my family wants to live near each other — how do we do this with work?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. This one isn’t strictly work-related, but it intersects with work and is an interesting change of pace. A reader writes:

We’re a family of adults, who all live in places we love with jobs we love, but want to live in the same city (or same state, at the very least). How can we possibly make this decision? What factors should be weighted the most?

I’m a 32-year-old woman, and my husband and I hope to conceive our first baby in the next year or so. We live in a medium-sized city. I moved here for a job five years ago because I couldn’t find anything in the state where I grew up, and now have a new career that I really like, also teach dance in the evenings at an amazing local dance school that’s become a great community, and my husband started what has turned out to be kind of the dream job (and is literally one of a kind) a few months ago. It’s a great city and we have good friends here.

But! My parents (in their early 60s) live three states (a two-hour flight) away, where I grew up, and my brother lives in a third state, a 1.5 hour flight away. I’m really close to them, and hate living so far apart, as do my parents. Especially once we have a baby, AND as my parents get older and will eventually need more help, I’d really, really like to all live in the same state. My brother also wants to live close once we have kids. But who moves where??

My mom will be retiring in a couple years, but my parents have really close friends where they live and are a little nervous about moving somewhere new. My husband would have to leave this dream job if we moved. My brother’s job, which he also loves, is something that literally doesn’t exist where either my parents or I live (think something like sea captain). None of us are wealthy, so having multiple dwellings, or flying once a month or something, are not options. We all like where we live, but also want to be near one another, basically. I feel like there should be some kind of checklist to work through to decide which state we end up in!! I wonder if you or commenters have a list to consider…

Readers, what are your suggestions?

{ 505 comments… read them below }

  1. Original Letterwriter*

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I can’t wait to see what commenters have to say! I’m heading into a couple hours of work and then will jump in to the comment fray to answer any questions and reply after that. :) Thanks for advice in advance.

    1. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

      I just want to add that I’m in basically the EXACT SAME SITUATION. I am currently trying to house-hunt for a place with an in-law suite for my parents, or some sort of duplex? where we could live together but still have our own space? It’s so daunting, especially as it would probably be a few years before they could move here, and we don’t want to buy too much house if they end up not being able to, and we’re about to pull the goalie and cross our fingers on pregnancy, and it’s SO MANY ADULT DECISIONS AND CHANGES AT ONCE but I really want my parents here if/when I have a kid.

      So, SOLIDARITY, and thank you so much for asking this question, and I will be refreshing the comments all day long.

      1. PhyllisB*

        I’m looking forward to seeing replies to this, too. I was just saying to one of my kids that I wished we lived closer to each other (but not with each other and not necessarily in the same town) so I’m open to suggestions, too.

      2. nnn*

        Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be a duplex – it can also be two completely different kinds of housing that are within walking distance of each other.

        (Mentioning this because I recently saw two separate families spend months knocking themselves out to find a duplex. One discovered that they’re best served by buying two condos in the same building, the other discovered that they’re best served with one house and one apartment about a block away from each other.)

        1. Jane Victoria*

          One of my coworkers solved this problem by getting a single family and building a tiny house in her garden for her mother to live in, so. My in-laws essentially created a duplex by adding on a smaller unit to their single-family house, where her parents lived when they got older, then was rented for a while, and now my brother-in-law has moved in to help them as they get older. Think creatively about housing–what matters to you, and what can be added or changed to meet your needs!

          1. Free Meercats*

            Yes. After Dad died and the property was too much for Mom to take care of, my brother put in a double-wide on his property for Mom to live in. It’s been almost 20 years now and it’s been a godsend for the whole family.

          2. AnonAccountant*

            Agreed – we actually purchased the house right next door to my mother. Only about 50 steps between the houses, but our own separate spaces. It’s worked out beautifully so far! She helps us with child care, and we help her with yardwork/house maintenance.

          3. Ann Nonymous*

            The issue is not the physical housing, but WHERE that housing will be, i.e. what state or city.

          4. Julia*

            An older couple in my parents’ street ended up having all their daughters move into houses on the same street, to the point where they could almost rename that street after them.

          5. Happily Self Employed*

            My city has just loosened the regulations on “accessory dwelling units” to help ease the housing shortage, and I think it’s a new trend. So this might be a more feasible option now and in the future than it has been in the past.

        2. Sparrow*

          Options are good, if you want to live that close! When my parents were preparing for retirement, they ended up buying a house whose backyard connected to my sister’s. The houses aren’t right up on top of each other and there’s a fence in between, but it’s very easy to go back and forth. That kind of closeness would not work for me at ALL, but it seems to have worked out well for them. It made it possible for my sister to go back to school while working full-time, and it will likely allow my parents to live alone longer than they might’ve been able to otherwise.

        3. Eve's Husband's Mustache*

          Can’t be in my case… I’m trying to convince my soon-to-be-retired-on-a-fixed-income parents to move across the country to a much higher COL area. It’s going to have to be them moving into a property owned by me and my partner, and we can only afford to buy one place!

      3. Original Letterwriter*

        It’s so nice to hear that others are in the same boat too – I mean, I’m sorry you have to deal with the stressful decisions, but good to feel Not Alone.

      4. Sloan Kittering*

        I love that these are the discussion we’re having, and I hope as a society we can course-correct back to a place that values community and the wider family. I’m in my late 30s and all of us were encouraged to put our careers first and follow the jobs wherever they went, and I see such a hunger now for this sense of place and connection. Too much emphasis on *just* the nuclear family (spouse and kids, alone on an island) is unhealthy IMO. We are agonizing about missing out on little moments with our siblings and our aging parents, and we’re aware that our kids are missing out. I can only hope that the increasing options for remote work will be part of the solution. Best of luck to you, OP. Ignore the naysayers.

        1. FormerProducer*

          I’ve been feeling this so hard lately: “I see such a hunger now for this sense of place and connection.” Beautifully put.

        2. Lisa*

          I don’t understand why you say you hunger for place and connection, and that we shouldn’t emphasize the nuclear family so much, and then follow by implying that hunger/need can only be met by…family.

          Make a place and a connection where you live. You seem to be artificially drawing a line between blood relatives and everyone else, as though you somehow can’t connect with non-blood relatives. You can, and it sounds really sad that you seem to be “missing out” on something that’s in your control. Get off your island! Get to know your neighbors, volunteer in your community, fall in love with your friends’ kids.

          1. FormerProducer*

            Of course you can create connections wherever you are! But there’s something about being surrounded by a net of people who have known you forever, who understand your context without explanation, that feels like a sweet exhale of relief. Friends and community that you create as an adult are a beautiful gift — it’s just a different type of gift. People can appreciate one and still miss the other.

          2. Allison*

            That’s not easy for everyone. I’m pretty introverted, as is my husband, so it take a lot of effort to build friendships. Building a community from scratch sounds exhausting! I do have friends, but only two with whom I feel the same level of ease and comfort I feel with my family. Plus, I wouldn’t ask friends, even close ones, to help me with the kids as much as I can ask my dad or in-laws.

          3. Sloan Kittering*

            We live in a big expensive city with a lot of folks always coming and going.

            I’m talking about long term permanent networks, not just blood relations. I see my friends struggle because they moved very far away (often multiple times) from friends and family for work, then got married and had a kid. Now both parents are struggling with jobs and childcare without community support because they just moved there, and they will probably move again several more times as their careers call for it. Of course they try to make new friends and be a part of the community, but that takes time – and they don’t have a huge network of cousins, old friends, grandparents, and longtime neighbors around.

            It’s okay if this hasn’t been your experience and I’m not trying to say it has to be that way, it’s just a pattern I see repeating in my social circle.

            1. Julia*

              Same. I have tons of great friends here, but they all end up moving away because this city is hard to live in.
              Also, just because someone has great friends doesn’t mean they suddenly forget all about the people they loved before that. I still miss my grandma and wish I could be closer to her, that doesn’t mean I haven’t made an effort here.

          4. Tech girl*

            I completely agree. Not everyone has a good relationship with their family of origin, and some have to
            move far away for the sake of their own well being. Building a family of choice can be just as (if not more) rewarding . There’s so many ways to have family and community!

          5. RagingADHD*

            Look, a lot of people have toxic families and grow up without good memories or deep loving connections to their family of origin.

            But for those who do have those bonds, no. Friends are not an adequate substitute – not while your lived ones are living, and only partially after they die.

            When you love people, you miss them. There is absolutely nothing strange about that.

            It’s not about being an “island”. It’s about the unique relationships you have with these unique individuals.

        3. Carlie*

          Yes – I was going to say the same. I don’t have any advice, but I chose a career that did not let us make any decisions about where we live, so we made do with seeing relatives once a year if we were lucky, once every two years sometimes, for 2-4 days max each time. It really, really, really sucks. It’s ok for awhile, but it’s not easy – there’s no family around to help in a pinch, you miss all of their milestones, when they get sick you can’t help, your kids can barely name their cousins, there are no “fun” family vacations because every rare opportunity for time off is a precious trip back “home”…and eventually your kids are graduating but their grandparents aren’t at graduation, never saw them perform in plays and concerts, and now there aren’t even nuclear family trips to see the extended relatives any more because the kids are themselves scattered with jobs and not enough PTO for long-distance visits.

          I know this is what people do all the time – every immigrant to anywhere has this issue. And it’s often worth it. But it’s not a choice that should be made lightly. Unfortunately it’s hard to know the value of it until you live through not having it, but I’m glad more people are thinking about structuring their lives to value it to begin with.
          (caveat: if you are separated from your family on purpose, this is all of course moot. I just mean if it’s something you want.)

      5. ellex42*

        I’m currently idly house-hunting (I won’t be putting my house up for sale and hunting for real for a few months yet) and am feeling very tempted by a 2-lot property with a very nice mobile home on each lot, being sold together, as I need a place for my mom but would also like some private space for myself. But I’m also investigating “granny pods” (OMG, not cheap – not cheap at all) and some other solutions (larger house that can be converted to downstairs and upstairs living spaces, or new build to spec).

        Basically, don’t expect to easily find something already designed for what you want, especially if you aren’t really flexible on location.

        As for all those scary adult decisions: I feel you, I really do. I’ve had way too many changes in the last few months, only a couple of which were my choice, so the multiple changes I’m initiating in the next few months feels really daunting. But take it one step at a time, do your best to be as flexible as possible, and we’ll both get there.

        1. Sarah*

          Spend afew weeks writing down what you would gain and what you would lose for each scenario. How important are each of those? How likely are the losses to be replaced (e.g., how easy would you expect to make new friends, orfind a similarly enjoyable job?) What are the uncertainties and risks? And by each scenario I mean each very specific option – you all stay where you are, parents only move to you, brother momoves to you, you and brother both move to your parents, you all move to a fourth different place – just consider each optionseparately even though some aspects will be thesame for different options. What would make or break each option? What are the best alternatives for the losses in each option? (E.g., maybe you’re willing to host your parents for several longtrips each year so they could still spend lots of time with thekiddos) Once each of you has done this… well, then it’s probably some tough conversations aboutwhat’s important to each of you.

      6. CS*

        Look into Lennar NextGen houses & Richmond American Modern Living for houses that are available with an in-law suite. Unfortunately, they are not available in every state – but it is at least a starting point to look.

    2. PaddyHaha*

      Would it be possible for your parents to buy a rental property in a midpoint area between you and and your brother (maybe closer to you) that they can rent out throughout the year (or seasonally), but keep dates available for their use? Ideally their rental property would also be near a transportation hub that would allow them to get cheap flights from their home state.

      The rental income would offset the cost of ownership for your parents. They wouldn’t have to move away from their friends, you wouldn’t have to leave your city, no one would have to change jobs.

      Your parents could stay at the rental property throughout the year, or they could do a month’s residency.

      1. Renter*

        This is an intriguing idea, but at a minimum it would need to be a 2-unit property — it would be insanely difficult to find a continuous stream of renters who only want very short-term leases — if they visit for a month for times a year, that’s 4 two-month leases. And basically impossible to find tenants willing to put up with getting kicked out every time the landlords want to visit (or worse, having to share).

        Maybe you’d have a shot at making it something like an extended-stay hotel kind of thing for business travelers. But then you’d be getting into hotel regulations, which you may not want to deal with.

        1. KW*

          Renting the property out as a vacation home or using it as an air b&b would be an option if they can afford the initial investment.

          1. Yorick*

            This would work if it were in either OP’s or the brother’s city. But not in a fourth city that’s sort of in-between

          2. Leisel*

            Some cities have an ordinance that limits properties used only for Air BNB/short-term rental. In the city where I live, you need to have a license to rent out short term and you can’t rent it for more than 30 consecutive days. There’s a housing shortage here and they’re trying to discourage people from purchasing homes with the sole purpose of renting them out on Air BNB. That’s here, definitely not everywhere.

            If they have the ability to invest in that type of property, can find something that works well in a city that allows it, and can make all the other minutia worth the while, then that would be a good option!

        2. AnnaBananna*

          That’s not entirely true. I have a friend who makes about $3k/month on her tiny apartment which is rented out a couple of times a week for various durations. So, it’s totally possible, depending on the city (we’re in NorCal but not SF).

      2. Yorick*

        The parents having another property in a fourth city wouldn’t help much, except for maybe weekend visits.

      3. Original Letterwriter*

        Unfortunately, midway between any of the three points of the property is all kinda – middle Of nowhere. Couldn’t get a lot of money for a rental property.

        1. Overseas*

          I think you’re going to have to wait to see how things play out. Your feelings or circumstances may change over time–just as some people plan to be stay at home parents but find they hate it, or plan to go back to their workplace after giving birth and realize they don’t want to. Someone could get fired, or get a promotion. Your child might have needs that make family support more important. That’s when you sit down and look at the same facts (location, income, jobs, relationships) from a new perspective.

    3. Lucia*

      Before any decisions on moving the parents are made, please have them speak to a retirement advisor and an elder law attorney. The move could negatively impact their standard of living in retirement. It could also negatively impact their ability to get Medicaid to pay for nursing home care.

      You can find an elder law attorney at NAELA or Elder Counsel.

      Also, they are in their 60s – not frail 90 year olds with dementia. They need to be in the driver’s seat on where they live. Offer options, but do not offer guilt or try and make the decision for them.

      1. AVP*

        And an estate tax specialist, if that may come into play for your family. Different states have vastly different rules for end of life finances.

          1. CL Cox*

            Even for a smaller estate. When late FIL needed to be moved to a memory care facility, there were rules about how much MIL could keep (she could keep the house, but the state had claim to a portion of the proceeds if it was sold or she predeceased FIL, which she did. My father is currently in memory care in a different state and my parents’ assets are too high for him to qualify for a lot of stuff, which means Mom has to basically drain their accounts before he’d qualify for Medicaid. The time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was too short to set up annuities or anything in time. Each state has (sometimes vastly) different rules about qualifications, etc. And it’s best for the parents to seek the advice and make arrangements now, as they could be accused of trying to hide assets if they set up annuities or anything within a few years of either one entering a care facility.

            As with other medical care, end of life care in the US is far behind the need.

            1. Lady Heather*

              Wasn’t there one state in the US where children are liable for their parents’ nursing home bills?

