends in and outside the US as well as host guests from near and far. My mom who is better at making friends did so. When grandchildren came along, they were nearby and have had the opportunity, though they haven’t always taken it, to be involved in their growing up.

    As my parents aged and their health deteriorated, I am very thankful they are close by. As an only child, traveling hours away to provide care and stay on top of things would have been difficult at the best of times and impractical to almost impossible at others. Having them downsize and remain in the same community was hard enough, I can’t image having to have had them move from another state or country at that time.

    Looking forward, I don’t know what we will do. When you have multiple children, especially those who have not launched so you have no idea what their lifestyle will be, I see no point in trying to speculate.

  6. The idea of moving away was never seriously considered by us. We were going to look at the possibility of a seasonal relo after I retired, but then the grandkids moved to be near us. So we committed to staying put, adopted the cats (cats don’t do well with a lot of change) and are building our four season life here. I don’t expect to move to be near one of daughters until/unless I am a widow whose age or infirmity requires that sort of proximity.

  7. Right now my boys plan on living together in the same house with their wives and one is even planning on having grandchildren. Mind you, they are seven. No idea what we’ll do if they split and end up in different locales.

  8. L – to me “close” is within the same city. Though as my parents age, that distance went from 7 miles and 15 minutes without traffic to 2.5 miles and 7 minutes without traffic. When you are taking them to some appointment or stopping by to check up on them weekly, 3-5 hours is NOT close.

  9. I don’t have the instinct to move near my stepson. He’ll have his mother to deal with anyway. I have a probably-pathological desire to return to the Bay Area, but I don’t know what I’d do there. My sister is there but we’re not close. I do have half a dozen friends around there, but who knows if we’d actually hang out together, you know? As long as I have my health I can always connect with my community by doing volunteer work, but when my health goes, I don’t know what will happen. I think about all this occasionally and then I get really depressed.

  10. My parents are in the process of moving near us (30-40 minutes away). They are young-ish for retirees and decided they wanted to make the move now so that they can establish roots. It will be nice to have them closer with the impending baby, but they are also very active with lots of interests so we don’t anticipate feeling smothered. We would feel very differently if it were my husband’s parents, I think. I also think it will make things easier for us as they age, because neither I nor my siblings live at all close to the location they’re moving from.

  11. Rhett – my dad just went to check that place out! He was aghast that I had never heard of it. Apparently he has a bunch of friends that live there during the winter so it would be his regular life but in Florida for half of the year.

  12. “We could all head down to The Villages and hang out with PTM.”

    Imagine if we did? Every weekday at 11am, you drive your golf cart over to the clubhouse/pool to discuss the day’s Totebag topic.

  13. My parents are 77 and have been retired for 17-19 years. At an 8 hr drive, I am the closest to them logistically. They would not move to be near us, because they were concerned that whoever they moved near would then get transferred and move away, so they are still in the city in which we grew up, and they visit us and their siblings frequently. But as they age, many of their friends have died or are now in poor health, and traveling takes a much greater till on them. My sister visited them last month and is of the opinion that we all need to plan on going to them instead of expecting them to come to us. They have begun investigating Plan B living options, as they’ve seen many friends go into the hospital with a fall or a medical emergency only to find that they won’t be released to their own home. So – I am pitching Plan B in Houston, with the thought that if they have to leave their home of 45 years, they might as well live near us so we could visit and be of some help. My mom agrees, possibly to humor me, but they have not been willing to look at any place down here. My sister is in Chicago, which I think would be too harsh on them in the winters. Plus I like to continue to believe I’m the favorite. So, no moves yet, but hoping for one before things deteriorate more. My dad in particular is very independent, so I don’t expect anything to happen until a medical crisis forces the issue.

  14. My parents are what I’d call “active” retirees in their mid-60s. They moved before retirement to a 1-level house about 10 miles from where I grew up, but with 4 bedrooms (so my brother & I can visit at the same time) it wasn’t much of a down-sizing. They want to stay there as long as they can, and they are very involved with church groups and other organizations, both separately and together. Sometimes I wish they were closer (currently a 3.5-4 hour drive), but there would definitely be pressure to entertain them like Atlanta describes. I’m glad they are independent and have their own lives, even developing some new hobbies in retirement. What I dread, though, is moving one or both of them if/when they can’t be independent anymore. I think they have enough long-term care insurance and money to cover whatever they might need, at least.

    My ILs bought & renovated a vacation home several years before retiring, then moved there with FIL getting a job in the area & MIL taking disability retirement. Then they renovated another house more suited to full-time retirement life and moved a few blocks, followed by FIL retiring. They got to enjoy about a year of retirement together before MIL died from the cancer she had been fighting for 12 years. They talked about moving out west to be near my SIL, but MIL’s health declined too fast for that. I’m not sure what FIL will do now – he is pretty connected to people in the small town and activities related to the Chesapeake Bay, so I think he would get bored in suburban California.

  15. My MIL moved to an apartment about 3-5 minutes away, without consulting us. FIL is selling their house in the Midwest and their plan to get a bigger apartment in the same complex. MIL has been disappointed at the level of interaction with our kids (they are now a teen and pre-teen), but seems to have settled in to a routine. She seems content. I try and limit contact to once a week. DH sees her more frequently, which I heartily support.

    My parents moved across town to be closer to my sister and her family. They are happy and are fully integrated into their grandkids’ lives (taking them to soccer practice, picking them up from school, etc.) The expectation is that my sister will be “boots on the ground” and monitor them as they age.

  16. “Imagine if we did? Every weekday at 11am, you drive your golf cart over to the clubhouse/pool to discuss the day’s Totebag topic.”

    Bullshit. Guys, I’m picking you up each day in my Lincoln!

  17. Ah, man, I just did the math and realized that our own decisions are going to be pretty largely affected by my mom’s needs. If things go as planned and we retire when DS graduates college, she’ll be in her early 80s — so right as the kid reins loosen up and we can go gallivant, she is likely to start needing more support. And since I’m her only, and since she will be dragged from that house feet-first . . . .

    I would think about moving part-time to where a kid is/kids are, but it also depends on where and for how long. Being so close to my mom has been a real bonus for my kids — I love that they can take for granted that Grandma is there and part of their normal life. And I’d like to have that same relationship with my grandkid(s), if that’s possible.

    Then again, I do get very attached to places (as miserable as I was in ABQ, I missed some parts of it way, way more than anticipated, for years), so the idea of leaving my comfort zone permanently makes me skittish and uncomfortable. Which, I know, seems inconsistent with my stated desire to gallivant. The only way I can say it is that I love to travel, but I *need* my home to come back to; I just want to change the current ratio somewhat.

    If we’re lucky, at least one of the kids will settle near us. But I’m not counting on that happening — you encourage your kids to see the world, you run the risk they might like some other part of it better. :-) Plus, you know, there’s that pesky job thing, and who knows who they might meet and fall in love with, etc. etc. etc. So it probably makes more sense to think of it as a possible part-time thing, most likely edging longer and longer as we get more infirm and need more help. With a non-zero risk that we end up like Meme and staying put because life is, well, life. :-)

    But I am NOT moving to Florida.

  18. Well, if PTM’s offering chauffeur service in his Lincoln, I might have to reconsider. . . .

  19. Our plan had always been to move around to various college towns and take classes in the things that interest us. But I can’t imagine moving away if there is even a chance of grandkids.

  20. I’m totally onboard for Florida. I have my new Target Lilly Pulitzer dress, and drinks at the club would be perfect for it.

  21. I finished huge Phase I for my parents last year. They are back this year and have to stay half the year in the U.S. We looked at retirement communities last year and they got an idea of what to expect. Last year they stayed in an apartment complex in a walkable area, close to my home. They liked living there, got to know the stores etc. and were able to manage on their own with weekly visits from me. They can do this arrangement for the next few years, if their health holds out. In the meanwhile, I am working on Phase II for long term living/money matters.
    DH’s parents have long been here, all paperwork for them in now complete. FIL would like to stay part of the year or more in the home country but MIL doesn’t want to. They actually can now, do this relatively easily.

  22. In my family and the families of friends, the biggest consideration has been access to medical care. My in-laws had to move from Montana to Washington to get treatment for my FIL’s rare cancer and my MIL has stayed near two of her sons in Washington, which I am delighted about. I don’t know what my dad will do- he likely will live another 15-20 years but only one of the four kids is really “settled” where they likely won’t move. A Kansas friend hopes his parents will move to the Denver corridor, where his sister lives, because they can’t get the healthcare they need in rural Kansas. Since his sister has 6 kids, he figures that they’ll be able to attend all the soccer games they want.

    I noticed one of my favorite down-to-earth analysts, Bud Hebeler, was featured in the article. He’s one of the few people who writes extensively on “What makes retirement plans fail?” I especially like his discussions about his father, who retired in the mid 1960’s and lived another nearly 30-40 years, as I recall.