              Googled it – it’s called filial responsibility, in 21 states children are civilly liable, in 12 there are criminal penalties, in 3 states there are both, and Pennsylvania is particularly noteworthy as a state that actually enforces those laws.

        1. Sally*

          Absolutely this. My Grandmother’s estate was not large but some “big” gifts given really complicated things once she went into care. We would have been up the creek without an elder care attorney that was a tax specialist. Go earlier than you think you’ll need to.

      2. Krabby*

        Another thing to point out: If your parents are moving to you when they need care, it might be good to make the move now so they can build their own friends/community while they can. My grandmother had to move across the country to live with my aunt in her eighties. She left behind all of her friends and at that point building up a new social circle was really difficult.
        Her social life went from a weekly bridge night, church functions and golfing to looking at the obituaries in the paper to make sure she could send flowers whenever one of her friends passed away. I know she was happy being closer to her family, but I do wonder if her quality of life would have been better if she’d moved ten years earlier when the option had originally come up, instead of when there was no other choice.

      3. Jan*

        Exactly, thank you for pointing out they are relatively young (and hopefully healthy). I’m in my 60’s, working, healthy, independent. The thought of moving in with children is the farthest thing from my mind!

    4. Sue*

      I don’t have a checklist but as someone in your parent’s situation, it is all of our friends who are moving to be near their kids/grandkids. Many did it gradually; visits, longer visits and then relocation. It has been difficult to see so many of our friends move away but they seem happy and come back for events locally.
      Also, as someone who moved aging parents, it will be far easier for them to move closer while in their 60s than later, when health makes it much harder.

      1. adk*

        My parents just did this. My sister had her first kid in California and my mom hasn’t been back home for more than a week (6 weeks a year) for 5 years. They finally sold the house in Illinois and moved permanently in July. Dad had to do most of the moving and packing himself because mom was with the (now 2) grandkids. They have a house about a mile from my sister’s. My mom will walk it on nice days.

      2. CatLadyInTraining*

        Yeah, but when they’re in their 60’s and their health is good, is when they’re less likely to want to move and they likely have a social life and activities in their home town

    5. Happy Pineapple*

      I have no advice but wish you and your family the best, OP.

      I will say this is a super interesting question to me as someone who does not at all have a close-knit family. My brain can’t even comprehend why people would consider leaving things that they love to move closer to family. I was thrilled to have several thousand miles, an ocean, and a continent between me and them! So this is a fascinating peak into how other people’s family dynamics work.

    6. C.*

      My .02: every family unit in this situation (so it sounds like you and your partner, your parents, and your sibling) needs to do some serious, independent thinking about what they are and are not willing to give up in order to make this work. Give each other the time and space to really think about what they care about, and what they are and are not willing to sacrifice to make this happen.

      Once you all have your lists, then you come together and see whether or not this is still feasible – and be open to the possibility that it might not be, and that doesn’t mean you care about each other any less.

      1. Mad Harry Crewe*

        A family therapist or other neutral mediator could also help facilitate, especially if some of those lists don’t seem very compatible or if some parties are more willing to manipulate or pressure others. It doesn’t sound like the case from the letter, but it’s always nice to have the outsider view.

  2. chipMunkey*

    Great question, thank you for asking OP! I’m in a similar situation, back in the same state, but still a 5-6 hour drive from parent with declining health and looking to move closer.

  3. Junior Assistant Peon*

    I think remote work is the way of the future. It’s becoming increasingly common in my field because niche experience is in demand, and people are unwilling to uproot their lives and families for a job and company that might not exist in five years.

    1. Elenna*

      Eh, true, but there are plenty of jobs that can’t be done remotely (including sea captain, which was LW’s fake example for her brother’s job). Also things like hairdresser, dance instructor, professional chef, etc… I think it’s safe to assume that if remote work were an option LW would have mentioned it.

      1. rayray*

        It’s definitely possible though that a job that isn’t remote now could become remote. My last job absolutely could have been done from home, but management was very set in their ways and old fashioned, so it wasn’t going to happen. There are probably many offices like this all around. I could also see certain technologies improving that would make some jobs easier to work remotely. You stated examples that wouldn’t work, so I agree with you if that’s the case with their jobs, but if they have a typical go in the office and sit in front of a computer all day kind of job, it could become remote with adjustments.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          And yet there are still many that can’t. Mine requires me to handle physical materials that can’t be removed from our site. It cannot be done remotely no matter how progressive our bosses. Let’s get over the ‘remote work will solve everything’ hang-up, Ok? It can’t work for everyone.

        2. Ace in the Hole*

          “…if they have a typical go in the office and sit in front of a computer all day kind of job”

          This is a very strange statement to me, since I think of jobs like that as not at all typical! Almost everyone I know has a job with a significant amount of in-person requirements – and I’m not talking about things like meetings that could theoretically be done remotely. I mean elements of the job that require someone to be physically present – for example in my job I need to do building inspections, operate equipment, be available for customer questions, and handle physical materials. The in-person requirements are only about 1/3 of my job, but they absolutely must get done. That’s the case with most people in my circle. Work from home days might be an option… but going full remote? No way.

          I’m talking about a wide range of careers too; everything from teachers to county health department to utilities to nursing to food service to engineers to scientists to skilled trades. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask if remote work is a possibility in their field (or their relatives), but it’s not at all universal and proposing it as such is rather tone deaf.

        3. Indoor Cat*

          I think “go to the office and sit in front of a computer” isn’t really the norm. I have that kind of job, and it’s at least 50% remote.

          Whereas my partner’s job involves going to his clients’ homes, and it’s a pretty fundamental requirement–he’s a therapist and many of his clients are home-bound due to illness.

          My mom was a personal aide before she retired, and now she’s an ESL teacher for adult refugees who resettled in our area. I guess in theory you could do that over skype, but, in practice, it’s helpful for the refugees if they can get all their needs met in one place (the resettlement center), or if tutors and advocates are willing to accompany them to other government buildings or their own personal homes.

          My closest uncle is a botanist and has to go to the greenhouse or out into literal fields to conduct his research.

          My sister is an ultrasound tech, so, you’ve gotta be where the ultrasound machine is. My BIL is a high school teacher, and frankly, online classes for anyone pre-college-age seem to go very poorly. The majority of students benefit from school being a physical place where they see their teachers and friends face-to-face.

          My partner’s roommates are 1. a steel welder and 2. a produce…um, processing plant? I think? He has to evaluate fruits and vegetables. My BFF since middle school is a health inspector. Many of my friends are in food service or retail.

          Actually, come to think of it, I and my Dad are the only two people in my immediate social circle who have “sit at the computer”-type jobs. And we both already work from home.

      2. Yorick*

        Sure, remote work won’t work for everyone (just like sandwiches), but it could work for OP and the husband. It’s possible they haven’t really given it too much thought, especially if they’re in offices where there isn’t a strong remote work culture already.

        1. Joe-lean*

          Your reference to the “sandwiches” rule here seems like a backdoor way of not taking the letter writer at their word, which is also a rule. How about we all agree that remote work won’t currently work for *plenty of people*.

      3. Stephanie*

        Or there’s not a culture of it at her company/department. Remote roles in my department tend to be limited to travel-heavy roles (so you’re rarely in the office as it is) and the workers all live within 4-5 hours of the office (so no one lives cross-country).

    2. Grapey*

      I would not continue with dance lessons if my in-person sessions changed to remote, even with my beloved instructor.

      1. Senor Montoya*

        True, but the OP could give dance lessons in a new place, should they decide to move. This is to me the easiest piece!

        1. Junior Assistant Peon*

          The jobs least suited to remote work are often the ones needed everywhere. Depressed rust belt places like Erie, Toledo, etc still need hairdressers, dance instructors, teachers, doctors, etc.

        2. yellowloquat*

          OP says it’s become a pretty great community, though, which is hard to replace. I had a to find a new choir to participate in when I moved a few years ago, and I went from one where it felt like a real community and we’d talk and meet up outside of rehearsal (and I put in a fair amount of time doing organizational and leadership work), to one where I go to rehearsal and then leave it behind until the next one and have no desire to get more involved, and it still feels like a big piece of my life is missing. Trying to find another one that has the right mix of performance level, community feeling, and compatible schedule/location is pretty hard.

          1. Sal*

            Of course it’s hard–that’s what makes the decision hard. But ultimately, livelihood, unless someone wants to and is able to switch career types (perhaps her brother would like to or is financially able to stop being a sea captain), is going to be the one that’s the most non-negotiable.

    3. Original Letterwriter*

      Yeah, so between us we have a classroom teacher, a nurse, a mountain guide, and an art youth educator. All pretty difficult to think about remote options without a career shift. We also all chose careers purposely that required little computer time.

      1. Sal*

        So…all of those sound at least kind of portable except for the mountain guide. Right? I know licensing requirements vary by state (I’m a lawyer who relocated and had to take a new bar exam as a result, and it was AWFUL), but you find nurses in every state. Same with teachers. (Teacher certifications can get complicated but private/independent schools are more flexible about this.) Art youth educators are definitely more likely in cities, but can also be sort of self-created in the right circumstances and communities. Just saying–relocating for any of these is definitely NOT easy, but it is possible. You would change jobs but not careers.

        The mountains, however, are not portable. The real variable there is whether your brother wants to stay a mountain guide or whether he’s open to being something else. Otherwise, that’s where the rubber meets the road.

      2. pope suburban*

        Based on that, if you’re willing to deal with winter, the metro Denver area, or Fort Collins, CO might be a good fit. There are medical jobs there (I have multiple friends and relatives working in the medical field there), the state is packed with primary/teen/adult schools, and a robust outdoor industry (My husband is in parks/rec, and worked with people who also worked as outfitters/guides). I am sure that there are specifics for all of you that would require a lot of planning, but based on that specific job spread, that’s the area I think of. It may be worth a look for you, if you can handle the altitude and climate.

        1. Stephanie*

          Ha, that’s funny because I know a couple of people who moved from CO to the Midwest and said Midwest winters were worse (not as sunny and longer). So CO could be improvement climate wise if she’s coming from Minnesota or something.

          1. we're basically gods*

            Colorado winters are really lovely! We get bits of snowy and frigid weather, but it’s always interspersed with sunny days– it might only be 35 for the high, but it’ll be gorgeous and sunny all day, so it feels a lot different. Plus, it melts the snow!

            1. Leslie Knope*

              I grew up in Northern Oklahoma. I thought it was pretty funny when a clerk at the liquor store in Fraser, Colorado checked my I.D. and said, “Oh! You’re from Oklahoma? I hear it gets really cold there.” It was literally zero degrees Fahrenheit outside that day in Fraser. I asked why she thought it was worse in Oklahoma, and she said something to the effect of, “Yeah, but it’s not thaaat bad here. I just hear that it’s a gross kind of cold there…and really windy.”

              She wasn’t wrong. It’s really gross when it’s cold in OK – the humidity and the wind suck! The winter in CO seems much more bearable, even when it’s 20 degrees colder! Kind of funny how that works!

          2. CaliCali*

            Word (hi from the Denver burbs). There’s a reason a loooooot of people have moved here over the last 10 years. Word got out that our winters aren’t really all that bad. :) But seriously, all along the Front Range (Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, even Colorado Springs) there are multiple places where all of those careers could thrive.

            1. pope suburban*

              Yeah I grew up there from fifth grade on, and my husband was born there. He went to CSU and started a natural resource career there, while my CU colleagues went into mostly medical and education careers. We’re in California now and it was worth it for our careers, but we’ve got family and may move back. Part of my motivation to leave was the winters (I haaaaated commuting in them), so I’m probably a bit more heavy on that aspect than some. But there are, like you said, so many locations that offer all career options, and CoL isn’t necessarily super high. It might be a decent fit.

        2. we're basically gods*

          Fort Collins is a great option! I live in Denver now, but went to college in Fort Collins, and it really seemed like it’d be a great place to be a kid. It’s less busy than Denver and Boulder, but with most of the same amenities, and it’s just generally a pretty nice place.

      3. Roja*

        Oh! That’s much easier than I was thinking in terms of careers. Without knowing what region you’re in it’s a bit harder but I can think of some things right off the bat that would work for all of those positions.

        Cleveland, OH area (no mountains but near mountains)
        Raleigh/Durham area or eastern Tennessee (ditto)
        Boise, ID
        Denver, CO or Colorado Springs
        Salt Lake City, UT
        northern New Mexico–Santa Fe/Albuquerque area
        St. Louis, MO (near Ozarks)
        Burlington, VT (there’s so many mountains in upstate NY)

        Teachers and nurses will be needed anywhere. I listed places with strong arts communities that will need art and dance educators (I’m a dance teacher too, so I understand the need!). I also tried to list places with strong, diverse and/or growing local economies with low(er) COL, although there’s a few exceptions in the list.

        Ultimately, you may not be able to stay where any of you are, but you may well be able to find a place you can all be together. Or, at least, within a hour of each other. Good luck! My husband and I just did a similar search and found success so I hope you do too. :)

        1. No bees on Typhon*

          Is a mountain guide able to quickly find work in any old mountainous region, or would they need to get to know the local area very well first?

          1. Carrborette*

            Yeah, just came here to say that the closest mountains are just over 3.5 hours from Durham, a little farther for Raleigh. It’s a lovely area (I live near Chapel Hill) but definitely not convenient for someone who would be working as a mountain guide.

          2. Marillenbaum*

            Quick plug for Winston-Salem, NC! Arts capital of North Carolina, solid schools (including four universities), two hours closer to the mountains than Raleigh, and a major hospital chain. Good housing prices, lovely weather, great people.

      4. Something Better*

        Assuming your brother is close to your age and not yet married, I’d leave him out of the equation for now because it’s not crazy to think he might someday meet someone and move as a result of his partner’s desires or that as time goes by he might have career aspirations that might lead him to new locations. (It may not happen, but it’s common enough to not have everyone pack everything up and move to his location only to have him leave it later on down the line…)

        Your parents can’t move until they retire so maybe spend those couple of years job hunting in their location. You never know what might pop up in that time even if it hasn’t been successful in the past. What do you have to lose?

        If nothing comes up in that time period and your parents retire, I can imagine they will naturally want to and be able to come visit you for longer periods of time, especially if you’ve had a child by then. During those visits they can “try on” the community you’re in. Meet people as a result of regular, longer stays. If they reject wanting to move after that, it’s likely going to be because they feel their current location is better for them in the long run (long term friends, not wanting to change doctors, etc.) At that point, who knows how your husband will feel about his dream job. He might be bored by it, ready for new challenges. You might revisit moving to be nearer your parents.

        Meanwhile, my guess is that if you do the above and you move to your parents or your parents move to you, your brother will find it easier to weigh whether or not he wants to give up his career choice to be close to his entire family. That’s harder to weigh when you and your parents aren’t even near each other.

      5. No bees on Typhon*

        If the mountain won’t come to the rest of the family, then the rest of the family must go to the mountain

      6. TechWorker*

        Mountain guide is not particularly relocatable but there may be other adjacent jobs that are, eg: outdoor activities instructor, climbing instructor… if none of those appeal and that’s a hard line, then yeah, gotta be near the mountains…

        Presumably you guys would know if this was the case but it’s also worth seeing if any of the jobs are transferable elsewhere. (Obviously not the case if you’re working for a tiny employer but might help soften the blow of the move otherwise).