  23. My mom lives 1/4 mile away and my in laws live 20 minutes by car. My mom is 78 and just starting to have health issues. I am a stay at homer, so I can cut her grass and be Mr. Fixit around the house as needed. This is a great set up since I always make time to chat after fixing things. It also makes it easy to invite her over for dinner, send the grandkids over, etc. She wants to stay in her own home and that looks feasible, although the 70’s have been a difficult decade for aging.

    My in laws see my wife as a source of entertainment and seem baffled that she has a full time job and a whole family including grand children that require her attention. They are also afraid of getting sick, so cannot make plans with our family when someone may be sick.This is really how it was when they lived 5 hours away.

  24. MIL lives in a condo in my town. She moved here not knowing many people but she’s made a lot of friends. My parents live about 3 hours away in the middle of the woods. My father is 84 and his health is slowly failing. My mother is 78 and in pretty good health. She likes their house but it is a hassle and stressful in the winter. They’re in the mountains and they get a lot of snow. My mother wants out and she wants to move to the same complex as MIL (they get along well). My father wants to stay in the house. I suggested they do both – house half the year, condo the other half. My father says no, too much money. We have had this conversation for the past several years. They will probably stay in the house another winter. I will field several stressful calls from my mother during that time. Spring will arrive, and they will stay put for another year.

  25. @ATM – My 8-yr-old told me this weekend that she wants to live in the same house for her whole life. She wants to move back in with me after college and have her own kids there. I figure she will change her mind in about 5 years.

  26. You all know my writing style. You know who I am.

    My sisters and I made perhaps the biggest mistake in our lives. I hope none of you with aging parents make a similar mistake.

    My parents lived in a very large house in a city 10+ hours from the closest of us kids. The house was way, way too big for them and the city was not easy for older drivers. Their health was gradually failing– nothing unexpected, it was age appropriate– but we kids became increasingly worried about them. Alone, hard of hearing, etc. in that big house. Occasionally one of their neighbors would call one of us out of concern for them.

    So we pressured them to move! Dumb. They moved to be very close to one of my sisters and it was horribly upsetting to all of them. My sister and her husband didn’t like dealing with them, my parents were cut off from their friends, their church, their doctors, their bank– everything they had come to know. They tried to make the best of it, but it’s hard to make new, good friends in one’s 80s. They both were dead within three years.

    Yet we were certain we were doing the right thing! My sister seemed eager to have them. We picked out a great small house on a lake (the house proved to be a money pit) close to my sister. We would have somebody to watch them! I guess we thought they were all alone when really they weren’t.

    All of us realize we should have let them be.

  27. It just dawned on me that the type of care you need depends on what your problem is.

    For the great grandmothers/grandmothers who got dementia, living in a familiar area with native midwesterners who understood them was ideal. I would be delighted living at the home (8 residents) that one grandma did- she was unwilling to move near her kids and they respected that.

    For the cancer-in-50’s/60’s cohort, access to specialists/chemo/radiation was important.

    So I think I’ll wait till 70 to make a decision because if I haven’t gotten cancer, maybe it will be dementia. I’m pretty sure it won’t be heart disease.

  28. SWVA Mom – what is amazing to me is that these kids are together ALL. OF. THE. TIME. They fight half the day. And yet, try and separate them – no way. They have bunk beds but usually end up in one or on the floor, together. BTW – If their wives insist, they might live in neighboring houses, but have a tunnel connecting them. It’s funny to even hear them talk about ‘wives’ because they are still in the ‘girls are gross’ phase. Love, love, love their imaginations.

  29. Austinmom’s situation is very similar to mine (except substitute state for country). As an only child I want them close to care for them, as a person who has a fully-established life here, well, it’s a different story.

    My mom (fully retired) is in the process of moving to RI to be grandma-in-residence. As the day approaches, I’m more comfortable with it. DH and I work close to the house, and can be there in a pinch if something happens. Plus, mom will be saving money, and be able to better pay some lingering medical bills (she’s caught in that wonderful insurance kerfuffle between retirement and medicare when her pension decided to drop everyone once the ACA was enacted). My dad still works full time, and is married to a woman who I do my damnedest to make sure is no where near my son. He’s older than my mom, and if he divorces his wife (quite possible as they are miserable with each other it seems), I already told him to move to my city (he’ll most likely retire then because he only works to keep her and her son happy). I think my son is tipping the scales towards a yes. Neither of my parents have the support circle mentioned in the articles, so there’s no point in them staying.

  30. I’m jealous of all of you retiring to PTM’s neck of the woods… by the time I’m near retirement, FL will be flooded. I’ll need SCUBA equipment…

  31. We are having our parents near us, because we are done moving for now. I really want my kids to grow up in one place and I want to feel settled too. I have felt rootless quite a few times. Our siblings are also now settled in their communities because all of them now have school aged kids and after moving for jobs, don’t want to do so till their kids complete school.

  32. ATM – your boys are Phineas and Ferb. They should create rotating bunk beds. And I so want a tunnel under my house… I wonder if I could convince my best friend to do this…

  33. “…by the time I’m near retirement, FL will be flooded. I’ll need SCUBA equipment…”

    You are so wrong, Rhode! Our governor, Rick Scott, is so sure it is not true that nobody in government can use the words “climate change” or “global warming” or any such other terms. Our junior senator and soon-to-be president doesn’t see it as a problem. (Meanwhile, Miami Beach regularly floods at high tide and Ft. Lauderdale Beach is barely holding on.) So don’t worry about that!

    The Villages will still be here for you. I’ll be gone by then, but I’ll leave the keys to my Lincoln under the floor mat.

  34. Dealing with elderly parents is one thing; dealing with elderly parents with significant health issues is another. I can’t image what would have happened several times if I wasn’t there listening to doctor’s instructions or advocating for care in the hospital or noticing that they were not getting it quite right about what Doctor A said when conveying information to Doctor B.

    It is sad to admit that we have been to the ER so frequently in the past 5 years, almost everyone has resulted in being admitted, that I know the hospital procedures and have all the right paperwork and ID before I even get asked for it. I know the “rules” about PT and now I insist that the admitting doctor order it so it arrives in 36-48 hours after being admitted vs. 3-4 days later. Until I hit this level of caregiving, I could not fathom that it would be this critical not to be admitted alone.

  35. This topic is a bit depressing. I’m basically retired, and DH is likely to partially retire within 5-10 years. My ideal compromise would be to live in a warmer area for 1-3 months, but otherwise stay in the NYC area. I worry about becoming THAT crabby old person. One thing I’ve already noticed among some of my contemporaries is the constant chat about illnesses and conditions. Ugh.

    What were the ages when parents started to need help in getting around and in advocating for themselves? I think I’ve seen that around 75 is when it often begins. (I’m doing the math for myself.)

  36. CoC – I sent you an email.

    I see age 80 in my family as being the tipping point from OK to not OK – the grandparents were OK until age 80 and then the decline accelerated and it became imperative for them to move nearer family.

  37. My in laws are healthy but IMO have totally squandered their healthy retirement by being reluctant to try anything new outside their comfort zone. Having health issues and being unable to do things is one thing, having your health but having a negative mental attitude is so not cool.

  38. I’d be interested in hearing from some of the retired folks if this has happened to you:

    My neighbor is a widow with children and grandchildren in the area. She’s noticed in recent years that it has become increasingly hard to meet new people at various events, dinners, places. People are just not interested in what she has to say. They listen politely to the “old woman” and then move on to other topics or people.

    I find this really surprising because she is a vibrant, fascinating woman, travels and is very active. Is this your experience with retirement and aging?

  39. Anon, thanks for sharing your experience. I see my siblings and I heading down that path, with me driving the bus and them happy to delegate responsibility. Perhaps I’ll slow down and quit thinking the solution is so obvious. My mom is the youngest of 5 at 77, and they are all living independently while approaching 90. Her sister took a fall and is ICU with a brain bleed, so the “how would I even know/how could I help them?” is at the forefront of my mind right now. I just need a crystal ball to know how healthy they’ll remain.

  40. CoC, in my side of the family, aunts and uncles are living independently with a spouse, and with children many states away, and are still doing well in their late 80’s. The declines on my dad’s side start around 85. In my MIL, around 80. In my dad, it is starting in his late 70’s, but it is attributable to a surgical error where they nicked something they shouldn’t have, causing him to get much more tired and take dozens of pills every day. These healthy elderly are all people who remained physically active as much as possible.

  41. I recently read an article about the financial aspects of moving in retirement, including a buy vs rent discussion, and had thought about sending it to CoC as a topic for discussion.

    “One of their friends who moved out of state has been trying to sell her house for 5 years – original list price at 900K, now down to 600K and still not moving.”

    I think this will increasingly be an issue for people living in gentrified areas, and not just for those wanting to move out of the area. For many retirees, most of their wealth is, or will be, in their homes. Having that value drop might mean downsizing and living off the difference becomes no longer an option. Using the home to cover the cost of LTC becomes less viable as well.