        Also sort of referenced above… bear in mind that the ‘right’ answer for everyone might actually include choosing a completely new state/city, rather than trying to choose between the 3 areas you already have. Yep – finding a new social circle isn’t trivial, but you’d have each other and you’d all be motivated to get out and meet new people, so it might not be that bad!

        1. pope suburban*

          Mountain guide can also transition into outfitting, seasonal trail technician work, seasonal/permanent ranger work (Less backcountry than open space, I think, if you’re trying to live with family who have indoor careers, but you can still be outside doing interpretation and hiking), ski instructing/cross country guiding, or doing park intepretation. It really depends on what exactly are the draws for the mountain guide job, but there are so many outdoor lines of work that really complement and grow from guiding. The trick there is to find a place that has a strong outdoor industry, which tends to mean a robust investment in tourism by your state/local government.

      7. BeenThere*

        I don’t have siblings, but did the same thing. My parents retired and we moved together to a new state. I asked my job if I could go remote and got the green light, but am fortunate that my job is working with a lot of people I wasn’t usually face to face with anyway. I was prepared to job hunt if they said no, though, so unless most parties are willing to compromise on at least some items (new social group, new job) there’s not going to be a magical solution. Think hard about what everyone’s non-negotiables are and why (to make sure there aren’t really satisfactory alternates overlooked), and look what area offers the most incentives to everyone to make up for what they’d lose and if they’re comfortable knowing that there’s an opportunity cost to every choice but can live without family resentment on this one.

      8. Lucette Kensack*

        Oh wow, I definitely thought the jobs were going to be much more specific and limiting. Teachers, nurses, and informal educators can work pretty much anywhere. Nurses and teachers can definitely work remotely (web-based charter schools, nursing case management and virtual clinics). It would be a big change to the type of work you all do, but something has to give: location, work, or togetherness.

      9. Rabbit Rabbit*

        I think the “checklist” is:
        1. identify primary or central members –
        to me that is the OP and spouse the parents will retire soon, there are not plentiful jobs where they live, and son/brother may find he moves to a future partner’s job/family, and the OP and spouse have a community they will love for many more years
        2. everyone else moves to them or finds a compromise way to be with family
        As others have pointed out, there are many ways to do this
        -Is or can the mountain guide work be seasonal? Like do that for part of the year and do another outside and similar job near you the other seasons?
        -can the OP get an in-law suite that could accommodate long visits from brother and parents?
        -can the parents transition to the area by spending time in the in-law suite?

      10. Junior Assistant Peon*

        I’ve got a friend who turned his passion for outdoor recreation into a career at REI. He gets paid to be an expert on skiing and snowboarding equipment even though he doesn’t live in the mountains. The other ones – teacher, nurse, art teacher – are needed everywhere no matter how rural or rust-belt a location is.

  4. Amber T*

    Picking a city/location where all jobs exist might be possible… I’m thinking the greater NYC area for instance (since that’s my location), but there’s the greater Boston area, I’m sure plenty of places on the west coast too. The problem there is that the closer you get to a Major City, the cost of living increases as well. Depending on your industry, your cost of living could be compensated with a high paying job, but that’s certainly not always the case. Also, I know NY is not entirely the most retirement friendly states, but I’m not sure how surrounding states are.

    1. MsMaryMary*

      I would definitely factor in cost of living and quality of life into the decision. Particularly as OP’s parents retire and move to a fixed income, living in NYC, Boston, LA, SF, or other high COL areas would have a huge impact.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Yep. We’re also the parents close to retirement and nervous about moving someplace new. Cost of living for sure, but my concern is learning to get around in inclement weather (we live in the South, and never had to learn to drive in snowy/icy conditions.) There are other challenges too of course, but that’s the big one for me.

        1. Jay*

          We’re a couple of years from retirement (we think) and our kid now lives on the other US coast and intends to stay there. We talked about moving closer. We’re in an area with a manageable cost of living; she is in a very expensive area. My husband needs to have a yard so a townhouse or condo is not an option, and I really don’t want to start over building community in our 60s. After a lot of discussion we’ve decided to stay put. We spent some money making our house exactly what we want it to be. The money we don’t spend on relocating and paying for a house that costs at least twice as much as this is money we can spend on traveling to see her and even renting an apartment for a few months if we want to.

      2. Gazebo Slayer*

        Some HCOL areas do have the advantage of good public transit, which makes them more accessible for aging folks with health problems that might impact driving. Depending on where your jobs are and where you live, it could also mean the working folks can save on the expense of a car – making the high cost of living considerably less high.

        HCOL metro areas also tend to have good healthcare.

    2. starsaphire*

      The hard part of moving to a big metro is that a lot of the non-working hours of the day get swallowed up in commuting, so it might be a moot point to move the whole family to, say, NYC or SF, and then discover that you only get to see everyone for an hour at dinner.

      Maybe your folks could live the RV dream after retirement, and you and your partner could put in an RV pad on the side of your home? Your brother could build one too, and then they could do half-time with you and half-time with him.

      OP, I really hope you find a way to make everything work out!

      1. Jackalope*

        I think some version of this in which your parents have a lot of time to stay with you and your brother before making any long-term decisions would be a good idea. They could try to find a community in each place (or Place 3 if youall have somewhere else in mind) and see what it’s like navigating as a retiree (are there things for them to do as 60 somethings? Can the find a church/synagogue/other religious organization, or intense hobby group, or whatever, and see if they can start making friends in the new place? Etc.). They might find that they are willing to try a new place more readily if they hang out there for awhile beforehand, or might find that home is still where it’s at.

        Alternatively, you might be able to find a place to live with a mother-in-law suite that they could stay in for extended periods of time. For example, they come stay with you for a few months at a time, then go back home for a few months, go stay with your brother, etc. That reduces travel costs and I know a number of families who have made that work successfully. Down the road that might also make it easier for them to relocate to your home town too. (Or whatever place you choose, using your town as a stand-in for the place you end up.)

        1. TootsNYC*

          This is what my grandmother did–she lived at her place in Minnesota, but she would spend several months with each kid. It was kind of nice to have her around for so long, and she felt that she belonged and wasn’t just visiting.

          1. WishWeCouldTiny*

            This is what my mother in law wants to do, but no. I love her, but I would lose it if she were in my house for months at a time. An RV would be a great option, but our HOA does not allow them and we live in such a HCOL area that we were lucky to be able to buy a house at all. A also love the tiny house idea, which would not work for us (both illegal in our town as accessory dwellings and we don’t have a yard that’s big enough) but I wish that we could do that! It would be a good in between soultion.

        2. Muriel Heslop*

          My grandfather did this while we were growing up, and he ultimately decided to move near my aunt in California when he needed to downsize and have more support. We loved those months he visited each year, and he made the best decision for himself when it was time.

      2. Hei Hei the Chicken from Moana*

        OR an in-law “shed” where they stay with you part of the year?? They are so many cool, pre-fab tiny houses now maybe that’s an option?

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I almost hate to mention the friend who has downsized to an RV because it’s a fairly extreme decision , even for someone who has a 100% remote job like hers. You have to want it.

      3. twig*

        My grandparents kind of did this in their retirement! They were based in Santa Cruz, CA (which was not as spendy when they retired in the early 80’s as it is now) but were only home in the spring and fall when the weather was the best.

        They spent winters and summers cruising up and down the west coast and parking at various kid’s houses in Northern and Southern CA (“riding the gravy train” my grandma called it) and camping in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico. they even camp hosted several summers in Oregon and Northern CA (in the Sierra Nevada’s).

        My folks are now retired and are starting to do something similar. (no camp hosting yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did)

    3. Judy Johnsen*

      Many larger cities around the country might be considered too, like Chicago ,Il. Or Colombia, Ohio, or cities in the southern states. There are many choices.

      1. Kelsi*

        I’m assuming you mean Columbus, OH? There’s a couple of Columbias here but they’re not large cities.

    4. Senor Montoya*

      If they decide to move, they might do better to identify a mid-size city in a state or region that’s friendly to retirees. Cost of living will be less than major metro area, transportation by car will generally not be so horrific, and so on. However, public transportation may be less well-developed. Think about places that are easiest to get around for your parents — public transportation, walking, biking.

      Also, as someone noted above — unless your parents are already in poor health, they are not actually old yet. You want to think about places (cities, regions) that have a good health care system in place, have good assisted living options, and so on. If your parents are going to move, is it a place that is interesting to them? can they pursue the activities they care about, can they meet people and make new friends, and so on. The same sort of considerations you’d have for yourself.

      Finally, think really really hard before you make decisions that can short circuit your / your husband’s career. You will have to live with those decisions a long time.

      You may be able to get everyone closer together, but do know that 2-hour and 1.5 hour plane rides are really not that much. I mean, sure, the cost of tickets can add up, but the time is not super onerous. Especially if those are non-stop flights.

      1. Senor Montoya*

        I should have started with this!

        I’m really sympathetic to your situation! I’m on one coast and nearly all of my family is on the other coast. It’s not just my elderly parents (mom in ill health) and MIL; I miss my siblings a lot, we have always been very good friends and wish we could see each other often. But due to my spouse’s career, we are not going to be moving to the other coast. To live on the other coast within even a couple hours drive of my various family members or my in laws, would be prohibitively expensive on the retirement income available to me and my husband. So I’m rather envious of your 2-hour and 1.5-hour flights!

      2. TootsNYC*

        My mom insisted that when they retire, they move from my small rural town to a city, because she wanted to be in the same city as a major medical center. And she wanted to be able to get there with a taxi, if they got so they couldn’t drive.

        She also insisted on buying (at age 60) a home with all the necessary stuff (especially laundry) on one floor, so that if they couldn’t do stairs, they could still be self-sufficient. and they got a house that could so easily have had a ramp added (though when Dad was frail but able to walk, the physical therapist was adamant that slopes were actually far more dangerous than stairs–which made sense).

          1. TootsNYC*

            she studied geriatrics when she went back to college to finish her degree, plus she worked as a home health aide for the state after the kids were grown.
            So she saw it first-hand.

        1. Alexandra Lynch*

          We’re looking at a house on one floor for that reason. All three of us have spinal issues to some degree, and it would not surprise me at all if one of us winds up in a wheelchair at some point. So we’re looking at houses all on one floor, where we can do a little remodeling to get a bathroom that’s wheelchair compatible and has a shower that admits of assistance while washing.

          1. TootsNYC*

            I was surprised (and not surprised, once I thought about it) that the ramp was an unsafe idea for my dad. So try to aim for a front door that would let you have both ramp and a stepped sidewalk, should you need them.

            My folks’ would have.

        2. ThatGirl*

          Anecdotally, my dad moved from northern Indiana (close to South Bend, not too bad a drive to Fort Wayne or Chicago) to central PA for his wife. It’s been a great place for them community-wise, but he had a serious heart attack a few weeks after they moved, the local hospital misdiagnosed him and sent him home, and that kicked off a two-month nightmare that included a helicopter flight to Pittsburgh. I still wish they had picked somewhere less remote/rural.

          1. Roy G. Biv*

            Yes – this – I also have an aging father who lives in a rural area. My partner’s sister lived in the same general area, and she was the one who had to be helicoptered to the big city hospital after a heart attack. She didn’t make it. My sibling and I have had discussions about this, and we need to address it with our father. He may be healthy now, and a fiercely independent country dweller, but time marches on, and he needs to tell us his plan. Or at least let us participate in the discussion as he figures it out.

          2. ellex42*

            Having lived in the city, rural, and suburban locations, this is a factor in my house-hunting for myself and my elderly mother. SW Pennsylvania is great: I can have a house in a rural setting (I just went to look at a house with 10 acres of woods), but also be within less than an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh (which has an excellent medical community).

        3. Midwest Writer*

          I’m only in my 30s, but having lived four years in a house with laundry in the basement, I’m already dreaming of the day I get a one-story with everything on one floor. Good for your mom for planning ahead!

        4. Contracts Killer*

          Those are excellent ideas. One more is for parents and adult children to be in agreement about where the parents will live if/when they start to have memory and vision problems. If at all possible, moves should happen BEFORE the decline. I can say from experience that the elderly need several years to cement memories to ensure that as they start to become more forgetful and lose night vision, they are on familiar roads and have familiar landmarks. My dad hit a point where he could safely drive from home to Point A and from home to Point B, but going from Point A to B was too unfamiliar and he would get lost.

          Always plan for the worst and hope for the best. My dad was in excellent physical and mental health, then Alzheimer’s struck in his early 70s. Meanwhile my mom does nothing to take care of herself and she’s chugging along fit as a fiddle.

          I’ll get on my soapbox to suggest checking out the Alzheimer’s Association well ahead of any problems. Currently it is the 6th leading cause of death in the US, 1 in 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, it kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined, and only 16% of seniors get regular cognitive assessments during routine checkups that could help diagnose and delay symptoms. The AA website has a ton of resources related to diagnosis, research, and delaying/reducing effects.

      3. CatLadyInTraining*

        Well said. Another thing to keep in mind…if your parents are still in good health, they’ll want to do stuff, have a social life, etc. You all won’t be doing every single thing together, so you want to make sure there is stuff they like in your area

    5. Professional Confusion*

      The only states close-ish to the NYC metro that are retirement friendly would be Pennsylvania or New Hampshire. I’ve been looking into retirement locations for my own parents since my mom really misses living on Long Island but CT/MA/NJ are all unfriendly to retirees in terms of COL and taxes.

      1. Sarah in Boston*

        RI isn’t too bad for either COL (if you don’t love next to the water anyway) but not great on taxes FWIW. (I grew up on the border of MA and RI and we still have a summer place in RI.)

  5. Jennifer*

    Option 1 – Everyone moves to the brother’s city. If he has to be in a certain part of the country in order to work, moving for him won’t be an option. This is the only way everyone stays together.

    Option 2 – Leave brother out of the equation and move mom and dad to you. It sounds like you’ve created a great community for yourselves there and have jobs you love and your brother has done the same. I just don’t see moving to your parents’ hometown as an option if none of you can find work there.

    1. Annony*

      Option 3- Buy a house that has an in-law suite (or build one). That way you can accommodate long visits without your parents needing to move. It can help them start to get used to where you live and they can make friends there. Then when they need more help it may be easier for them to accept moving.

      1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        I think this plan is the most realistic. The parents do have a community, but their friends are getting older as well. And they have their own kids and grandkids, so they too are changing. As retirees, the parents will have more time to travel and stay. Giving them a place to stay clearly shows that you want to spend time with them. And also, OP, you said what you want, and you said that your parents are “a little nervous about moving.” Also allow them to say what their retirement expectations are. They all may love the idea of living closer, in theory. But before you put the wheels in motion, make sure everyone else isn’t thinking it’s a lovely idea but not one they want to make happen as much as you.

        1. CupcakeCounter*

          Excellent point about the parent’s community of friends. My parents and in-laws are retirement age and the friends they have who are slightly older are all moving either south or closer to family out of state. A few are hitting up the new retirement communities that have progressive care options due to recent health issues.
          When our great-aunt had to leave her house and move into an assisted living facility, she refused to move closer to the family because she had this huge group of friends in that area. Well she is about to turn 92 and all her friends died within a year or so of her moving in to that facility. Now she is complaining that she never sees anyone and she is bored (she is almost 6 hours away from the closest family member and two of her closest relatives – who also happen to be the retired ones – live in the town where we all wanted her to move). Lots of regrets on her end but she is a stubborn ass and refuses to move.

          1. JSPA*

            That doesn’t necessarily mean she did it wrong! You don’t say when she moved to the facility, but…she had many good years, up to the point where her friends died. You don’t know that she’d have made it to 92 without the friends and the facility. Nor that she’d be happy at 92 if she were with family; aging and losing people takes a toll; pretending that losing a friend at 88 is so much easier than it is at 28 or 38 conflates “what’s natural” with “what’s bearable.”

      2. Nikara*

        Options 2 and 3 seem to make a lots of sense here. My family has recently had most folks move to get closer to my Mom. We aren’t all going to end up in the same City, but we’ll be about a 3 hour drive away from each other, which is doable for weekend visits. The person farther away from everyone else is purposefully choosing a home with a lot of space for guests, so having visitors is easier.

        One key element to our planning was having really honest conversations with each other about what we wanted. We’d always assumed that my Mom wouldn’t ever want to move, but she is actually somewhat interested in moving, so that may be in the future. We all figured out a general part of the country that could meet our needs, and are adapting to the job climate and personal preferences around that, trying to be close-ish, but not needing everyone to be in exactly the same place.

      3. Edianter*

        Option 4 – You and husband stay where you are (you have great jobs & great community–both are super valuable and you shouldn’t take them for granted! you might resent having to rebuild all of that if you move), brother stays where he is (same for him!), and your parents get to decide which of those 2 states to move to when they retire. They have some time to decide which will be a better fit for the retirement lifestyle they envision for themselves. Then, you will all be split between 2 locations, not 3, and travel (& costs) will be significantly reduced for all of you, and it will be easier to get together more frequently, since you’re not trying to coordinate across three different places.

        1. Nita*

          These are all great options! I really sympathize with everyone here. My mom and my uncle ended up living in different countries, and my mom’s parents lived with my parents (or pretty much next door) for the rest of their life. It’s really hard that my uncle’s family couldn’t be with them a lot – once a year, at best, and they never even met their grandkids on that side of the family (though they Skyped a lot). But everyone chose where they would live for a reason, and we all just had to make the best of this difficult situation. It’s not perfect, but I guess it was good-enough. Thankfully different states are not as far as different countries, and I hope that OP and her family will end up finding something that will work well enough for everyone.

          1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

            Similar. My dad moved here from another country. He went back a couple times. Two of the six of us went to visit as kids. His parents came for one year before two of us were born.
            But the six of us have all stayed in the same zip code for the last thirty years.
            Now the next generation is in all different states/countries!

        2. diehardfan*

          I agree. Unless your brother or husband are actually wanting to change jobs or can do their work remotely, it’s not fair to ask them to make that sacrifice. Additionally, if your parents are set on staying, maybe they could buy a second house and split their time between the two, renting out the empty house if possible. My husband and I have lived on the opposite side of the country from our families and friends for most of our adult lives. Although we are emotionally close with them and it sucks to be so far away, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love our lives…and FaceTime is a valuable resource!

      4. blackcat*

        Yup, this is what I was going to suggest. Buy a house that makes it possible for your parents (and brother) to come for long visits.

      5. Hydrangea McDuff*

        This is basically what my family is considering. My folks have been established in their home city for 40 years with friends and support networks in place, but I know they’d love to make longer visits if it were more comfortable for them. (Our guest space is great for a couple of days but not a couple Of weeks.) My in-laws are snowbirding to the Southwest. Having a suite or ADU (attaches dwelling unit) in our home would be ideal.

        We’re on the other end of the kids at home spectrum as both of ours will be in high school next year and in 4 years we’ll be empty nesting. We made as much effort as we could the past 17 years for our folks to spend as much time with us as possible … but realistically with our jobs and school it was about 4-6 times a year. FaceTime helps a lot.

        I did envy my friends with family in town, but our kids love and have great relationships with their grandparents and aunts and uncles, so I guess we did something right!

        I would personally not advise sacrificing work satisfaction or opportunities. There are lots of ways to stay connected with the people you love.

        1. CatLadyInTraining*

          My grandma who I was very close to, didn’t live nearby, but she and I had a great relationship! Luckily, she and my grandpa were able to visit frequently and they also paid for my mom and I to fly up. We also talked on the phone a lot as well. She died a few years ago when I was 28. I was also close to my grandparents that lived locally, but they both passed away when I was young. You don’t have to live close to be close emotionally. I know people who live in the same town as their families and they hardly see each other and they really aren’t very tight knit…so it really varies.

      6. Third or Nothing!*

        This is exactly what I would like to do one day when we finally have enough saved to get a house. By then my mom will be retired and can spend a week or two with us instead of just the weekend. And it will be much more feasible for her to stay that long if she has her own space separate from the rest of us. What can I say, we’re both introverts. :)

    2. Celeste*

      Option 2 is the most practical suggestion and minimizes the job survival issues. The parents would have to move out of where they are now at some point, and this way they’re going “to” a better destination–Grandparent City. It’s hard to part with their friends, but those change radically in the later years because of illness and death. It sounds like they’d still be young enough to make a new life in retirement, which is very common.

    3. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      Moving mom and dad to you is not the best idea. Isolating seniors from their community, social network, regular doctors, etc., has a tangible negative effect on their health outcomes. Even if they are younger, healthier, and make new friends easily.

      1. JJ*

        This is my worry as well. It is HARD to move to a new place, my parents are weighing this as well and I really want them to just downsize their living situation and rent two modest places, one where they live and one with me. If you parents have a house to sell, it might be totally feasible to get two cheaper apartments/condos. Also there’s AirBNB they could do!

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          I know a lot of retirees who RV – one couple does summers in Alaska, spring / fall in Missouri, winter in FL.

          1. Turquoisecow*

            You can really only do that for so long before health issues and such make the mobile lifestyle difficult. My sister’s ex-boyfriend’s parents did the drive around in an RV for several years, and they weren’t quite at retirement age, but even they eventually got tired of it and wanted a real house. As you get older and have more health issues, a tiny RV becomes harder to live in even if you’re not constantly traveling.

        2. JSPA*

          I also thought of AirBnB or sabbatical exchange; they can visit for an extended period and not lose track of friends / make new friends organically over multiple visits. This depends on pets and “things people count on them for,” of course.

          However, if OP is missing family closeness, and blaming physical separation for awareness of growing interpersonal distance…OP, you may be mis-ascribing to geography what’s actually the fairly normal drifting apart of people as their lives expose them to different things.

          It’s the “you can’t go home again” concept. Same bridge but a different river. You can’t re-assemble a nucleus after it has fissioned, without putting in a heck of a lot of energy. Pick your metaphor.

          It’s not so bad to grow up, not all be on the same page automatically, because you’ve been exposed to different parts of life, and learn to treasure each other as you would a great new friend; not because everything is understood, but because there’s always something new to see from the other’s eyes.

          If that could be part of the urge to re-assemble in physical space, it may make more sense to carve out longer-than-usual shared holiday time.

          “New baby needs family support network” is a temporary situation, not a reason for everyone to upend their lives permanently; it’s also something that may well leave you feeling like wherever you are is your “family core.”

      2. Jennifer*

        I get that but moving the OP, her husband, and brother to a place where none of them can find work isn’t doable. Someone is going to have to give up something if they are serious about making this work.

        I think the suggestion of having them come and stay in a MIL suite for long visits over the next few years is a good idea. They can make new friends, adjust to the city and really decide if moving is something they want to do.

      3. Lucia*

        They are in their early 60s! They are not “seniors.” Also, OP is not moving them, they are making they choice.

        I find your comment truly, deeply offensive as someone whose husband is 60 and who works with truly elderly clients. I don’t know your age, but this comes across as deeply ageist. Lumping in 60 year olds with those older is not ok. You seem to confuse being 80 and being 60.

        You would be correct if they are 80 or 90 and care about those social networks more than anything and LW was making a choice for them or pressuring them, but not at 60 if they want to move and are fully capable of making that choice..

        I have seen plenty of 60 year olds move for the better. I’m an elder law attorney. I’ve seen this first hand more times than I can even count.

        Also, the importance of networks v. Family is an entirely individual thing. My husband and I moved in the past 10 years. We have a much better support system in our new community than we did int he prior one. One he spent 50 years living in.

        Please, please check your ageism on this. Do not talk about 60 year olds as if they are frail 90 year olds unable of readjusting to a new life circumstance.

        1. Jennifer*

          Good point. Ultimately the parents are making this decision for themselves. They aren’t being kidnapped.

        2. ThatGirl*

          Generally, over 65 = senior citizen. 60 doesn’t feel as old as it used to, and I don’t believe any of this is intended to be derogatory, but if you’re retired and over 65 you probably qualify as a senior citizen.

          You’re right that these are all individual choices, and moves can be good things – my dad and his wife moved back to her hometown and it was a very good choice for her, and he’s adapted well. I’m sure the LW will consider her own family dynamics when it comes to making suggestions or decisions, but that doesn’t mean she and others in similar situations can’t keep these things in mind.

        3. Jackalope*

          The term “senior” in my state refers to someone 60 and above so is a perfectly appropriate term in this situation. And many in their 60s are healthy and able to care for themselves, travel, take care of all of their social needs (get themselves to events and friends’ houses, etc.), but there are many others who can’t. My personal experience is that while someone can have a debilitating disability at any age, the likelihood increases significantly in one’s late 50s and goes up from there. It may not be an issue for the OP but it’s still something to take into consideration. People don’t recover as quickly at 60 than at younger ages and one bad health diagnosis or accident could make a big difference in their long-term happiness and well-being.

        4. GreyjoyGardens*

          My grandma moved for my mom and uncle when she was in her early 60s and could take early retirement. She found a church that was the same denomination as her old church and that was a ready-made social group for her. Plus she had a lot of other interests (she’s one of the very few people I knew who could make African Violets keep blooming!) to keep her occupied.

          I agree that “young oldsters” are perfectly adaptable, and often thrive in a new environment. I think it does help a lot to be churchgoers (or synagogue or mosque) and that can provide a ready-made social circle.

        5. WellRed*

          Well Lucia, you’d be horrified to know that women over a certain age in their 30s who get pregnant are elderly in that sense.

          Senior has a legal definition. You don’t have to like it, but don’t look for offense where there is none.

          1. Janon*

            Yes. It is 34-35 and they call you geriatric and it’s a terrible word to hear at this age but I suppose I’ve been called worst before! haha

        6. Senor Montoya*

          Mmm, I think instead they are all thinking ahead — easier to make these decisions now, while everyone has enough time to reflect and try out different options, than when the parents *are* genuinely elderly and/or in poor health. It’s smart to talk about it now. Because later the choices may be fewer, or harder.

          I agree, 60 is not old (I hope not, I’m turning 60 this year!), but my husband and I are already thinking about retirement. And we do have older parents (80s for mine, 90 for his), and really wish we lived only a couple hours away by plane, rather than 5 -6 (for mine, nonstop flights) or 10 for my MIL (no nonstops plus a 2 -3 hours drive from the airport).

          When my MIL and FIL retired in their late 60s, they moved from the city they had lived and worked in for almost 40 years. They thought ahead and picked a place with a good health care system (which wasn’t a big issue when they first moved, but became significant in their 80s) and a good fit for their interests and activities. They had time to make a new friend group and support system, one that included people of all ages, so while many of their cohort have died or moved, they still had friends and social opportunities.

          So I do think the OP and family are being smart about thinking about this and talking about this *now*.

          1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

            You’re so right about the importance of thinking ahead! My grandparents are now approaching 80 and experiencing severe health issues, but their children (and grandchildren) live two states away. They refused to think ahead when they were in their 60s and 70s, so now the entire family is scrambling to figure out how to support them now while they’re relatively secure living alone, and what to do in the very near future when they won’t be able to. 60 is not ancient and decrepit but it is the time to plan ahead for a future in which one has very different mobility and health needs.

            1. GreyjoyGardens*

              I’m only in my 50’s and I’m already thinking ahead to “what about when I get 20 years older” because I *don’t* have kids or close family. One thing I’ve been talking about with a friend is selling my bigger, ranch house (which I don’t want to have to maintain as I get older) and her smaller one, and moving to a lower-cost area, going in on a condo together and being Golden Girls. Obviously, a lot can change in 20 years, but I’d rather at least consider my options NOW at my leisure rather than having to do so in a huge rush under less than ideal conditions.

              1. Rabbit Rabbit*

                I’m also “only” in my 50s and am thinking ahead because we have 1 child and don’t want our poor planning to fall on his shoulders. I think you are smart!

        7. That Girl from Quinn's House*

          Check my ageism? I’m a senior fitness instructor, I spent most of my career working with seniors, who we consider to be 50+ (the cutoff for AARP membership.) I know what I’m talking about.

          So maybe YOU need to check YOUR self.

          1. CatLadyInTraining*

            Anyone over 50 or 55 is a senior…but they’re not necessarily elderly. All elderly people are seniors, not all seniors are elderly.

            Lets all calm down!

        8. Aurion*

          The government threshold for senior citizen is usually their 60s (65 where I am) so “senior” is a perfectly apt term. Seniors also vary wildly in their capabilities. For example, my parents (both in their 60s) have chronic pain issues and get exhausted easily, though are functional day-to-day; they also have language barriers and cultural barriers and don’t socialize much. My parents would fare very poorly in a big move to a new city, from finding a new doctor that speaks their language to decent restaurants serving food they like.

          Different people are different, and I think it’s smart for OP to be considering this from all angles (even though there’s no easy answer).

        9. 2 cents*

          “truly, deeply offensive” is reserved on the internet for things that are…well, really truly & deeply offensive. this wasn’t it.

        10. Joielle*

          I mean, 60s is “senior” by many reasonable and widely-used definitions. They’re approaching retirement and making plans for care and support in the latter years of their lives. That’s a smart thing to do!

        11. Rabbit Rabbit*

          Where I live, senior housing is age 55+ so early 60s is “senior.”
          And as others point out, by your 50s and 60s you are likely planning for your retirement life and what to do when you become less mobile.

          1. CatLadyInTraining*

            Yes, my parents live in a community that is 55 and older. And it’s considered a “retirement” or “active senior” community.

      4. JKP*

        Their senior community may not last long. As my parents neared retirement, all the friends they had their age all moved away as they retired. There was no one left by the time they reached retirement. Everyone their age had scattered across the country to move closer to the grandkids.

      5. Daffy Duck*

        There are downsides no matter what. I would suggest increasing the retired parents social circle to include other cities.
        I really like the idea of building an RV pad/inlaw suite so the parents can visit often/long now while they are able to travel on their own/flexible. If they want to move later it would be less scary as they have spent time in the area. Also, they may have a number of their friends who travel significantly, so it isn’t a big social jump.
        Having three adults give up excellent jobs to live closer to retired parents…is a pretty hard choice to make. There is never any guarantee any job will last, but a significant step down in pay can have major impacts on future earnings/ options for the future grandchildren (college savings, etc.). It may be the difference between the LW spending time with her parents now and having sufficient retirement savings for herself.