  42. My MIL lives about one hour away from us. DH’s brother is a 14 hour drive away – so DH will be the go to sibling. MIL lives in the city where she grew up and has many connections through her church and various activities. She has also remarried and her husband (who we really like) is about 10 years younger than she is. MIL will turn 80 this year – still in great shape though starting to slow down and her memory isn’t as good as it used to be. But I hope I’m as active and able in my 70s as my MIL.

    My father moved to Palm Springs about 2 years ago because San Francisco (where one of my brothers also lives) became too expensive. My father pretty much lives month to month on his retirement and social security (he’s horrible with money and did not build up any sort of nest egg). I’ve been trying to encourage my father to move to Seattle but I am doubtful this will happen until some sort of crisis forces the situation. I’ve pointed out that it would be good to move before a crisis happens – to which he agrees but then does nothing. While my dad has made some acquaintances in Palm Springs, he hasn’t made any real friends – so he has no support when something goes wrong. 6 months ago, he had a bad fall and hit his head very hard (on a kitchen counter as he was falling). He was hospitalized for 5 days – and then couldn’t drive for several weeks. And in Palm Springs, if you can’t drive, you can’t get around. My brothers and I went to Palm Springs in shifts – but that’s not sustainable in the long run. It is frustrating to me that my dad isn’t willing to plan ahead – but he’s actively trying to deny the fact that he’s aging for as long as he can (he’s 74).

  43. Finn, I’d be interested in the article. Housing prices have increased dramatically over the past 20+ years in the local university town, fueled primarily by university growth and perhaps slightly by retirees from California. I’ve thought for a decade that they can’t continue to increase, based on local wages, but I’ve been wrong. A chem e professor friend recently moved back to Texas because he couldn’t afford what he considered a reasonable house on his assistant professor’s salary.

  44. ATM– I think that in general, people tend to gravitate towards perceived peers, and age is part of that perception.

  45. This topic *is* depressing. And I want the crystal ball, too. My dad lives 3000 miles away from us. He is parenting a young son (my brother, but he’s in single digits age-wise) and has little relationship with his ex-wife and even fewer social connections. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t talk to anyone outside of store clerks and kid stuff. He won’t relocate near us and couldn’t afford to. I hope he stays well long enough for my brother to be of age to be helpful, because I truly don’t know how I’d deal with his medical stuff from this far away (with 3 kids of my own). He had heart surgery a few years ago and didn’t tell me until the eve of surgery. I ended up making last minute plans to fly out and help him, newborn in tow, trying to ensure that he was ok that first week after discharge. Even then, when I had to return home, he wasn’t really ready to be independent.

    My ILs have spent the last several years caring for their parents at various stages of illness/demential/decline. Now it’s just them, and they talk a good talk about downsizing, moving somewhere that is at least more airport accessible so that it’s easier for us all to visit. They won’t be relocating close to us or close to BIL for a variety of reasons, so they are still very far. Despite the talk for the last 3-5 years, they are still in a 5000 square foot house with no sign of actually making the move. They are both closing in on 70, and they’re in good health now (and hopefully for many more years). But nothing about their lives is set up in a way that would let us be able to help them either.

    My aunt and uncle have two children– one on each coast. They ended up buying two homes, and they summer in one and spend December there, and winter in the other. This seems to be a great arrangement for them while their health allows. They spend a lot of time with each set of grandkids, and they are very outgoing people who seem well-connected in both communities.

  46. In thinking about my father vs my MIL, I think my MIL has approached aging much better than my dad. They both eat very healthy diets and get regular exercise. But my MIL has not only stayed engaged in lots of activities, church, etc., about every 5 years she found a new activity to really get involved in. About 20 years ago, she was very active with Habitat for Humanity and did lots of work on houses. It’s how she met her second husband – and she can now set rebar with the best of them. Then she bought a boat which she got to fix up and restore. She had no previous boating experience. After 5 years, she had restored the boat and sold it (having made new friends and gotten very active in the local maritime society). Then she wrote and self-published a children’s book. With each of these endeavors, MIL started out with very little experience but learned a lot, made new friends, gained new skills, etc. I think this is why it’s only this last year that DH and I have started realizing that yes, she’s old (she’s 79 – looks at least 10 years younger).

    My father on the other hand, has not gotten engaged in any new activities, made new friends, etc. His world seems very small to me. He does eat well (he’s vegan) and exercises regularly – but I worry about the lack of mental and social stimulation.

  47. I had literally never had a conversation with my parents about moving before they announced they were seriously thinking of moving here. (They did give us many opportunities to tell them not to do it if it was not something we wanted.) I think they basically decided that none of their kids were going to be moving back to our hometown and wanted to be near at least one of us. My siblings’ locations are less permanent for various reasons so I was the default. Of course, now we will have the first grandchild although the plan to move was in motion before that. And now my sister is also thinking of moving here in a few years, which would be great.

    But to anon’s point, I did not want my parents to move unless it was something they affirmatively wanted–even though having them close as they age will be helpful, I would be extremely reluctant to move them away from their network. Of course, I think one of the reasons that they started thinking about moving is that many in their network are making their own moves away to be near kids.

  48. “The Villages will still be here for you. I’ll be gone by then, but I’ll leave the keys to my Lincoln under the floor mat.”

    YES! I’ll get ATM’s boys to outfit it for both land and water… I’ll make the rounds picking up the next generation of Totebag retirees!

  49. Both my parents and my in-laws hit the wall right around 80. In-laws sensibly moved to continuing care in their hometown, near DH’s sister (the irresponsible one, but she’s better now that she’s 57). They seem to be doing okay. 82-90 for my mom was harrowing for me, though she didn’t seem to notice her own decline. If I wind up like Mom I’ll die much sooner than she did because there won’t be anyone to advocate for me, but then I’m not sure living that long is advisable anyway.

  50. Speaking of inlaws and our conversation last week about how one of the great aspects of aging is you don’t care what people think – my inlaws were visiting last week and we brought them to my daughter’s softball game. There was a running, reasonably loud, diatribe about the other kids on the team. When the smallest girl on the team was up, my FIL was calling her “Pee Wee Anna”. I mean all the parents were sitting around us, it’s likely that this girl’s parents were in ear shot and I just couldn’t imagine what they were thinking. They’ve always been like this a bit but in their late 60s now it seems to be getting worse. If they lived nearby and I had to endure that every week I would really have to say something.

    Then at this past weekend’s game, I was sitting next to this woman and her mother, and the mother was making comments about my daughter. It wasn’t anything terrible but every time my daughter was up at bat, she was commenting on how tiny she was, and boy she couldn’t weigh more than 50 pounds did her daughter think? The woman finally said in total exasperation, “Mom, her mother is sitting right next to us, why don’t you ask her if she weighs 50 pounds!”.

  51. For me public transit would be key, and I don’t mean the white van from the retirement community that goes to the strip mall and does a church run on Sun am. So even if or when I move it will be to D.C., not L.A., even if my other daughter defies biology and has preteen kids when I seek to make such a move. A life at 80 plus trapped in a kid friendly suburb with no sidewalks would be the worst.

    ATM – There is a reason so many older people play bridge or golf almost every day. There is a structure to the time, familiar faces many of whom are older still, even volunteer organizations get to a point where they politely decline your participation. just the checks, ma’am. But I wouldn’t expect to make more than hello in the hallway friends if I relocated as an elderly widow. My just 60 friends who bought a winter home in an active adult community have made no new friends with whom to socialize in two seasons.

  52. RMS, my grandparents (both sides) also seemed to hit a wall right around 80. They were all in reasonably good health but started to decline noticeably around that point. You could tell my maternal grandmother was really hoping she would go before she had to move out of her house, but eventually was willing to admit that she couldn’t care for it/herself alone. My parents wanted her to move in with us but she didn’t want to be a burden and ended up in a very nice assisted living facility for the last few years. My paternal grandparents were quite healthy until around 80 but declined rapidly after that (my grandmother more so than my grandfather).

  53. Atlanta – I am worried about that too. My parents have started to make occasional comments about “it’s a good thing your children are thin” and (over email) “you look great in those pictures from your college reunion, we can’t say the same for [my friend from college], who has gained considerable weight!” I will have to ask them to ix-nay on the eight-way comments in person – unfortunately I never think of it in the moment except to look frantically around to see if the kids are within earshot.

  54. So I noticed that WCE likes Bud Hebeler, so I was googling him and some of his articles. He linked to “” and I just filled out the calculator. I was brutally honest and it still guestimated I’d live to 84. The IRS thinks 85. I guess I should take up smoking.

  55. My mom started going blind around age 75. She took herself off the road at 80. More serious health issues about age 85. Now in her early 90s, minor things you would give a few days to see if you feel better in your 50s, require an immediate call to the doctor as they often turn serious quicky. My dad started his decline about 65, but had never taken very good care of himself and now in his mid-80s barely gets around.

    The caregiving in the last 5 years has really ramped up. In part, as their health declines they don’t even want to deal with the mundane things and the “could you help me with” list grows!

  56. Rhode – the first project for the boys is a portal – step thru a door and you’re where you want to be. (Their idea not mine. And no, not into Star Trek (yet?!). No need for land or water vehicles. Sorry PTM.

  57. Finn: My ILs cannot afford to buy a house in our neighborhood, so they are renting for the near future. I think MIL likes the lack of home maintenance, as well as the pool and gym.

    I told them point blank when they came that my life goal was to move back to my hometown when the kids went off to college, so there are no illusions on their part that we will be here for 40 years.

    However, if we *are* here for 40 years, we have a one story house that is near public transportation and some great hospitals. We are good to go!

  58. My grandmother didn’t comment on weight that much (occasionally to me about my mom, in warning that I should be careful so I don’t end up with weight-related problems like she does), but she had a knack for backhanded compliments about my hair, like:
    “Oh, I see you’ve streaked your hair again!” (yes, I just spent $100 on highlights designed to look like natural sun-lightening)
    “I just love it when your hair is pulled hair back and I can see your lovely face.”
    “Your hair is getting so long. Is it hard to take care of?”

  59. “they don’t even want to deal with the mundane things”

    This. The one thing that took me by surprise when my stepdad died was my mom completely lost the ability to navigate systems — phone trees are the worst, but even things like online forms and such. This, from the woman who could and would face anything and everything my whole life; she was invincible, tackled irrationality and bureaucracy with, at worst, a sense of purpose that would not be denied, and at best, almost glee in “sticking it to the man.” Working the system was her superpower. And now it’s just psssssssssssssssttttt — air out of a balloon, just sort of gone. She doesn’t have the will any more, gets overwhelmed quickly, needs me to step in. This, from a woman who is still teaching, still running her own company (which means managing both herself and her business partner, who is the total absent-minded professor), still competent and in charge of everything else. But a phone tree deflates her, instantly.

    This, more than anything, makes her seem older. She was my invincible protector; now I need to protect her. That is a portent that I am not quite ready for.

  60. I thought this was interesting:

    While many people continue to handle their finances with ease well into their later years, even people with healthy brains tend to experience cognitive decline. According to one study, which analyzed participants’ propensity to make financial mistakes, a person’s financial decision-making ability peaks at age 53, or, more generally, in their 50s. This is the sweet spot, the paper said, because they have substantial amounts of experience but they have had only modest declines in their ability to solve new problems.

  61. ATM, I know of a pair of twin brothers who married sisters and bought houses next door to each other. I think they built a connecting bridge between the second floors, over the shared driveway, but I haven’t seen the house :)

    RMS, I checked out that living to 100 site and learned that I could add a year to my life by cutting dessert to 1-2 times a week. I don’t think I will really want to live to 99, though, so I just went and got some more chocolate.

    We moved to be closer to my parents after the kids came. My parents are still in their 60s and work full time. It’s very practical, but sometimes I could do with a little less evaluation of our child rearing. My only sibling is trying to move here.

  62. ATM – I’d get behind that portal. It would make life so much easier. But… I’d really like an amphibious car that looked as classic as PTM’s Lincoln. Plus he’s leaving me the keys. And I’d be able to travel in style with the rest of the Totebaggers!

    Rhett – if that’s true, that explains so much wrt my parents’ abilities to make decisions (not just financial).

  63. Don’t have time to read them all but RMS you broke my heart alittle bit there! I say go to the Bay Area! Screw it and have fun for as long as you can. When your health fails then you can move someplace boring. But why not live where you want to for as long as you can. YOu got the same ticket as everyone else and are entitled to enjoy the whole ride!

    My parents live in the middle of the country, a good day’s worth of travel for either my brother or myself. That is there home, that is where their friends are and they won’t ever move from there. They have great health insurance and like the prudent, midwestern, WASPs they are, they have purchased very generous long term care insurance. On my father’s side, folks usually drop dead so we don’t worry much about him, my mom – her side lives forever but they tend to live well, so we will have to see. No sense in worrying about it. We’ve made the plans we can make and the rest we will deal with when we get there.

  64. PTM – I got a little tear in my eye as I imagined Rhode gingerly opening the door of the Lincoln and taking the keys from under the mat. I suppose you would leave something else on the seat – what would that be?

  65. My grandparents had an acrimonious divorce in the early 50’s. I know they lived in the same town for the next half century but never spoke — sole custody of my father, no child support paid – I believe the standard Mid-Century Modern Divorce. Anyway, fast forward 50+ years and my grandmother’s failing health means she can’t drive and risks being institutionalized. My grandfather is doing well healthwise– but has been swindled out of his sizable nest egg. Somehow, they come together. He moves in and she supplies the income, car and stable housing. He supplies the grocery shopping and ferrying to doctor’s appointments. Totally bizarre – but kept them out of “the home” for another year or two.

  66. but has been swindled out of his sizable nest egg.

    How, in as general terms as your prefer. Was it a second wife who cleaned him out, an unscrupulous financial adviser?

  67. “While many people continue to handle their finances with ease well into their later years, even people with healthy brains tend to experience cognitive decline. According to one study, which analyzed participants’ propensity to make financial mistakes, a person’s financial decision-making ability peaks at age 53, or, more generally, in their 50s.”

    This suggests that we should be selecting lifecycle funds when we are in our 50s.

  68. Rhett – I don’t think this is limited to financial decisions. As my parents age their ability to problem solve, even basic things like a phone tree, has declined. When you expand that to all the “newness” that comes at us in life – the webpage you use to pay bills is refreshed and now you have a different set of steps to access your account, to refilling your prescription using the phone or a phone app, to selecting the right brand when they keep changing labels – life get overwhelming to them quickly.

    I think that the longer you can keep yourself engaging in challenging problem-solving and exposed to “new” routinely, the more gracefully you age. I see it in my partner, who has been retired for 5 years. He gets frustrated by new online processes the school uses for example. He is fairly active and reads, but has not learned how to do anything new or engaged in signifcant mental problem solving or reading other than his favorite genre. This is part of why, while I needed more time at home for kids and parents, I wanted a mentally challenging part-time job.

  69. ATM – my parents don’t live near my mom’s identical twin, but they did have a double wedding many years ago, and leave tomorrow to celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary together, as they do every year. The husbands get along very well, with the occasional request of each other “don’t you dare die first and leave me with both of them!” You will have to explain to them (if they’re identical) that if they have kids they’ll have to make sure to look different, because it’s deeply traumatic as a little kid to come in crying to your parent and have them say “It’s not your parent.”

  70. So Friday we had aging as a topic, and today we’re talking about plans for our declining years. Just what I needed to distract me after a grueling weekend. (This month has been all the kids’ activities popping at once.)

    My parents just turned 70 last year so they’re still very much in the active phase, with occasional health issues that they are fully capable of dealing with themselves. Still lots of travel, both recreational and for work (my father isn’t quite fully retired). My in-laws are a few years older but also still traveling and doing various projects, and not needing assistance with the health issues that crop up. The last of my grandparents died 7 years ago in his 90s, and the last of my husband’s grandparents died a while before that, so we don’t have anyone in the needing-assistance stage for now (my grandfather’s younger brother and my MIL’s older sibs have children/grandchildren of their own to assist).

  71. Re: swindled out of nest egg- in my uncle’s case, one of the trustees or fiduciaries, whatever the term, embezzled from the pension fund, basically cleaning it out. This was discovered when he was about 63, so he and his wife continued working into their early 80s.

  72. MBT – the poor little kid! My boys are not identical and some have questioned if they’re even related, so they’ll avoid that problem. What a lovely story about the 52nd anniversary!

  73. @L — Yes, exactly.

    “He gets frustrated by new online processes the school uses for example.”

    Well, hell, *I* get frustrated by the new online processes the school uses. It drives me nuts when people change things that work just fine, for no discernible benefit to me, like the new Word, or the new NYTimes, or the NextNewWhateverTheHell. I always wrote it off to “too much to do, too few brain cells to devote to irrelevant crap that will change again next week.” Would suck if it’s the first sign of my incipient senescence.

  74. I sometimes entertain myself by imagining what new technologies will baffle and frighten me in my old age. Maybe I won’t like to talk to the holograms and will try to get my grandchildren to do it for me? Maybe I’ll get my Roomba-descendant confused with the automated meal-prepper and my kids will have to clean ground beef out of the cleaning solution compartment AGAIN?

  75. Tee, hee. Rhett at 3:01 got that right! Although there probably wouldn’t be many left. The empties would be in the glove compartment.

    Actually, I haven’t seen cases of 16oz wide-mouths down here. Those are my favorites! I’ll have to talk to the owner of the little store I finance to see if he can order those.

  76. I think that the longer you can keep yourself engaging in challenging problem-solving and exposed to “new” routinely, the more gracefully you age.