      6. Washi*

        The thing is, you never know what aging can bring. All the friends in the world can’t make up for having a family member physically there to accompany someone to doctor’s appointments and coordinate care. (I mean maybe there’s a rare friend that wants to take all that on, but it seems unlikely). Of course, not every elderly person needs that, but as someone who works with seniors, it is 10x harder on the children/relatives to manage those situations from a distance.

        If the parents are willing to move, better to do it now in their 60s when they can make these decisions while healthy and clear minded, and are still able to make new friends and get involved. A move will suddenly get a million times harder if they get to age 85, one parent has dementia and suddenly you’re trying to move a disoriented senior and their (probably) frail partner.

        1. Senor Montoya*

          +1000. We are deeply grateful that my MIL lives in a neighborhood where the younger folks (20s to 60s) help her out as needed. In fact, the last time we were out for a visit, her nearest neighbor invited us to lunch to make sure we knew we could call on her any time, and who promised to keep us in the loop if anything terrible happened. It’s a real relief. Not everyone lives in a neighborhood like that…

    4. Hummer on the Hill*

      Well, as a 67-year-old, let me add that “parents in their 60s” are a looooonnnnggg way from slowing down and needing in-laws quarters. You have a major life change coming eventually, do nothing else. See how life rolls out. Your folks might decide they want to move closer to you at some point and then you can all put your heads together and decide what’s best. What you and your hubs have going right now sounds ideal, and I don’t think you should abandon it without seeing how life with a toddler truly is.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yeah, moving and changing jobs when they plan to become parents in the next year doesn’t seem like the best idea.

        I never thought of an in-law suite as an implication that someone is too old and feeble to do things for themselves. It’s just an apartment-like space so people can have their own area in the house just for them and feel comfortable visiting for longer stretches.

          1. Jennifer*

            Exactly! You can eat what you want, go to bed when you’re ready (or stay up!) and not have to adjust your schedule around someone else’s. You have the added bonus of family right upstairs if you need them.

        1. GreyjoyGardens*

          An in-law suite is great for giving live-in relatives some privacy and autonomy while keeping them close by. I know a woman who converted her garage into a studio for her elderly dad. Both of them liked having the autonomy, Dad could have a cat and not have Daughter’s cats beat her up, they could each have the meals they liked, and Dad could have his retired buddies over to watch the Red Sox without feeling he was imposing on his daughter’s hospitality.

          Later, Dad had to go into assisted living and Daughter rented out the in-law apartment to a grad student. Dad is now dead but Daughter, as far as I know, just keeps renting out the apartment to grad students (they are ideal quiet tenants). So an in-law apartment can eventually be a rental if and when the parents get too old to live there.

        2. Third or Nothing!*

          Yeah I’d like to have one so my friends and family feel comfortable coming to visit as often as they want! Having a spare bedroom and bathroom just for guests has been such a game changer for being able to extend hospitality. It would be so awesome if we had a separate slightly larger space so my friends with kids could come stay with us from time to time, and my mom could spend more than a few days with us once she retires.

      2. Annony*

        I did not mean to imply that they would have to move in with the OP! In-law suites are very comfortable for long visits since they give much more privacy and independence than a guest room. The OP said that no one in her family could afford multiple residences, so I was suggesting an alternative to that which would allow the grandparents to have extended visits without giving up their home.

        1. CatLadyInTraining*

          Lennar has these next gen homes which can be built with an in law suite. It has a bedroom, small kitchen, and seating area. There is one of these communities being built near my parents home. Not all the floorplans available have the in law suite..

      3. Dust Bunny*

        I don’t think anyone meant in-law quarters as in “assistance”; I think they just meant comfortable place for a long-term stay. More spacious and with more autonomy than just a guest room. (Also, brothers- and sisters-in-law and sons- and daughters-in-law are also in-laws, who are your age-ish or younger but might also use an in-law apartment/guest house.)

    5. SD*

      I am looking at this from the perspective of the parents. My husband and I moved from one end of our state to the kids’ end, a 9-hr drive. We’d lived in the same house for 40+ years so this was a big move, but the call of family is strong. I think our daughter had visions of them supporting her doddery old parents, but guess what? We aren’t doddery and most of the help flows the other direction at this point. We are there to provide child care care when she has to travel out of town for work, a common occurrence. We are there when she is too ill to function for a week – think flu. Sometimes the kids have to be in two different places at the same time: she takes the orthodontist and I take the ballet lesson. It all works and we have never regretted moving…except the old house was close enough to the ocean to take beach walks after dinner. *sigh* Our #2 child lives about 1.5 hrs from here and #3 lives on the other coast. Like LW’s brother the faux sea captain, our #3 has a job that only exists where he lives. We’ve never regretted our move, even though we also had friends there (still do) and established lives. Now we have new established lives. It’s good.

      In this case, I think the most reasonable solution is the parents moving to the LW’s city and brother visits as he can or until he changes occupations.

      1. Jennifer*

        Yeah, I thought the same thing. Parents need childcare sometimes and it’s super expensive so there’s nothing nefarious about that line of thinking, but I think that the OP should consider that for a while her parents are going to helping her instead of the other way around.

        1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

          Or perhaps both ways. 65 is much older for some people than others… my father’s two years older than his brother, at 70, but moves like he’s 10 years older.
          My parents still provide child care for us, but we also come and do maintenance they can’t. My sister snow-blows for them, they drive her places because her medical condition prohibits driving. Basically, we pool our capacity.
          But I think the parents really need to drive this decision for themselves. It doesn’t make sense for either child to move right now… so what do the parents envision themselves doing in retirement? Is travel and visits the right option for a few years and then they maybe settle down near one child or the other when they want stability? Or do they want a community and ties and want to be close enough to have daily or weekly family interactions? Does their vision of what “living close” would look like on a daily basis match their kids’?

          1. CatLadyInTraining*

            My aunt’s mother currently lives alone in New Jersey in the house that my aunt and sister grew up in. They also owned a beach house at the shore, that she spends summers at. She is thinking of moving into a retirement home, since she is getting older and has had some health issues recently. My aunt lives in Nevada and her sister lives in Atlanta. Their mother is already on the waiting list for a retirement home near her daughter in Atlanta. There just weren’t as many options in Nevada. Sometimes you have to choose who you live near based on what is available.

    6. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      My husband and I are expecting our first child this summer and thought about asking his mom to move in with us (which she would do in a heartbeat to be closer to the grandbaby), but our sticking point was making her uproot her entire life. She’s not a great driver and we live in a fairly rural area next to a majorly congested area, so she’d have to drive long distances through traffic to get anywhere. She doesn’t make friends easily and there’s not a strong senior community where we are (that we know of, at least). It just didn’t seem fair or like it would end well to ask her to leave the place where she grew up and raised her family, move somewhere strange and more expensive, and unlikely to end up happier than staying where she was and having yearly extended visits.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        Driving is a biggie! Night vision, especially, deteriorates as one gets older – my fiftysomething friends and I talk about it all the time and are starting to limit doing things like driving at night on freeways or in poorly lit (rural) areas. I have a friend who is deeply considering selling her house and moving (luckily she doesn’t have to move far away) because her area, while gorgeous in the daytime, is hard to drive in at night because the roads are so twisty and poorly lit. (And there are many younger people who would hate to have to drive long distances through traffic to get anywhere!)

      2. CatLadyInTraining*

        Good point! My dad’s sister really wanted to move to be close to her son, her DIL, and her granddaughter. But, her son, my cousin, is in the military. They move about every two years and they sometimes move to areas my aunt wouldn’t really want to live in. It wouldn’t make sense for her to follow them around the country and the world (they just got back from two years in Japan) and the military does change things at the last minute. Sometimes, living in the same place is not always feasible. Luckily, my cousin lives an hour away from my aunt right now!

  6. A Teacher*

    My family actually did this on a smaller scale. My sister is a nurse and moved to a medium sized city with a Level 1 Trauma center since she was a nurse and wanted to be an ED nurse in that setting and got hired. When I decided to switch careers (athletic training to teaching), I applied for jobs in that area and eventually found one. I still work PRN as an athletic trainer. My sister found my dad a part time job when he retired and he would stay with her on days he worked and commute back to our hometown. When my mom retired 3 years later, they decided to relocate to where my sister and I had bought homes. My mom said its hard not knowing as many people as she used to but she’s become active in an activity that we both like to be involved in (animal rescue) and has had her dogs certified as therapy dogs so she stays busy. When I adopted my daughter, it was nice to have them around for support. We figured out what would work best for each of us and it all kind of eventually fell into place.

    1. Dragoning*

      Much of my extended family has slowly moved out of the state we were all raised and born in and relocated to the same other state—my nuclear family is the last hold out, and none of us want to go. They keep trying to tempt my dad with job opportunities that

      -are way below his experience level
      -pay nowhere near as much
      -are in the wrong field.

    2. CupcakeCounter*

      My family did this as well.
      I moved to new city after Hubs and I got married – he was the first to find the “real” job so we moved to that location. A few years down the road, my mom and dad ended up relocating. Two years after that, along came my sister. My cousin met and married a guy from the next town over so they moved here. When she had a baby, my other cousin (her sister) moved here to be their live-in nanny. Shortly after that, she met and married her husband who was a local. My aunt and uncle retired and figured they should move to where their kids and grandkids were.

  7. Daniel*

    Everyone has to move to an entirely different city (where they haven’t lived before) and get all new jobs and all new friends. Those are the rules. (Or maybe the only “fair” way.)

      1. Daniel*

        I was definitely being sarcastic to make a point. Someone is going to have to compromise – that’s really the only way to solve this problem.

    1. Working Mom*

      I thought about this too. What if each family sat down and made a list of all the places they wouldn’t mind moving to. Could be all over the country – nothing is outrageous. Then, share your lists via email and you guys can all view each others lists and see if there is one place that you all have in common!

      It could be a fun exercise that goes nowhere, but you never know. When I was younger I would always daydream about moving to a totally new place – either the Carolinas, or Idaho or Montana, someplace really beautiful. But I knew I’d never do it because of family/friends. But what if you all could do it together? How fun would that be?!

      1. Daniel*

        I like this idea!

        I’d also say not everyone needs to be in the same city. There are plenty of places that are reasonably located. Like areas in the Midwest that have a few big cities within a short drive or train ride (Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, Indiana, etc.).

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yes! When I moved back to the midwest from Seattle, my location decision was based on finding somewhere that I already had at least a couple of friends living, a reasonable COL, proximity to a large hospital system (for working purposes), and both close enough to my family of origin to make driving either way for a weekend visit reasonable, and far enough away that my brother and his wife would not just turn up on my doorstep with a last-minute babysitting request (because I do not babysit).

          I now live on the northern border of Indianapolis and my parents live three hours straight up I-69 in my hometown in Michigan, like there are exactly three turns between my subdivision and theirs. (One turn on my end, three hours of highway driving, two turns on their end.) And when they travel (because they are retired and travel a lot), rather than drive 90 minutes and pay for parking at the Detroit airport, they drive three hours down here, leave their car at my house and travel out of the Indy airport, with bonus overnight visiting on either end.

          1. Daniel*

            Yes! I neglected the Michigan cities – Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Ann Arbor. Lots of good options in the Midwest with good cost of living. St. Louis and KC also worth looking into.

            But in the end someone will end up compromising on something.

        2. CatLadyInTraining*

          Exactly! Plus not everyone has the same tastes. Younger family members may want a city with a fun nightlife and lots of activities and a hip scene. Whereas the retirees want something quieter. And vise-versa, the kids may like the country life and the retirees want arts and culture in a city.

      2. User 483*

        That’s what I thought too – at least to try and use it as a starting point.
        Like if the OP is in New Mexico and the parents are in Ohio and the brother is in the Florida Keys. You can’t be a sea captain in NM or OH, but you could be one in Hawaii.

      3. LPUK*

        My aunt and cousin have just done this. Moved from separate houses about 2-3 hours away from each other outside London, to a small but lively town on the Welsh borders ( that hosts an international book fair) , bought a larger house together and converted it into 2 separate quarters with additional space to run B&B. So far, with months in, they seem to be having a blast!

    2. Emmie*

      OP and her brother know what it’s like to establish themselves in a new community. Make sure you like the city before moving there, or setting down roots. One of you may move, and not like it at all.

    3. Pessimistic Bob*

      I know Daniel is being tongue-in-cheek, but I think anything else is going to harbor resentment.

      What happens if someone needs or wants to move again?

      What happens if everyone moves to your city, and your husband’s dream job ends up requiring a relocation to elsewhere? “Well, he can’t.”

      I ended up living fairly close to my sister. When my parents retired, they moved to the large city where we both lived. We ended up moving to a much smaller city for my wife’s job. We wanted to get away from the traffic, and we moved to the best intersection of available jobs/better & cheaper place to raise a family.

      This happened to friends of ours. What happens if the state starts passing anti-LGBT laws and then your child comes out to you? Our friends grew up and were life-long, dyed in the wool Republicans, and lived in a deep red state. Until the day they realized they needed to leave Dodge for the protection of their child.

      1. Annony*

        I do think that that is a big thing to consider. Don’t make a choice that you will regret if someone else changes their mind.

      2. Not in US*

        For us – this is part of the conversation we had. Before my parents moved (and it was their choice and they were the ones that talked about it first starting about 5 years ago and they moved last fall) they were very clear that if they moved, they expected we would not move for work. We agreed to that. We had multiple conversations, the 4 of us, my husband and I, etc.

        Luckily I don’t need to worry about any anti-LGBT laws in my country but I could definitely see moving if that were the case and I think my parents would move with us for that reason.

      3. Daniel*

        Great points. There are just too many variables.

        This is why it could be best to “diversify” over several nearby cities. Gives you flexibility depending on how things change over time. My examples are all Midwest, but there are other areas, too. A few cities in Texas. Places on the East Coast.

  8. Jim Bob*

    I’m interested to see what other commenters come up with, but I’m hard-pressed to see a solution with the two unique job situations. I know if I’m the husband with a one-of-a-kind “dream job,” I’m not going to give that up to be closer to the in-laws.

    1. Disco Janet*

      I agree; to me, this is a situation of ‘you can’t eat your cake and have it too.’ OP’s husband and brother both have dream jobs they don’t want to give up, and those jobs require living in different parts of the country. I don’t see how it’s feasible to make that work, and there is definitely a chance that the husband or brother would end up resenting the family if this happens.

      The best option I can think of is the parents moving to OP, and then the brother flies in for visits. If he’s single and you’re all willing to chip in, tickets shouldn’t be too expensive. Instead of moving and sacrificing your dream job, you could cut everyday non-necessities. Cable, expensive coffee habit, etc.

      1. Working Mom*

        You never know though. While dream jobs do exist – it’s a matter of priorities. Maybe being closer to family is more important than a dream job in this case. Maybe it’s not – you never know!

        1. Senor Montoya*

          It’s a decision that can affect their lives for the next 50 years or more (working, putting kids through college, their own retirement).