    That’s why ever time I learn something new at work and a few weeks go by and I have to do it again and I still remember – I say to myself, “Not today senile dementia!”

    A friend who is caring for her elderly parents commented on how quickly her father declined when he retired.

  77. I still think some of it has to do with luck and genetics. A neighbor friend is dealing with a sudden decline in her father’s health. Three adult kids – two doctors and a lawyer so they have the professional experience to deal with this, but it happened very suddenly because their father fell in his apartment last week.

    I had no idea until my mother fell and broke her leg that a fall can have such an enormous impact on the health of anyone that is above a certain age. Perfect health, and healthy mind….everything can change in an instant from a simple trip that leads to a broken hip, leg or head injury.

  78. ATM – here in San Francisco there is a senior “college” that happens on the university campus where my church is located. I volunteer at my church on Monday mornings and I see tons of older people going to class, hanging out and getting coffee, and having lunch between classes.
    I am sure most communities have something like this, and I hope it is a way to get to meet people (if you are interested). I feel awful for your neighbor!

    My parents are 80 and 81. My mom is basically in good health, and my dad has some health issues that are kept at bay, plus a bad knee. They can live on the first floor of their home quite easily. I live 1500 miles from them, but both of my siblings are a 15 minute drive away, and they have world class medical care available, so there are in a pretty good situation. When one of them starts to decline I will have to start stepping up my visits. Right now I am doing a fall and a spring visit, plus some sort of family summer vacation.

    DH’s parents have passed away, and as he is also the only child to live away from his hometown, he made regular visits when they were failing. He is also very happy that he had some business in his hometown the year before his mom became ill (and died quickly), because he was up and down there every month and was able to spend a lot of time with his parents while they were both healthy.

    On the topic of our future Florida retirement, I read a funny article about home many changes of clothes a lady had to go through for her day in a Florida senior community: early morning walk, swim class, yoga, art studio, drinks and dinner at the lodge – each necessitated a new outfit!

  79. I read a funny article about home many changes of clothes a lady had to go through for her day in a Florida senior community

    Like the Crawley’s – with all that spare time you need to do something to fill the day.

  80. Honolulu – look for me on the evening news (or whatever they have then) in 20 years when they do a piece on “the last land line in America!”

  81. My just 60 friends who bought a winter home in an active adult community have made no new friends with whom to socialize in two seasons.

    I bet a lot of this is personality. My dad retired to a small community in AZ a couple of years ago and within a few months he was friends with everyone in town. But he’s like Milo in that he has that innate ability to be able to talk to anyone about anything.

  82. “So Friday we had aging as a topic, and today we’re talking about plans for our declining years. Just what I needed to distract me after a grueling weekend.”

    These are issues that we’ll need to face, some of us sooner than others, and it’s better to face them before you have to than wait until when decisions must be made. I also like the discussions here, learning from many perspectives.

    This discussion is also timely for me. Over the last several months I’ve been thinking about retirement, and have pretty much come up with a plan (well, I do have to discuss it with DW before it’s really a plan).

    But one thing I haven’t really given much thought to is where we’ll live. The default is to stay where we are– when we bought our current house, DW and I figured on it being the last home we buy. Whether or not that changes largely depends on our kids, and it’s way too early to know what they will do.

    That’s especially so since the lot a block up from ours now has a house on it– DD used to tell me that after college, she would come back home, buy that lot and the adjacent empty lot, and build her house there. She would say that DS and his wife could move in with DW and me.

  83. Grandpa had a medium size nest egg and wanted to make it a great big one (my read was that there was some guilt in not providing for his kids when they were young). I think in the beginning it was shady investments to double the principle in just a few months. Then he got marked. He was lonely, and lots of calls from people telling him he had won money in a Nicaraguan lottery. He just had to send cash via post, wire some money, etc. It happened fast — by the time it was clear that he had taken out 80% of his money, it had just been a few months. The financial person (don’t know if it was a CFA, CPA, broker) said that they couldn’t say anything to anyone at the time. Even after my parent locked down the money, he was still writing, on average, 10-20 $20 check per day to various causes and contests. It was five years after his death that my parents still got highly personalized mail and phone calls for him. In one memorable instance, he sent some cash to Canada as instructed, and the RMP sent it back with a note saying he was being taken. He then tried to send it again. For the record, he was a smart guy, in his prime. He has a number of patents to his name and was well-known in his field. Age made him greedier, more confident in his superior intellect but actually less knowledgeable about the world around him. The perfect mark. He died, on Medicaid, in a pretty soulless facility 20 miles from his home (he wouldn’t move to be with family).

  84. DH keeps talking about retiring early. It will be interesting to see how our relationship handles that.

  85. My mother was fine mentally until 88 or so. At 86 we bought her one of those pretty tabletop I Mac’s and she learned to use email to keep up with a granddaughter travelling the globe. I would send her links to each exotic destination. She of course printed out every email received and sent, plus the pictures, and made a scrapbook. But she developed a condition for which daily steroids were required, had a couple of undetected strokes, and then they closed the escalator that led from her apt building to the metro station. She became completely isolated and it was a quick decline. When it got to flying down every other weekend, with 25 yr old DD on local duty, she had to move up and we only then realized how bad it was.

  86. In more uplifting news, the mortality rate of a hip fracture, in the first year, is around 20%. It is not that a hip fracture is hard to recover from — it so often starts the downward spiral. Also, the kind of person that breaks their hip may already be spiraling.

  87. I’ve seen how a fall can have such an impact. My grandmother fell and broke her hip (actually, it was her femur just below the hip joint), and was never able to live independently after that.

    I’ve thought that as I get older, I’ll need to start dressing like an NBA player, with knee pads, elbow pads, hip pads, rib pads, etc, perhaps substituting baseball sliding pads for the hip pads.

    I also want to have thick carpeting for the same reason. I can still remember when DS was learning to walk– he’d take a few steps, then literally fall on his face. Thanks to thick carpeting, he’d get up, laugh, and try again. If we’d had hardwood floors, at a minimum, he’d have been crying.

  88. Is there any sure fire way to protect yourself from being swindled as you age? The NYTimes article seems to say put your kids on the account so they can watch for anything suspicious. But, then you look Brooke Astor’s son who was busily looting her estate – I doubt children and their spouses looting estates is all that rare.

    I’m thinking maybe some sort of irrevocable spendthrift trust?

  89. “My just 60 friends who bought a winter home in an active adult community have made no new friends with whom to socialize in two seasons.”

    When my dad moved into a care home, he found it wasn’t easy making friends. Too many of the residents had seen too many others there die, and thus seemed to avoid forming deep friendships to avoid the pain of losing those friends.

  90. “I had no idea until my mother fell and broke her leg that a fall can have such an enormous impact on the health of anyone that is above a certain age.”

    Yeah, that. We saw this with my Granny after she broke her arm (bowling — and kicking all our asses to boot). She just never seemed to recover; and then after traveling with us, she got sick, landed in the hospital with some mystery virus, and lost a bunch of everything — at first didn’t know her name, lost a couple days permanently, etc. We figured even if she pulled through, we had maybe a couple of months.

    Much to my surprise, she is back to who she was before she broke her arm. I have NO idea how, but I attribute it to her exercise and my uncle. First, she’s walked 3-5 miles a day, every day, for years; I think there’s a lot to be said for getting the blood flowing like that. And second, my uncle is very bossy, and very used to being listened to; he’s been “suggesting” she move in with them for years, and he upped the pressure when she came home from the hospital. But my Granny is even more independent than he is bossy. I can’t prove it, but I (strongly) suspect that she just decided she needed to get better so he’d have to lay off.

  91. I’m laughing at the image of old Finn in a padded NBA uniform, printing out emails from his kids.

    You know, I can see where it would be very easy to let my kids handle any challenging tasks as I get older. Heck, they already do some technology stuff for me that I don’t want to do.

  92. Hardwoord >> Tile >> Concrete. I think I will be going for Marmoleum. Or perhaps that springy mat they put down in martial art studios.

    For the record, all “hip fractures” are actually femur fractures. The only other bone in the neighborhood is the pelvis, and those fractures are not typically called “hip fractures”. I have stopped calling them femur fractures because I find it immensely confusing to people.

  93. “But he’s like Milo in that he has that innate ability to be able to talk to anyone about anything.”

    One-on-one, yes. With an unfamiliar larger group, I can freeze up, so being the new guy in The Villages could be very difficult.

  94. DS leaves home in a couple of years. I’m quite confident he will be fine on his own. OTOH, DW (and, to a lesser extent, I) will have to start either leaning on DD more, or start figuring stuff out for ourselves again.

  95. “printing out emails from his kids.:”

    Email, and texting, have been wonderful innovations for many seniors whose hearing deteriorated with age.

  96. My mother fell because a relative had some thin pads that look like dish towels in front of a couch in their apartment to protect some ugly wall to wall carpet. So DUMB and dangerous because I saw several people trip that day. The EMT almost tripped on a different one as she left the apartment and she told them to pick them up immediately.

  97. Rhett, I’m thinking that annuitizing a lot of your assets would help.

    Hum, but haven’t you seen these commercials: “J.G. Wentworth can purchase your annuity payments for cash. Don’t wait – get your cash in one lump sum.”

  98. Rhett– I’m reminded of a former co-worker, who used to say, “It’s very difficult to make anything really idiot-proof, because the idiots are very clever.” IOW, there was always a way to bypass just about any precautionary measures implemented; there’s always a way to screw up.

    WCE, he was an IC process equipment engineer.

  99. My husband said to me yesterday as we were returning from my son’s house that we might as well be honest – we aren’t going anywhere with the kids up here. So true. We might do additional work on our house and figure we’ll get stair climbers when steps get too much or we might move into a ranch house or condo ground floor.

    We both feel that after Christmas we go south and spend the winter there. I don’t want to buy a home down there – don’t want the aggravation of a second home. Would rather travel around to different locations.

    I don’t want to put my children through what my husband and I went through with his parents. They were 1000 miles away and my FIL had recurring cancer and my MIL dementia. Horrible situation.

  100. Finn,

    Very true. But, we have thousands of years of legal precedent where people tried to ensure their property went to their heirs intact. There must be some relatively fool proof strategies.

    L, any thoughts?

  101. ” being the new guy in The Villages could be very difficult.”

    Nope. By then Milo, I’ll have been there for years. You’ll ride everywhere in a powder blue Lincoln Continental with a white custom naugahide roof. I’ll be Commissioner of the Boce Ball League and have flirted with all the assisted-living helpers. You’ll be accepted instantly. The dashing young man who takes long showers and is An Officer and A Gentleman. Oh yes, you’ll be a hit at The Villages.

    Just don’t bring your kids.

  102. Wow, what a depressing conversation. I have seen the rapid downward spiral thing with both my father and my FIL. They both seemed fine until the last two years of their lives. In both cases, it was hospitalizations for urinary tract infections (common in the elderly) that started the spiral. I have read that for older people, hospitalizations are very dangerous and can really affect them mentally. In both cases, it started a never ending cycle of hospital to nursing home to home to hospital. One big difference between the two – my father was 75 when he started declining whereas FIL was more around 85. And MIL is 90 and still going strong – she sounds exactly like she did 20 years ago. She still drives, even.

  103. As ti where to move after retirement – well first of all, I don’t really see retirement happening until I am pretty old. Maybe in my mid 70’s? I don’t think I would want to leave my house – so sad to leave the house where my kids grew up. I have a friend who sold her northern Westchester house and moved to an apartment in the Bronx (Riverdale) and likes it, but that sounds so sterile to me.

  104. “I’ve thought that as I get older, I’ll need to start dressing like an NBA player, with knee pads, elbow pads, hip pads, rib pads, etc, perhaps substituting baseball sliding pads for the hip pads.”

    Finn, just put on some extra weight. More fun!

    PTM, you are painting quite a picture. Kind of makes me want to toss everything aside and move down there with you but only if you will let me be the “First Lady of the Villages”!

  105. Mooshi,

    At least with tenure it’s going to hard form them to force you out, right. I fear having to retire and then it will be House Hunters reruns and spiraling catastrophic mental and physical decline until death grants me sweet relief.

  106. ” I have seen the rapid downward spiral thing”

    That’s what I hope for myself– a full and active life until my late 80s/early 90s, then a rapid decline over a two or three months. That should be long enough to say my goodbyes and make sure DW and kids know all my passwords.

  107. Old Mom – Just curious, how do you see yourself living during your months in the south? Staying in hotels in a variety of cities, or doing a month long rental in Charleston, a month in Florida, etc.?
    How much stuff besides clothes will you bring?

    DH and I talk about this situation sometimes when we think about grandkids. DD is probably going to be living in a nearby state, but a long day’s drive away. I don’t know what DS will be doing, but I don’t think he will be coming back here to live (we were going to buy a building with two flats – one for him and one for DH and me – but that was when he was about 6 years old).

    I am trying to put together some sort of life with 9 months at home, and the other three spent visiting my kids (and possible grandkids), but I am not sure where I would be staying during those 3 months.

  108. “just put on some extra weight. More fun!”

    That is part of the plan, but I think it is more likely that I will land on one of my joints than on my belly if I fall.

    But like Sky, I plan to consume chocolate for as long as possible. And I also plan to increase the portion of junk food in my diet as I get older, and preparing meals becomes more of a burden, just as my dad and FIL did. In his last years, FIL often ate candy bars for meals.

  109. I can’t really see moving from Seattle when we retire. Similar to what Meme has said, living in a city with good public transit and medical care is very appealing to me. Plus all our friends are here. Maybe because I spent part of my childhood in a rural area, I’ve never had any desire to move to one when I retire.

    The one thing that could affect things would be where our kids end up living. Depending on where they end up, we could possibly move to be close to one or both of them. But I’m hoping they will stay in the Seattle area.

  110. After my FIL died and we were cleaning out his house, we discovered the vegetable drawer in his fridge was filled with candy bars. And I made a similar discovery after my mom died – her freezer was filled with Dove chocolates.

  111. SSM, ditto– FIL’s fridge was pretty empty except for the stash of candy bars and Nutter Butters, another of his favorite meals, at least one that had some protein.

  112. SSK – I don’t see us living out of suitcases the whole time – would probably rent a condo for a few weeks or a month and try different areas. I just know I don’t want the hassle of having two homes to maintain. As we age, we might settle in one place for the 2 to 3 months we are in the south.

  113. You can rent at The Villages for a few months every year. My dad told me the only caveat was that guests couldn’t stay for more than four days (but that may have been his caveat).

  114. “You can rent at The Villages for a few months every year.”

    There aren’t going to be any transients on my Boce Ball courts!

  115. ssk, I’m pretty sure my kids will go away for college; whether or not they come home after that is unknown.

    Right now it sounds like DD will probably go to the west coast somewhere. If so, I could see us spending months at a time, especially during summers, nearby. If she’s in the Bay Area, perhaps I could have lunches with RMS. If she lives in a college town, it may be easy to find rentals during the summer.

    If either kid ends up on the continent for some time, perhaps I could buy an RV and leave it with one of them, assuming DW buys into that as well. The RV could double as a guest room when we’re not using it. A former neighbor had a fifth-wheel RV than he used for fishing trips, and as a guest room when it was at home. It was also his primary kitchen while he remodeled his kitchen, and his primary bathroom while he remodeled his bathroom.

  116. I am sure filling up reams of forms for my family as well as for my parents, dealing with all sorts of websites etc. has helped keep me sharp. I was so weary after the Phase I paperwork for my parents that I wanted a break but now I have to push myself to complete the rest. While my parents pray for more good years, I pray for persistence as I attack yet another form.

  117. Finn, if you and RMS settle here, we can have some get togethers with Bayareamom! RMS and I met a while back at the Ferry Building, and it was a lot of fun.

    Your RV idea is an intriguing one.

  118. Milo,

    You can move down to the villages and buy up a few lots outside of town for an RV storage yard. That can be your retirement business.

  119. No RVs, no tent campers, no transients. Heck, you might as well just spit on my Lincoln!

  120. PTM – your country club doesn’t sound very “country” to me.

    Good idea, Rhett.

  121. PTM, well that’s the kind of friends you have! You’re stuck with us. Wait until we move in. DH wants to set up a still after he retires. Because we’re classy like that.

  122. I will never understand you WCE. There is a place specifically designed to reward your skill set and that of your husband but you two choose a place that values your skills the least.

  123. I’m actually open to moving, probably not to the Bay Area, but elsewhere. But hunting isn’t really a priority for me and right now, the arrival of Baby WCE definitely put a kink in my life plan. Part of me sees your point, but part of me knows lots of people who moved from California and refuse to move back. I’d like to move to Colorado.

  124. I’d like to move to Tennessee, where there’s no state income tax. Somewhere on a lake that’s close enough to Nashville for an easy weekend trip to see the Opry.

  125. I don’t know exactly where WCE lives, but the general vicinity was an area I considered, and where there was (and, from their recent employment history, I assume still is) a market for people with the skills of the WCEs.

    I don’t think there are a lot of places in the USA with much of a market for those skills, which is the reason I won’t encourage my kids to enter that field. Being in it taught me the value of a profession in which opportunities are not as geographically limited.

  126. @ WCE – I saw that same California article and instantly thought of RMS.
    DH and I love California but we would not move there. If you bought a house there ages ago and were rooted in your community it is different. I have talked to people who were offered jobs in that area but the salaries were not high enough. One person is commuting from a nearby state, the other person persuaded the company that he could do his job, while remaining in the Midwest.