      2. FindThisVeryInteresting*

        I agree with you. I know the letter writer has the best of intentions, but the scenario laid out above is going to have winners and losers. There really isn’t a specific set of factors to weigh. Each person needs to make their non-negotiables clear and any solution would have to factor that in. In general, the plan to live together is going to take major sacrifice from at least 2 of the three parties (her/husband, the parents, the brother). If everyone doesn’t get more from the sacrifice of moving closer than they are losing for it, this isn’t going to end well.

        It’s a bit telling that the LW didn’t say her husband also really wants to be close to her parents. Maybe he shares her priorities, but if a job is truly a dream job, then that has to be a big part of the decision. Especially when it’s a dream job – we spend 8+ a day at our jobs, attach at least part of our self-identity to it, make deep connections professionally. (Says someone with a dream job)

      3. Ladybird*

        I agree with this. If two sets of people have specific location requirements, in order for everyone to be together one will have to sacrifice their job and could potentially come to resent the family. I really like the idea of parents moving to one location, and the whole family chipping in to make visits possible for the one who is in a different city.

        If you DO go this route, I would like to stress that it is important for visits to go both ways! I live ~10 hour drive from hometown and hardly any of my family comes to visit me, but they always complain that they don’t see me enough and I should come home more. Roads and planes go both ways.

      4. Giant Squid*

        I would make sure all participants are fully on board. A lot of families talk about moving to be closer, but would brother or parents for that matter actually be willing to move? You don’t want to be too presumptuous, nobody is under an obligation to move.

        1. Annony*

          Yep. It could be that everyone is thinking it would be nice for their family to move to them and is not at all considering moving themselves.

        2. Ana Gram*

          Definitely agree that a conversation is in order. I’d love to live close to my sister but I won’t move to where she lives and she can’t move to me (custody issues) so, as much as we talk about how fun it would be, no one should make plans as though it’s definitely going to happen.

      5. Rusty Shackelford*

        I don’t see how it’s feasible to make that work, and there is definitely a chance that the husband or brother would end up resenting the family if this happens.

        And the brother would at least be moving closer to his own family if he was the one who had to be uprooted. The husband, on the other hand… I think there could potentially be a *lot* of resentment. I think, given the circumstances of the brother and the husband, that this particular scenario is not a good choice.

    2. Lilo*

      I’m one of several kids, as is my spouse and our parents both live in different locations. It’s just completely impossible for me but I definitely wouldn’t give up my job (which I love) to live near them. I call and Skype them regularly.

    3. R*

      ehhhh….you might if it meant your kid has a close relationship with their grandparents, and you are financially better off because you can enjoy free child care.

      1. Senor Montoya*

        That depends on your job. Free child care would have been nice when our son was little, but it would have been hard for that to make up for a cut in my or my husband’s salary.

        Also, one can’t assume that grandparents will want to do childcare all day, every day. For many people, that’s not retirement, that’s a job.

        1. CatLadyInTraining*

          Yes, very true. Most people I know with kids, the grandparents helped out maybe a couple of times a week or when something came up. I only know a few people where the grandparents did childcare all day everyday…grandparents doing full time childcare seems to be the exception not the rule…

      2. Jim Bob*

        Maybe some people would, but I’d wager they are few and far between. If the grandparents want a close relationship, they can make the effort themselves rather than expect me to give up my career.

    4. CupcakeCounter*

      So correct on that point. My husband by no means has his dream job but when my parents ended up moving to our city and buying a house less than 2 miles away (less than 5 minute drive), he started looking at jobs in Australia (we are in the US).
      Not actually joking either – had an interview and everything and the timing was as ideal as it could be to make that kind of move. We didn’t go but we did end up buying property and building a house about 20 minutes from them within a couple of years.

    5. Mags*

      And what about the husband’s family? Is he estranged/orphaned? If not at some point his parents care and health will have to be factored in too.

  9. JokeyJules*

    get a family credit card with the best flight miles rewards? I truly have no idea.

    Are you and your husband able to find similar work in your parents or brothers state? He definitely can’t move unless he wants to change careers. Is there a feasible half-way point between the parents and the brother that you guy could put roots down? I’d like to think your parents would have the easiest time moving career-wise since they’re retiring, but they’d be leaving behind somewhere they’ve been for such a long time. Some people thrive doing that though! my grandparents moved to a new state at 65, and they both agreed that the whole lifestyle change of the new house and new state helped them with the transition from working into retirement. but that’s just them and not OP’s parents.

    1. Mr. Shark*

      That’s what I was thinking. Move somewhere in between where the parents live and brother lives. Maybe that would be varied enough to give LW and husband a chance to find their dream job, and they would only be a much shorter distance away. Parents would still be close enough to go back to their home and visit friends, but would have a chance to meet new friends in new location.

  10. bubbleon*

    Your husband and brother both have unicorn dream jobs, is either going to end up resenting the rest of the family if they get picked to be the one that moves?

    1. JokeyJules*

      but can the husband possibly do his dream job in another state? or remote? the brother definitely cant. there are no sea captains in Kansas or Wyoming, there could be “Husband’s dream job”

      1. Jim Bob*

        I feel like the husband should actually be asked to give up the least here, since he’s gaining the least; his reward is living close to the in-laws vs. his own family. That indicates to me the others need to move to them.

        1. straws*

          This is possibly true, but possibly not. My husband strongly prefers my family to his own. He may be gaining quite a bit, depending on their relationship and factoring the potential childcare from having grandparents nearby.

          1. Again With Feeling*

            Agreed. We shouldn’t assume that it’s neutral or negative for the husband to be closer to his in-laws. We moved to be closer to my family and further from my husband’s – it was a joint decision, and we mutually agreed that this was the better arrangement.

      2. bubbleon*

        “husband would have to leave this dream job if we moved” so remote isn’t an option. Sounds like LW is already trying to make the case for staying in her current city so who knows if they’ve looked into the possibility of getting a similar one somewhere else.

      3. CatLadyInTraining*

        Maybe he could do it remotely, but maybe he doesn’t want to move. Also, some people may like going into the office everyday

  11. she's a killer queen*

    From my own family issue perspective, if your elderly parents want to move to be close to you or your brother, I highly recommend it. They don’t have work concerns and while I am very sympathetic to the issues of leaving friends and support behind, they’ll be going to more support. What happens if someone needs to go into assisted living or a nursing home? It’s better for that to happen near you than away from you. And once someone is in a nursing home, it is so very hard to move them to another one (ask me how I know). Plus, even if they don’t need in-home care, if it’s hard for them to travel, it’s just generally easier if you’re already close by.

    As for the dream job and the brother, well, from my perspective, there’s no reason this has to be done now. Can your husband transition to a different dream job? Your brother sounds like the most locked into location, but what happens if he loses the job? If his area of expertise something that can flex (like if he’s a sea captain, can he do river boats too?), or is he locked completely into that area for good? Because if so, and you want to be close together, that’s the sticking point. The rest of you can move and still work; he can’t.

    But if he can, what about a 5 year transition plan? “If we still want to move in 3 years and there’s no movement on getting a new job, we will spend the next 2 years doing X.”

    Also, cost of living is a huge deal. Who lives in the cheapest place? That’s not the only thing, because jobs do not always correlate with cheap cost of living, but it sounds like flexibility levels are: 1) your parents (easiest), 2) you and your husband (a little hard, and will become much harder once there’s a kid you have to move), and 3) your brother. You say your brother wants to be close once you have a kid; what sacrifices does he want to make? Is he willing to change jobs for that? What’s your family discussions about this like?

    1. Facepalm*

      Also, OP doesn’t say whether her brother is or hopes to be married/partnered or has or wants to have children. If he leaves his dream job to move near family, and then finds a spouse/partner who wants to be close to *their* family once children are in the picture, that could throw a wrench in the plans. I think it doesn’t make sense for 3 sets of people to uproot their whole lives and give up dream careers all at once.

      1. MsM*

        That’s a really good point. Or if someone gets a serious illness and the best treatment center is somewhere else entirely, all these plans get upended anyway. Putting a priority on lots of vacation time and living arrangements that make it easy for people to come and visit seems like the most practical option.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      I agree with this. If the parental units are retired, it is far better for them to sell their home/downsize and move closer to one of their adult children and live independently in a smaller condo or apartment (hopefully with a tidy profit on the sale of their home). Why? Well for all the reasons above! They now have more flexibility than you do as a working adult in the middle of your career.

      Unless your parents live in an area where you and your husband can find jobs and/or you have a remote job (which is a growing trend depending on what you do).

    3. Smithy*

      This is really good feedback – but I also want to flag that for the parents, having them move when they’re retired but still mobile and active affords them time to be engaged in individual hobbies, activities and make new friends. When my grandparents had to move into assisted living near my aunt due to health reasons, it was at a point of their abilities where they were highly limited and found it far more demoralizing to be have their socializing similarly limited.

      I also think that cost of living is a huge factor to consider in this decision. In addition to the amount of physical space that affords (being able to have extra rooms for the brother to stay or for her parents to invite friends to stay with them who they are leaving behind), being mindful of the space that does afford some extra money can be significant. Not to belittle how much plane tickets can cost and how miserable flying can be – but if it’s only the brother flying to visit, if that’s viewed as “family expense” then being able to save a few hundred dollars a month and having a lovely guest room makes a big difference.

      Lastly – as someone who’s moved a bunch as an adult – it’s really stressful. You can have wonderful pieces of support in place, but it’s still there. New jobs are difficult. Making new friends as an adult can be really difficult. So while family can be a huge draw, there really does need to be an individual commitment and motivation. If the OP’s parents are really down on making this kind of move to support their daughter’s growing family – then focus on that separate from the brother. If the OP and her husband are open to trying to make a move to brother’s city – focus on what that would mean for them without also thinking of their parents.

      There is likely no magic bullet move where this happens in a way where everyone is inconvenienced the same or has the same transition to make. Someone will give up more, someone will give up less. And because of that, there needs to be a lot of buy in and so focusing on smaller moves at a time can give those struggling the most additional support.

    1. ACDC*

      This was my thought too. We only have one perspective here and it seems like no one in the family (OP, husband, mom, dad, brother) wants to move from their current location. At least one person is going to be disappointed no matter the final decision.

    2. Wrenchintheworks*

      I agree. So far, this is all about your family. What about hubs? What does he want? Does he want to be that close with his in-laws? Is he down for leaving his dream job to be closer to your family? Maybe he’s happy with things just the way they are.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        I know, *in my own family*, my dad was closer to my maternal grandmother than he was to his own parents, and he was absolutely estranged from his brother. But more often, there is going to be a juggling act with two sets of grandparents.

        OP’s husband definitely deserves an equal say in the arrangements. We don’t know how close he is to his in-laws, or what his priorities are, but once you’re married, you have two, not one, equal priorities to consider as far as career and living arrangements are concerned.

    3. Disco Janet*

      This is a super important question. I would be super bitter about giving up my dream job to live closer to my in-laws.

        1. Disco Janet*

          And that’s okay for you. The ‘. . .’ seems to imply a sarcasm that I don’t quite understand – everyone has different feelings about their job and their in-laws. How OP’s husband feels is what matters here.

          1. Dragoning*

            I think it’s less sarcasm and more indicating “thinking about how I would feel….this is my conclusion.”

      1. Turquoisecow*

        I like my in-laws and my husband likes my parents. But I don’t think either of us would be interested in moving a great distance to be closer to either set.

        (In fact, we’re currently planning to move slightly farther away to establish more independence from them, so we’re clearly not the OP!)

        1. Ashloo*

          Same. I neither have a dream job nor in-laws I’d ever want to move closer to. There would have to be a massive financial / stability reason to do so. Since the question’s been asked, I assume (hope) OP’s husband likes their family and also wants a closer relationship.

        2. OneWomansOpinion*

          It’s making you actively angry to contemplate moving because of something extremely important to your spouse?

          1. Giant Squid*

            “Dream job” can have a lot of different meanings. Some industries and fields are very location dependent.

            I work in software, and live in a minor tech hub (Not Seattle or Silicon valley, think Austin Texas). My in-laws live in a state with a tough economy (think West-Virginia). I could find work, but it wouldn’t be doing what i do now–I could find somewhere to do smallscale corporate IT sure, but I would stagnate.

            In-law issues can be touchy. A lot of times if your spouse’s family is a lot closer, it’s easy to feel left out. I don’t want to jump on the letter writer, but I’m projecting my own situation onto her description (as are a lot of people). From that perspective, major life decisions are being made for me in a group discussion that I’m not a part of.

            Does that make more sense?

          2. The New Wanderer*

            In my personal case, I would be resentful if my husband pressed our family to move closer to his side of the family because I know for a fact he is not willing to move closer to my side of the family. And to be fair, the reverse is also true since a move in either direction would limit other family contact even more than current circumstances already have.

          3. Spreadsheets and Books*

            100% yes.

            My husband and I are from a moderately-sized city in the rust belt. His siblings aren’t in a position to move, so this would never be a “find a city that works for everyone” situation. I work in a finance field that quite simply isn’t a presence there. Moving to be closer to his family would mean giving up everything I have invested into myself since finishing my masters. We’ve already spent the last 8 years moving around for his med school and residency, forcing me to leave jobs and friends and places I liked; if he tried to convince me to leave I field and a career I love after to move to be back to his family after all of that? I’d be on another level of furious.

            And I’d be even angrier if he was writing into advice blogs, trying to navigate how to make this work, with little emphasis on my “dream job.

      2. Temperance*

        I just wouldn’t do that. I’d be giving up my dreams, and then my space and privacy , too? Hellll no.

    4. Hmmm*

      That was my thought. Focus on what’s best for the LW and husband as an immediate family unit long term. Parents and siblings are important but when you make that decision to be with someone forever you are choosing to be partners in providing the best life for each other, however that may look. Being employed in a place where you can obtain a new job if the current one doesn’t work out is incredibly important for your well being and for being able to provide for any future children. Plus, a child may not come as quickly as expected. If you move, sacrificing fulfilling careers and community, and a child doesn’t come for 5 or 10 years, how will you feel about your decision to move?

      Talk to your husband and figure out his sentiments. Does he think he would resent leaving his great job for an idea that might come a decade later? Also, what is his relationship like with your family? Are the personalities the type where occasional visits work but will clash if you live closer? When a child comes, what’s both of your expectations with regards to familial involvement? Does this clash with what your and his families of origin expect? What do both of you expect when it comes to career and child care? What models of family did you two grow up with? Did these models include two full-time working parents? Is it possible that you may choose to shelve this conversation and pick it up at a later time like when the hypothetical child is 3 or 4?

      I wish you and your husband the best of luck in this decision.

  12. annalisakarenina*

    This will be interesting because my sisters and I want to live in the same city eventually (with our parents). We’re all either still in college or early in our careers, but we’ve already started talking about it.

    1. MK*

      Arguably it is easier to accomplish this if you start planning before you get .ockwd down with career paths and partners.

      1. annalisakarenina*

        That is true. Two of us are pretty set in our career paths and of that portion, one has a long-term partner with a career.

        Of the other two, one is pursuing a PhD which will take her far for a bit and the other is still in college, so who knows where her career will lead? Obviously, she’s too young to make her decisions based on a hypothetical future. But when we cross that bridge, it’ll be interesting.