  127. I’m watching the live news conference with Baltimore officials. This is crazy.
    Several of my former colleagues moved to Baltimore in the last year to work for a large investment management firm. They already love the city, but they were sent home early today.

    LfB, hope you’re ok.

  128. Yes. Let’s all hope LfB doesn’t live in an area set aside by the mayor for :”destruction”.

  129. Finn, Mr WCE made a deliberate choice to have much broader skills (systems engineer) and we could move lots of places right now if he wanted to. One of the reasons we have stayed so far is that he likes his colleagues/work, travel is moderate, commute is fairly short and the hours are usually sane. We live close enough for him to visit/help his widowed mother. We had stock options, etc. about 15 years ago but most expired underwater.

    I realized when the twins came that I would probably have to switch fields and that’s part of why I didn’t try to stay. Right now, I’m just feeling overwhelmed by four kids and a mom at the end of her cancer battle and don’t have the energy to think about my career, given that my current needs are met.

    I hope I’m like LfB in 10 years, able to look back with relief that some rough years are over.

  130. WCE, don’t forget to revel in your kids’ childhoods. I really miss the cute little boy that used to live in our home (DD still hasn’t completely outgrown that stage yet).

    I can totally understand why parents look forward to grandchildren. For those of you without kids, if you are ever bothered by your parents’ asking about when you’re going to give them grandkids, remember, that’s partly your fault for having been cute kids yourself.

    Hmm… I guess asking for grandkids is one answer to the question in Friday’s post.

  131. Thanks, Finn. Hopefully my mom survives to meet Baby WCE next month. I finished editing a research paper on the recycling of indium tin oxide while nursing/sitting by slightly sick Baby WCE/commenting on this blog and my sick kids didn’t vomit today. Life could be worse.

  132. Rhett– re. making sure that your money is preserved for the next generation: Creating and funding a trust that has an independent trustee can be helpful in this regard. I think that having a trustee who is not only independent (e.g. not a current or future trust beneficiary), but also professional (e.g. a bank, trust company, lawyer, etc.) can be particularly useful. The trustee would be overseeing not only the trust investments, but also the trust outflows, and would thus add a layer of protection for the aging trust donor. Also, typically trust documents will say that any changes to the trust document require the consent of all the trustees. So, the donor could not change the terms of the trust without the consent of the independent/professional trustee. Some people are even starting to add language to their trusts stating that they cannot unilaterally revoke the trust — rather, any revocation would also require the consent of the trustee.

    Regarding financial decision-making peaking at about age 53: I have been thinking about this issue a lot regarding my professional life. As you know, I am a solo attorney, and I want to make sure I stop practicing well before my mental skills deteriorate to the point where they might affect my professional decision-making skills. So I have begun to think seriously about structuring my practice so that I start winding down in my early 50s, and stop altogether in my mid-50s. Which means that I will need to find something else to do until I’m ready to retire entirely from paid work; but I’m not sure what that “something” would be.

    I also think about this issue a lot regarding retirement in general. For example, I’m not sure I would be in favor of raising the “normal retirement age” for Social Security any higher, even though people are living longer, because quite frankly, I’m not sure we (as a society) should be encouraging (or effectively requiring) people to stay in jobs longer than they can reasonably be expected to be able to do those jobs competently.

    Finally, regarding old people and sweets: At my mother’s assisted living, one of the caregivers told me that elderly people often lose much of their sense of taste, but the ability to taste sweet is the last thing to go. So often non-sweet food will taste really bland to an elder, but sweet food will still taste good. I’m not sure if this is true physiologically, but I do know that the “cookie social” that took place at 3:00 every day was always a very well attended event.

  133. NoB,

    Keep in mind that peaking at 53 might mean that by 62 your decision making ability is back to where you were at age 37 when presumably you were still pretty good.

  134. Well, hell, *I* get frustrated by the new online processes the school uses. It drives me nuts when people change things that work just fine, for no discernible benefit to me, like the new Word, or the new NYTimes, or the NextNewWhateverTheHell. I always wrote it off to “too much to do, too few brain cells to devote to irrelevant crap that will change again next week.” Would suck if it’s the first sign of my incipient senescence.

    The new google maps is the bane of my existence. They took a site that worked great and made it slow as mud with junk covering up the maps. And now they’ve gotten rid of the ability to get back to the old one.

  135. Instagram makes me feel about twice my age, too. But I eventually figure out the stuff I need to. (Like the maps. I’ll figure it out.) When I can’t do that, I’ll be very sad.

    I’ve been learning how to play guitar for the last couple of years. Just to do something new. I tend to do that every now and again. Aside from being good for my brain (I imagine) it’s just a lot of fun.

  136. LFB,
    DD is interested in Johns-Hopkins and are planning on checking it out this summer. I have heard that it is in a not so safe area which worries me a little, but now after watching I am not so sure that it is a school she could consider. How rough is the area around Johns-Hopkins? Is it anywhere near where all the riots are occurring?

  137. LFB — are you affected? I see the mayor is getting flack for her response to this mess.

    One of the JHU campus locations is near the rioting, and they advised students to stay in place. I read that high school students use buses that travel through the affected area, and of course school is canceled today.

    Helicopter mom?
    ‘Mom of the Year’ Baltimore mother praised for smacking rioting son

  138. The new Google maps got rid of one of the things I depend on – the ability to print out turn by turn directions with little maplets or photos of the interesections embedded. Even last week, when I was planning a drive up to MA, I turned on the old maps just to get that feature. I really appreciate being able to look at what my intersection will be like before I get there.

  139. Sheep farmer, just my opinion, but unfortunately bad things seem to happen every where. The situation in Baltimore can happen in many cities. My friends have children at Tulane and they were freshmen during a major hurricane. A neighboring town has a family that still has a missing daughter that vanished from Indiana U. Cambridge was locked down during the Tsarnaev tragedy.

    I think it is wise to avoid as much danger as possible, but there can be a risk in any college or university setting from mother nature, one insane person, rapists, or fragile neighborhoods. I would focus on how the university has handled these situations in the past. Do they rapidly communicate with parents and students to communicate information? How large is security force? In a large city, how do they coordinate with city police when some housing or building may be off campus?
    Where would students shelter in place in case of an emergency?

  140. Lauren,
    I get that bad things happen everywhere, but there are things one can take steps to avoid to stay safe, like not going to school that is located in a rough neighborhood, and others, such as a hurricane, that are totally beyond ones control. Why go to school in a tough area when there are lots of other schools where you don’t constantly have to look over your shoulder, make sure you are not in certain areas at night, etc.?
    I live in an area where people routinely leave their doors unlocked at night and where people leave their cars running when they go into the post office and don’t have to worry about their car not being there when they return a few minutes later. That is the life my DD is used to. I am not the worrying type, but I would worry about her at a school that has to have a large police force that actually has to do more than just give out parking tickets, which is about all the college police in my town have to do.

  141. OTOH, if you send your kid to one of those idyllic rural universities, he or she may be more likely to get hurt or killed in a drunk driving accident. Those schools often have heavy drinking cultures because there isn’t much to do, and of course, cars get used a lot more on rural campuses. Having gone to grad school at a school like that, I think I would not want any of my kids to go to a rural school

  142. I’ll chime in but I’ve heard from relatives in Chicago that they were not completely comfortable with being in the University of Chicago area at night. Now, I am hearing this, no personal knowledge of the area etc. but I hadn’t heard this kind of statement about any of the Boston area campuses nor any of the NYC ones in recent years.

  143. Sheep Farmer, I used to live near Baltimore and went out there all of the time (early 20s). I really love that city. My roommate was from Baltimore and I do remember being at certain intersections at night and she’d say, even if it’s a red light, just keep going. I think any urban university has these issues (you hear of a lot of problems at Georgia Tech near me, but mostly it’s students getting mugged) but you also get that city experience. I went to a rural college and it was a huge drinking/greek culture (which I loved, but not sure how much that is preparing kids to actually live in the real world).

  144. I went to an idyllic rural college that heavily restricted students having cars. It was also a wet campus. I think the combination of those two things made for a safer environment. Students drank on campus or walked to parties. I think having a campus where alcohol is allowed is safer for times when students drink in excess, because they or their friends are more likely to get help. I can’t recall anyone driving to bars to drink unlike friends I know who went to the other college in town that was a dry campus. Lots more drunk driving in that situation. Maybe less drinking overall at a dry campus, but a lot of hidden drinking.

  145. MM-I know. There was a college kid last school year killed due to drunk driving. There is a heavy drinking culture here. The college knows it and is working on it. In the past few years then have started a van service that goes out into the county to pick up kids from parties and they are building more on campus housing and once that is complete will require all freshman, sophomores, and juniors to live on campus. Currently only freshman and sophomores are required to live on campus. Two fraternities were shut down this year. I don’t consider UVA to be rural or small town (although others from larger cities would disagree), but they have a huge drinking culture, so I think it just depends more on the nature of the school rather than where the school is located.

  146. Hey guys — sorry, have been offline watching the news myself — some of our people live in/near the riot areas, so was relieved to hear they are all fine. Our office is downtown, so not directly affected, but close enough to be scary. I worked at home yesterday, which turned out to be lucky, because all the warnings to shutdown came around 3, and so there was apparently total gridlock leaving the city. It all just makes me sad, seeing neighborhoods burning, people who have been trying to help watch years of work go up in flames. This morning there has been a big turnout of neighbors and volunteers to clean up the mess, which is heartening.

    Hopkins is in a lovely part of town. There’s no problem there that you won’t see in any major city or close-in suburb. Hopkins hospital is in a much worse part of town; the UMd professional schools (law school, med school, etc.) are on the western edge of downtown, where some of the problems were, but they are basically commuter schools.

    Baltimore is like any big city. There are beautiful neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods, and they can sometimes be separated by a few blocks. I wouldn’t warn people away from here any more than I would any other big city. But you do need to be comfortable with city life, which is definitely different than the suburbs or the country.

    For our wedding, my SIL (who lived downtown) was worried about the hotel we had chosen, because it “wasn’t safe” for her relatives, so she asked her dad (from Brooklyn) to come check it out. I walked around with him for a few minutes, and he said, “it’s fine, I don’t know what she’s talking about — it’s a city.”

  147. “Baltimore is like any big city.”

    You paint a much nicer picture of JHU than was my impression, so that’s good to know. However, IME two cities that are quite different in terms of feeling and being safe are NYC (safe) and Chicago (not so safe). Yes, it depends on neighborhoods and other factors, but overall I think that a reasonable person has to take more precautions in Chicago than in NYC. I’m curious to know others’ opinions.

  148. Rhett – I agree with NoB. For maximum protection against swindlers, you need to (1) retitle all of your assets into your trust and then (2) have an independent (professional helps, but fees may be higher) trustee to keep an eye on things for you. I usually don’t put in the no-amendment-without-consent-of-the-trustees language, though.

    The second-wife problem is harder, though, because the bar for undue influence is pretty high. More reason for your kids to live near you when you are old!

    LfB, glad you are OK.

  149. The med school/hospital at Hopkins are in a very rough area. The undergrad campus is in a much nicer area. I would still stress being smart, not walking alone, etc. But it isn’t like the hospital area at all. One of my kids has a specialist at Hopkins and my very laid back husband won’t let me take our child there without him coming along. Not that case for the undergrad campus.

  150. LfB, earlier in my life I had a lot of experience with Baltimore. I love Pimlico; I saw the Inner Harbor come into existence. I’ve done a lot with UMBC. I’ve been to several World Series Games, there. On my bucket list is to see Camden Yards. What a marvelous city!

    Yes, it has always had its impoverished/underprivileged side. It was like Washington, D.C. used to be at times, in places.

    Based only on media reports, I’m not a big fan of your mayor. Her comments over the weekend that said the police would give people “space to destroy” seemed to me to be the height of recklessness. A license, if you will.

    Any thoughts? Am I wrong?

  151. Hopkins is between Charles Village (a lovely area where I almost bought my first house) and Roland Park (one of the nicest neighborhoods in town). But like most cities, go very far to the sides and it can get bad.

    @CoC — I would agree with you about NYC, which I think is directly related to the COL there. Basically, Manhattan is so small that there’s almost nowhere left for people without millions of bucks in the bank, who generally aren’t the folks out rioting and looting. I suspect you can probably “grade” overall city safety by the socioeconomic baseline there — so NYC is going to be pretty high, places like Camden NJ are going to be pretty low, and Baltimore will be somewhere in the middle.

  152. Baltimore is like any big city.

    I don’t agree. Baltimore has 16,000 abandoned buildings. Boston has 150. And of Boston’s 150 they aren’t actually abandoned in most cases, it’s infighting among heirs that is preventing the buildings being sold or renovated. Places like Baltimore, Philly, Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati, etc. with thousands of abandoned structures, that’s a whole different kind of urban vs. San Francisco, New York, Seattle or Boston.

  153. LfB – Interesting how you looked primarily at Manhattan but then generalize to NYC. Not uncommon at all – lots of people do this, including those who live here. When asked if I live in the city, I say I live in Brooklyn. Usually people are asking if I live in Manhattan but some really do mean NYC.

    I’m only familiar with Baltimore from taking the train on my way to DC so its hard for me to compare the dangerous parts of Baltimore to, say, the Bronx or rough neighborhoods in Brooklyn. (Not that I’ve been to those recently.)

    Glad to hear you and your colleagues are OK.

  154. One of my girls went to Stanford and one to U Chicago, only one year on a dorm.. The second continued to live in Hyde Park for two more years in an apt over a bodega and the owner landlord treated her like a young cousin. But they grew up in a low rise urban residential area, had street skills, had elem school friends who lived in (nice) projects. Substances and overeager dates played about equal roles in their lives, both worked menial jobs term time. No cars, the former campus is sufficient unto a full four year life. The other has a great city at its doorstep. Both were admitted to both places, but Stanford was the least urban of any to which they applied. Probably the worst parts of the UC experience was learning to pay the bills on time and dealing with roommates who did not. Plus where fun goes to die, but that was her style anyway. Both continued to choose urban sites for living for many years.

    The point is that if the kid as well as the parent does not have or does not wish to acquire the habits of urban living, there are fine schools elsewhere. But the schools and students do quite fine. There is more immediate danger to a naive young woman from unaccustomed partying at a self contained campus than from a short walk between buildings on a well endowed private campus with an good police force.

  155. @CoC — well, yeah, that’s because that’s my experience. :-) I haven’t seen anything in Manhattan that is close to some neighborhoods in Baltimore. I hear Brooklyn is the “new Manhattan,” and the rough neighborhoods there are being pushed farther out, too. Just can’t tell you how the Bronx compares to, say, the ’70s version.

    But I do think it all comes back to socioeconomic issues — compare the median household income in Brooklyn or Boston or wherever to the neighborhoods where the rioting occurred, and it’s a different world. I would be interested in what an “apples to apples” comparison would show.

    @PTM — I hear she’s getting a lot of flak, but I didn’t hear the exact comments themselves. When I heard her on TV over the weekend, she said that she was going to ensure that people were able to exercise their first amendment rights to nonviolent protest. I also heard on the news last night, when things were blowing up, that they were basically triaging, because they had so many fires and disturbances going at so many different places, and because some of the cops that responded initially were outnumbered and attacked, so they were basically consolidating forces and moving together where they could. But I imagine the result of that has to be that they just wrote off the real hot spots, because they didn’t have the personnel to break things up.

    I will say I have never seen so many major fires across the city at the same time as I saw on the news last night. I think they just got behind the curve from early on, and by the time they realized they were outnumbered, it took too long to get backup in and mobilized, and it just spiraled out of control.

  156. Sorry, that was @ATM, not @CoC — darn conference call distracting me from more valuable things. :-)

  157. The area around U of C has improved since the 80s when it was particularly bad (I’m told). It is not great, but really not terrible so long as you keep your wits about you and don’t wander around late at night (which I think is a good policy generally). I agree with anon and would have no problem with a reasonably responsible kid going there–I don’t think safety really needs to be a concern that should keep someone away, just a consideration to keep in mind.

  158. LfB – Brooklyn is obviously cooler than Manhattan.

    Parts of Brooklyn have really gentrified in the last 30 years but parts of Brooklyn are still very rough. BTW Brooklyn on its own is just a bit smaller than Chicago and would be considered the 4th largest city in the U.S., edging out Houston.

  159. Does anybody walk around anywhere after dark? In Berkeley I wouldn’t go anywhere that wasn’t brightly lit and crowded. And frankly I wouldn’t walk around Denver anywhere that isn’t brightly lit and crowded. Uber, people, it’s all about Uber.

  160. in many parts of NYC, people walk around all night. Even back in the 80’s, when my DH lived in Manhattan, we used to go out at night and walk back at all hours. I do remember once, though, in the 90’s, taking a very long subway ride back to Manhattan from Queens at 4am, and finding it a bit creepy

  161. “Is that a proposal, Moxie? You’ll look mighty fine in that Lincoln!”
    @PTM, I’m just saying that you have a silver tongue PTM. You could probably persuade a possum to come to breakfast!

    Rhett – I’m still mourning the loss of the reveal codes in Word Perfect. My apple friends love to explain to my why they aren’t needed, I just miss my F11!

    On baltimore, I just can’t get over how it looks just like an episode of The Wire. Waiting on McNulty and Stringer Bell.

  162. When we were in Manhattan last summer, we were out pretty late most nights, and some areas were still quite crowded, and we never experienced any deserted streets.

  163. Rocky– Uber? I remember walking all over the place as a college student. I didn’t want to blow the budget on transportation. Cal was pretty safe, but I remember walking escorts around campus even then, and sticking to well lit areas or walking in groups.

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