  13. AnonFish*

    I wonder consider tri state areas. My mom works for the gov so she’s based in D.C. living in VA, her sister got a job with an NGO in northern VA so she moved and now lives and works there (but for a law firm now), my moms other sister got a science research based job (and got three others as she moved around) and relocated to MD just outside of D.C.

    Since the area brought ample job opportunities my maternal grandparents moved down to the area. We’re all max an hour away from each other via car so not too bad. I know my example is pretty vague (for privacy reasons) and D.C. can be expensive but it offers the accessibility of a bigger central city (that bring jobs, leisure, etc with it) and three (if you count D.C.) states to live in. Plus D.C. is pretty diverse and you can find jobs in many different areas in D.C. and the surrounding states.

    1. Cee*

      NYC/ Westchester/Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey also work well for this. Every industry exists here (except like, cattle ranching )

    2. Sydney Ellen Wade*

      The mid-Atlantic region is a great idea. Eastern PA/NJ/DE/MD are, as you said, easily commutable and offer a variety of job options.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      The traffic in DC is murder, though, and childcare is both expensive and can be a competitive sport (waitlists from conception in some areas). We are getting the hell out of here as soon as we retire. I like the amenities, culture, job opportunities, diversity, etc., but my 15-mile commute takes an hour.

    4. Gidget*

      The big issue with DC Metro area is cost of living which can make it prohibitive for many people. I love living in this area, but it is definitely not an inexpensive place to live.

        1. CatLadyInTraining*

          Yes! The retirees I know who live in DC, tend to be fairly wealthy and money is not a consideration. That said, my friend whose parent’s are retired and live in DC left for warmer climates. They could afford to stay in DC, but wanted to move somewhere that is sunny and warm year around.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        This, too. A thousand square foot 3 br/2 bath house built in 1955 will set you back at least $600K+, and that’s IF you can get to it before an all-cash/no-contingency builders swoop in and build a $1M+ McMansion in its place. And I live in the ‘burbs – the prices in DC and Arlington make me weep.

  14. Minocho*

    This means understanding who will be giving up what, and what each of you hope to gain, and then having a clear understanding of where everyone has wiggle room.

    From my perspective, you already tried to build a career near your parents’ home, and were unable to do so. What is the market like for your career path near where they live? What is the market like for your spouse’s career path near where they live? And if one career had to be prioritized over the other, is there a clear winner? (for example, if one was likely to earn more, or especially passionate about or invested in their career choice, or one spouse had already decided they wanted to be a stay at home parent once children were in the picture, etc.)

    If the parents are retiring, do they prioritize their current friends over their childrens’ careers and the household wealth available to support their grandchildren? Or does this not matter because they are wealthy and plan to fund said grandchildrens’ lives? Do the parents have particularly close friends, or have a difficult time socially interacting such that if they move while young and vigorous in their early 60s, they will be unable to build a new network of friends? What are the advantages / disadvantages for retirees in locations being considered – low cost of living may fund a more luxurious retirement. Tax schemes (no income and high property? Income tax and lower property taxes? Sales tax rates? etc.) and local environment can make a big difference to quality of retirement life.

    I personally would decide that tanking career optionsduring the height of my career building years is a really big hit to take, and as long as the parents are reasonably able to build a social network, they should look at being willing to move. Maybe nobody is living in a place that allows career building and reasonable retirement quality of life, and everyone moves somewhere where all these needs can be better met at the same time, etc. But everyone is going to have different desire and preferences, and these kinds of decisions, by their nature, are going to be extremely personal.

    1. CoffeeLover*

      This. Everyone needs to lay out what they will and won’t give up to live in the same place as the family. Find the place that fits the bill even if that place is somewhere none of you live today. Maybe you can only get 2 out of 3 but maybe that’s okay.

      Also wanted to mention that timeline can also be a factor. For example, maybe you’re not willing to sacrifice career for the next X years, but could do it after that.

      I hope you figure this out. My family has scattered to the wind. I plan to move closer to my brother, but my parents will be on another continent. At least you’ve got a 2 hour flight between you and not a 12hour flight…

  15. Anonymous at a University*

    You don’t mention disabilities, but is that something that is in the equation or something to keep in mind for the future, for example, if your parents have conditions that could accelerate to disabilities? There would be no way for my family to do this, since my sister basically refuses to move anywhere that would take her kids out of the school district they’re in, but I’m disabled (unable to drive due to a vision impairment) and where she lives is so rural that it’s impossible to navigate without a car. If anyone in your family is in a similar situation, that’s definitely something to consider. My sister is, well, a bit selfish and has insisted that I would be able to do this and just hire Ubers, but a) there are places in that rural area you literally can’t call one and b) I would have to leave my job in another state with very low guarantee, due to my field, of getting another one, since there are no institutions of higher ed closer to that area than an hour and a half away.

    There are other factors in play as to why this would be impossible for my family- my brother has an extremely high-paying job he really likes, for example, and isn’t going to sacrifice it to move to an area where his industry doesn’t even exist or pull HIS kids out of THEIR school district- but it’s something to keep in mind before deciding that absolutely everyone must live together.

    1. Cookie Monster*

      Yes, also climate related things, like joint problems, seem to do better in places that aren’t horrendously cold

    2. GreyjoyGardens*

      Oh my, I have a friend who is in your situation – has a vision impairment, can’t drive – and living in a remote suburb about killed her soul (this was before Uber). She was stuck at home. What a difference it made when her husband got a job in a city with reasonable public transit, AND Uber/Lyft is available there. She has a job and a life of her own now.

      I drive, but I know that one day I won’t be able to, and “is there decent public transit and/or Lyft available?” is a question I ask myself when I think about where I might want to live in my 60’s and beyond.

      1. Anonymous at a University*

        I live in an area now that’s not the largest but has reasonable public transportation and where I can get to a larger city easily, and honestly, the difference it’s made in my life is IMMENSE. I was teaching in an area that was in the same state as my sister, not quite as rural but pretty close, and I only got around because I had a network of friends who enjoyed having company when they went to the store/out to eat and actively didn’t like driving alone. When I moved away from them due to my job being eliminated, there was no way I could have lived for the rest of my life in the rural area my sister is attached to (where I do not have friends or much of anything else). I’m so, so glad I found my job in another state where I have made friends and have a life that’s not determined by whether someone is going out that day.

        I wouldn’t move back for love or money, basically, and my sister is frustrated about that because she believes the friends her kids have made at school should trump anyone else’s decision to live elsewhere. My brother and I have come back to the state for visits since we have other relatives not that far from my sister, but neither of us are going to sacrifice our lives because her kids have friends.

        1. Giant Squid*

          Are you wanting her to move closer to you? It sounds like everybody can stay in the area that fits best for them.

          1. Anonymous at a University*

            No. She wants my brother and me to move back because…well, frankly, she has made a lot of terrible financial decisions and had two divorces so bitter that she no longer has contact with her ex-husbands/ the kids’ fathers, and our parents were taking care of her and the kids. Our mother passed away last year, and our father has made it clear that while he’s happy to continue helping her, she will have to make different decisions very soon. The major decision so far has been, “My siblings should move back here to take care of me and the kids.”

            Not going to happen, but I keep getting a list of reasons why it should happen and why it’s impossible for her to move.

            1. Giant Squid*

              Ahh, that makes a lot more sense. Yes, that’s incredibly selfish. I’m sorry about your mother.

              I’ve seen a lot of families where the responsible ones get taken on a guilt trip for not picking up other’s slack.

              1. Anonymous at a University*

                Thanks. My mother’s death was hard but pretty much expected, so I’m not dealing with as much of a shock as I once thought I would.

                Our father has made it clear, too, that he’s not expecting me to give up my life or my brother to give up his to take care of our sister and our nieces. There’s options we could offer them, but where my sister lives now is one of the lowest-rated places in the US for almost everything: job security, unemployment, health, public transit, school systems, etc. She still feels attached to the place where she went to high school, but most of her high school friends who were her social circle no longer live there, either; they’ve moved for partners’ jobs or other reasons. If one of us did decide we absolutely had to take care of her, there would be far better reasons for her to move than for us to move back.

              2. GreyjoyGardens*

                Same here. When there are no kids, it’s easier to draw firm boundaries. But when there are kids it’s easier to get guilted into helping because “those poor innocent children!”

                Bitter divorces or not, the kids still DO have fathers, and you can divorce your spouse but you can never divorce your kids.

                1. Anonymous at a University*

                  Oh, if it was in my power to wave a wand to repair the situation with the fathers I would in a heartbeat. But apparently neither they nor my sister want any contact, and my sister won’t even get in contact with someone when child support is late or nonexistent because it exacerbates her anxiety. (She’s attempted to pay people to call child support services for her or pose as her and go in, which…doesn’t work). It’s a pretty big mess.

                2. GreyjoyGardens*

                  (Ran out of nesting) Anonymous at University, geez Louise, what a mess! I can’t blame you for NOT wanting to touch that situation with a ten-foot pole. You can be a loving aunt/uncle from a distance. Your sister needs professional, not family, help; it’s good that you dropped the rope, now if Dad will only do so, maybe Sister can face the music and get the help she and her kids need.

  16. Lucette Kensack*

    There’s no magic answer. At least two of you have to give up something you care about (your community, your husband’s job, your parents’ friends and network, your brother’s career). The only relevant question is whether the tradeoff worthwhile to the people who give up something they love.

    1. JJM*

      Yes, I agree with this. Being near family is wonderful, but it’s not everything. Especially if you’re planning to have kids soon, a community of good friends and jobs you enjoy will be important for your family’s health and happiness. If you move, it will take time to build strong relationships again, and that will probably be even harder if you’re also caring for a baby. You may be near your parents and brother, but your quality of life overall may be lower because of your change in jobs and lack of network.

      We recently moved away from the city where my family lives, but where we had very few friends, to the city where my husband’s family lives and we happen to have lots of friends. We had good jobs in the old city, but our quality of life wasn’t great because we didn’t really want to just hang out with my parents all the time. Even though my husband doesn’t love his new job here, we’re way happier overall because we have more friends and see them frequently. We got lucky in that we also have family here, and that factored into our decision too, but our friends are the ones we see multiple times a week. If I were you, I would heavily weigh the quality of life you have now into any moving decisions. Being near family is one thing, but those other aspects are also huge factors in your overall happiness.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      This is it in a nutshell. Figure out your collective priorities and who’s willing to sacrifice what. There is no way to do this without giving up jobs or what people have currently.

  17. Annony*

    Now might not be the time to figure this out. Everyone is happy with the life they have right now and would have to make major sacrifices to move. It would be especially hard for your parents to move if you mom is so close to retirement. Maybe this should go on hold until your parents do retire? That way there are fewer jobs to take into account and it is possible that the dream jobs become a little less ideal. Then you should have everyone make a list of states that they would be happy to move to and see if there are any you all picked (or picked states next to each other).

    1. A Person*

      I agree with this – I know it would be ideal for LW if they were closer to to their parents when kids come along, but it’s hard to know when that will happen. Parents in their 60s are still quite young! My mom recently moved to be near me (only daughter) and we thought we were doing it “early” at 75 when she’s still pretty mobile.

      In addition, you / your husband may be more ready to move on from your jobs later on – or maybe once a baby is on the way your parents will be more excited to relocate to you – or once a baby is on the way you’ll want to change where you live, even if it’s within the same metro. There are a lot of unknowns here and you may be overplanning (I know I tend to overplan).

    2. Beanie Baby*

      Agreed. Plus, after a child is born, priorities change. If grandparents can’t care for an infant, maybe access to affordable daycare and then good public (or private) schools becomes a factor for which it is worth moving.

  18. Marny*

    It sounds to me like the way that has the least sacrifice for everyone is for your parents to move closer to you and your brother to stay put. That way your parents can be near you to help with child stuff and for you to help with their caretaking as they get older. As for your brother, it’s easiest for him to travel to see all of you guys since he’s one person versus (2 or 3 or 4) and you can all alternate who pays for his visits. That way, neither you and your husband nor your brother has to sacrifice your careers. While the move may be hard for your parents, retirement is the easiest time to move since there aren’t work considerations, and there are lots of communities of retirees who are looking to meet people and make friends.

  19. JustKnope*

    I think the only way to solve it is for everyone involved to do some deep soul-searching. For your parents, is being close to their grandchild more important than their established close friendships? For your brother, does his unique job give him more satisfaction than being close to family? For you, do your great career and your husband’s dream job outweigh the benefits of having parents close by when you’re raising a child? Everyone involved has to do the work of thinking through their priorities, what they are willing to sacrifice and what’s not on the table. If you can all clearly articulate those priorities, in adult, calm, non-judgmental conversations, I think you can come to the right answer. It might be that everyone lives apart until a job situation provides a natural opportunity for change. Or maybe upon reflection, you all decide that family is the absolute highest priorities. I think there’s a lot of room for nuance, but you all have to be really open and honest about your priorities to avoid resentment and frustration.

    1. 867-5309*

      It’s also worth noting that close friendships, especially as people age, are invaluable and removing parents from them (“because grandkids!”) is not always the best solution. Many times we think our families should sustain us emotionally but that’s unrealistic. Friendships are an important part of our lives and asking someone senior to give those up can be isolating. A grandchild (or even adult children) don’t replace the importance of friendship.

      1. 867-5309*

        I want to note, before I get called ageist, I do not think 60 is senior. BUT, if they wait 10-15 more years then it’s a different conversation and that is all I meant by the word.

      2. FindThisVeryInteresting*

        Thank you!! My grandmother is still friends with women from high school. These are 70+ year long friendships and I would never have wanted that taken away from her to be closer to me as a kid. My mother lives a couple blocks away from her childhood best friend. They are 100% family.

      3. Washi*

        The tricky thing for me is that a healthy couple in their 60s will probably have a pretty different perspective on this than a couple in their 80s with significant health needs, which could include dementia, and at that point, it becomes REALLY hard to move to a new place even if you desperately need family support. (Unless your friends are much younger, fellow 80 year olds may not be able to provide a lot of logistical support.)

        That’s why I like the idea of having an in-law apartment where the parents can come spend long stretches of time, so if there does come a time to move, they have had the chance to build some community and won’t find their new surroundings disorienting.

      4. GreyjoyGardens*

        I think it very much depends on the grandparents’ age, state of health, and whether they are good at making new friends or if one or both finds it very difficult to do so. My grandma relocated in her 60’s but she was healthy, found a ready-made network of friends through her church, and had enough outside interests that she would read, garden, do crossword puzzles, etc. rather than just stare at the TV.

        YMMverymuchV. Some people are healthier and/or more adaptable than others.

      5. Not So NewReader*

        “Many times we think our families should sustain us emotionally but that’s unrealistic. ”

        Families who are overly dependent on each other can wind up being very toxic situations. This is a super important sub-thread, OP. My father just had me and my two aunts helping with my mother. We ALL burned out- I mean had-serious- health-issues-ourselves burned out. It was awful. Friends and a sense of community are super important.

    2. Turquoisecow*

      My aunt always planned to move closer to her son and grandkids when she retired. Only her daughter and son-in-law remain in her area, the rest of the family is several states away. But now as she thinks more seriously about retirement, she doesn’t want to move because she’s got a great group of friends and activities and loves where she is, and is content just to visit her grandkids or have them visit her sometimes. Priorities change as you get older.

  20. CheeryO*

    I think your parents either move to you or your brother, but I don’t think anyone here can tell you which option would be better. Your brother has said that he wants to live near you when you have kids, but what have those conversations been like? Is he willing to potentially change fields to move to where you are?

  21. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    There are a lot of contradictory pulls and pushes in your criteria, and it’s pretty much impossible to assign objective scores to these subjective issues.

    The only way I’ve been able to make decisions like this (which college to go to, or which house to buy, most notably), is to make an exhaustive list of pros & cons for each option. Once it’s done, I read it over carefully, then stick it away somewhere and don’t look at it for several days. I let my subconscious work on it, and then hopefully in a couple of days I’ll come to a decision that feels right.

    OP, in your case, you have a lot of time. Wait until you actually have that first kid – it’ll be at least a year closer to your mother’s retirement date, things may change with your husband’s job, your parents’ friends may retire and move away on their own, etc.

    1. Facepalm*

      That’s a great point. I thought the OP was already pregnant when I read the letter, but now I see the baby is an aspiration. OP, you don’t know if it will happen on the first try, or take 5 years, or if you’ll have to spend all the money you wanted to use to buy the house with the in-law suite for your parents and pay for your brother’s trips to see his little niece or nephew on IVF. Maybe global warming will destroy your brother’s sea captain career (or whatever) and make it easy for him to move to you, or maybe your husband’s dream company will go belly-up and you’ll have to move on your brother’s boat.

    2. 2 cents*

      I also think that the OP should get in the headspace now of “this will not work out 100% perfectly the way we want, with everyone getting 100% of what they want.”

      Once you’re in that headspace (not sure if they are now, from the tone of the letter) but once they are, it might be easier to do a P/C list with a clear head.

  22. Dragoning*

    I would be hesitant to move your aging parents out of their current support system. Family is important, but taking your aging parents away from a place where they still have living friends! And replacing that with your family…pretty much exclusively…would be difficult for both you and then, I think. I would only want to add to their support system in their golden years, not remove it. If your city has a good-size older population, though, and they’re sociable people it could work, though!

    1. she's a killer queen*

      I agree with this kinda, but want to link it to what someone else said above about disability. My family has ended up in a situation where we all live far away from each other… and our mom is in a nursing home in the middle. And none of us can make it work to move close to mom. And we can’t move mom because of insurance problems and medicaid. And mom’s friends have mostly all left the city over the years, and the few ones she has left don’t visit her very often.

      In theory, we saw this coming, but in practice, we did not see it coming, and we’re still trying to figure out how to fix it. It’s been… a lot of years.

    2. GreyjoyGardens*

      It really depends on how irreplaceable that “support system” is. Some people are adaptable. Others find it hard to settle in a new place. Some people make friends easily. Others don’t and therefore can’t replace what they have if they lose it.

      There are those who are like dandelions – they’ll thrive almost anywhere. And then there are the orchids, which require a greenhouse and careful tending. Most people are somewhere in the middle.

      In my experience, it DOES help to have some kind of religious community, because joining some kind of house of worship can provide someone with ready-made community. (For the non-religious, Unitarian Universalists are a good option.)

    3. cleo*

      I disagree with this. They’re in their early 60s, LWs mom hasn’t retired yet. They’re aging but they’re not exactly aged yet. Lot’s of people move around retirement because it’s a good time to make a move. And honestly one’s community and social life can change a lot after retirement, even if you stay put

  23. AVP*

    I think you have to start by asking, “which of these jobs absolutely have to be done in one particular location?” The rank the following questions: “Can it be done remotely? Is this what he wants to do forever / is it reasonable to expect that he will end his career in this job function, and in this city? Can any of these jobs be done remotely?”

    Come up with some kind of matrix for who can do what where and who is flexible on location, and see where you get the most hits. If it’s an expensive area, it might be that you’re spread across a wider geographical area (some in the city, some outside it) but that sounds like it would be a better solution than what you have now.

    I will also echo what someone said above – this could play out over the course of a few years as you’re ready to make natural career progressions. Maybe you start looking in New City now, but wait until you have the right job lined up before you jump. Staggering the moves is probably for the best in case your parents turn out not to like it, or a big unexpected change occurs in the process.

    Best of luck, my extended family is also dealing with this right now and it’s tough!

  24. BRR*

    This is always really tough. I think the first thing would be to figure out which of the three cities is acceptable to each of the three parties. Is one a small town or a big city and is that a deal breaker to some people? You can always take a longer approach of job hunting at a more relaxed pace to find a better fit.

    Would it work for one party to move near another party so at least two of three are close? This is an advice column letter in the making but if that happened could there be some financial assistance for the one party to fly to the other two? In addition to fighting over money the big issue with that is it stinks to be the one who always has to travel.

    Are there other options that are closer? Like you couldn’t move from LA to New York but you could move to Philadelphia?

  25. Jules the 3rd*

    You have to talk through the options with everyone, and prioritize. Have everyone list what factors they consider, and rank ’em. Then look for places that meet everyone’s ‘can’t live without it’ criteria, and only consider the rest if you end up with multiple options.

    For example, my ‘must have’ criteria would be:
    – good schools
    – a decent job option for both parents

    Your parents’ criteria might be:
    – Many things for older people to do when not with kids

    If your parents’ ‘must have’ is ‘live near my current friends’, but schools are bad in that area (like, my parent’s place) (and you’ve already mentioned you couldn’t find good jobs there), then you’re going to have to compromise. Maybe you find someplace an hour flight from them on a cheap route, a house that’s a little larger (extra BR or MIL suite), and they do extended visits regularly.

    My first impulse is that you check whether your brother’s city would work for you, or if there’s jobs related to his current one that he could do there (ie, Ship Captain Trainer). Your parents have the most flexibility, including the option of splitting their time between multiple cities. I know a lot of retirees who RV around the country.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      ‘jobs he could do there’: “there” = your current city. Basically, try to consolidate with your brother and let your parents figure out what they want to do about it.

  26. Anon for this one*

    So we just did something incredibly similar. Husband, kid, and I lived in Boston. My parents lived in New Jersey. My in-laws lived in Maine. I got a job where I could work remotely, and then my husband found a job 45 minutes from his parents. We bought a house with a walk-out basement. My parents sold their house and are renovating our basement for an in-law suite. (My brother also happens to live an hour away but he wasn’t a huge factor).

        1. Anon for this one*

          Well it is lower nearly everywhere in Maine than in Boston, but not as much lower as you’d think in the Portland area.

  27. Eba*

    If this is dependent on whether or not you have kids, I’d wait until that happens (i.e. you’re pregnant and further along). Just speaking as someone who struggled unexpectedly with infertility. If you’d still want to move together even if you don’t have kids, then proceed. Just something to consider.

  28. ConsultingIsFun*

    Wow, CANNOT relate. Slightly jealous your family is close enough to warrant this discussion, slightly relieved I will (at the time being, maybe in the future when I have my own kids) never have this concern.

    Is there a fourth city that fits everyone’s needs? I agree with the many comments above that say leave the parents’ city out of the equation. It is sad to leave friends behind, but if neither of you can find equivalent work no one (out of the parents) will be happy.

    I think, if your brother is in a truly as niche field, it should be less about finding ‘the perfect city’, and more about finding ‘cities that connect easily’. Maybe look at cities that can easily be reached by train from your brother’s city? If he can’t move without leaving his field (and he isn’t willing to), are there nearby cities that work for you that you can hop on some form of transit? A train ride is a lot less daunting to see people then a car ride. I live in Manhattan and my boyfriend lives in Brooklyn. A subway ride (that requires a transfer) for a total of 40 minutes (including walking) feels SO much easier than taking a 30 minute Uber ride to go to his place.

    I feel like this puzzle would be more easily solved if you said where your brother is based. There’s no ‘checklist’, so to speak, to reference for this. It’s more about finding places that fit three different unique situations.

  29. SomebodyElse*

    Unfortunately, this is probably one of those times in life where there is not a neat and tidy solution.

    It’s going to come down to what the priorities of all the individuals are at the time the decision is made. (I added that last bit, because it’s an important one!). So my advice is to not rush in to anything. There are a lot of “ifs” in your post, that include children (not always guaranteed) , dream jobs (that can be found and lost), you’re brother’s status (does he have a spouse yet? How will that change things if and when he does), your parents friends and location (will they start to lose friends due to age or friend’s relocation), just to name a few.

    As I said, don’t rush into anything… you are all (including your parents) very young and a lot will change in the coming years. There’s enough time for life to offer you all new decision points along the way which will give you opportunities to evaluate your and your family’s priorities at that point.

  30. theelephantintheroom*

    I feel you, OP. My husband and I had to leave our impoverished home state for work. My parents also left a few years later for work, as well. So my parents are a 10-hour drive away in one direction. His parents are a 10-hour drive away in another direction. (I hate the restrictions of flying and my husband hates the expense of flying, so we drive.) Our siblings are somewhere in between and all have different reasons they couldn’t move (military careers, in-laws, etc.). So if we were to be closer, we would be the ones needing to move.

    Our job situation could be handled easily. I work from home, anyway, and he can easily transition to working from home (in fact, many people in his department do it). But figuring out whether to leave our new state (that we actually like! As opposed to our home state which I will never permanently return to) or stay is difficult, especially with our first baby on the way. We’re a long way from everyone, but it’s at least an equal distance. Still, it would be nice to be close to SOMEONE. And who knows where our family members will be in a few years. And we’ve made some amazing friends who have become like family and we’re not eager to leave them.

    I…have no advice. I just feel your pain. It’s incredibly difficult to balance work life, personal life, and family life these days. Especially if work is not very flexible with the job location. I hope you’re able to come up with a solution!

  31. Space Cadet*

    This is such a great question, and one that I think a lot of people are dealing with.
    Personally, my mom and I are super close, but live fifteen hours apart.
    I don’t have kids yet but it’s in the cards, and I suspect that once that happens things will shift. I’m not sure which direction it’ll go, but you can only hold so many tensions for so long before something gives. Priorities will change and one or both of us will move, or we’ll come to accept the distance.
    Consider whether you can enjoy your current phase of life and location for the next couple of years, and let yourself live into the answer you’re looking for.

  32. Didi*

    Do some research on locations where your dream jobs exist – maybe there is a common one. Most large employers have more than one location.

    Or, see if remote work is an optoin for anyone.

    If neither of these two ideas work out, research where jobs in your industry are. I assume you’re in the US? You can use the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to see how many people work in your type of job for hundreds of metro areas. The BLS has a statistic called “location quotient” which shows how prevalent professions are in an area. You can see which cities are most prevalent for your professions, because prevalence usually means lots of jobs.

    Also, research where major employers in your industries are – for example the insurance industry has a hub in Hartford, Connecticut, while the digital payments industry has a big presence in Atlanta. You can use LinkedIn for this pretty easily by searching by company and location.

  33. AudreyParker*

    Definitely watching this thread with interest! My situation is vaguely similar in that my family is distributed along the opposite coast, parents in 2 different locations and getting older, and I’m really feeling the distance & travel time now. Ultimately it’s only me that would move, but been researching possible locations for many months and have yet to determine somewhere 1) I’d be ok living that 2) seems to have a job market with livable wages and 3) any way to get past reluctance of employers to hire someone not local (I wouldn’t feel comfortable moving somewhere without a job lined up in advance, given my experience of the market). I suppose it depends on what you do, but relocating somewhere new if you don’t work for yourself seems far more difficult than people paint it, so job availability would be the determining factor, and I can’t imagine giving up a “dream job” without knowing something similar was waiting.

  34. JustMyImagination*

    I’d start with whoever has the most limited geographic flexibility, sounds like it might be your brother. Have him figure out where he is able to move and keep his career. Then look at what options you and your husband have in those areas and narrow down the list further. Then I’d look at medical care and COL for your retired parents.

    But also, have some sort of agreement of what “close” is for everyone. Is the goal to all be in the same town or to be within X hours driving of each other?

  35. darlingpants*

    This is so hard! I have a looooot of financial privilege that helps as a base for this, but this is one of the major reasons I’m interested in the Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) movement/lifestyle. I love my hometown for a lot of reasons, but the prospect of getting an interesting job in my field there is 1%.
    I was going to comment that this is a uniquely modern problem, but then I remembered that people have been choosing between careers and family for as long as there’s been immigration. My dad immigrated to America for grad school and for years he saw his family once every 2-3 years. And before airplanes the choice was even more stark and forever seeming.
    Unfortunately there is no magic answer, it all comes down to what you and your family members value most: satisfying careers, lucrative careers, community outside your biological family, biological family closeness. And with 5 (maybe 6 if your brother has a partner) people involved, the odds that everyone has the same priority are pretty low.

    1. darlingpants*

      I remembered another possibility: my dad commutes to a city 3 hours away from where my parents live/my moms job is, and sublets an apartment there for 3-4 days a week, so he can work in a city but not live there full time. Obviously that’s not possible with a lot of jobs (it’s expensive, and he has can work from home 1-2 days a week), but if you consolidate housing costs with your family somehow it would allow most of you to live or work in a city that doesn’t meet another requirement. Other people pick somewhere with a train to their job and spend 4-6 hours/day on the train, which sounds awful to me, but works with their priorities.

      1. Jaybeetee*

        Yeah, I knew a family growing up where Dad worked in another city much of the year – he was a college professor, and also (relevant, I promise) an “older” dad and at least 10 years older than his wife. Wife was initially a nurse, went back and got her midwifery cert, and the small college city just didn’t have the right kind of opportunities for her, so her and the kids moved 3 hours away, while Dad worked 4 days a week in College town and came home on weekends, as well as for much of the summer. I believe in his case he just put up in a hotel all the time – perhaps the college was helping pay for that, I’m not sure. At the time of the move, Dad was something like 10 years from retiring, and had tenure where he was, so REALLY didn’t want to leave the job. He eventually took early retirement and a reduced pension.

        Anyway, it seemed to work well enough in their family, I’ve heard of other families who are miserable on that sort of scheme, and I’ve heard of some marriages breaking up when the couple spent 80% of the week apart every week. Some people are miserable away from their kids that much, or just hate not being “home”. Of course, many people have more extreme arrangements, not by choice. You do what you have to do.

        1. darlingpants*

          My mom is the professor in the relationship, and they’re both very independent people, so this works pretty well for them. He’s had even more extreme jobs (3 weeks overseas, 2 weeks home) when my sister and I were quite young, so this probably seems easier in comparison. Also, he’s the boss, so while he works constantly he has a lot of ownership about when he needs to be in what location. But it’s not for every personality or relationship! I do think that if you have family intentionally very close it could mitigate some of the emotional and logistic issues of having a partner gone for big chunks of the day or week.

  36. The Cardinal*

    There is no easy answer to your question but the one factor I would weigh the most is this:
    As a couple, what makes “us” the happiest in the here and now independent of all of the “should we, could we, in a perfect world” scenarios.

    I’m well into my 6th decade and in my experience, personal health and financial security rank as 1A and 1B in order of importance but sadly, we have less control over the former than the latter.

  37. Karo*

    I don’t know how to make it work to all live near each other, but I’d like to offer my own experience as a stopgap option:

    My family is in a very similar situation. My sister and her family, including a toddler, live in TN. My husband and I live in SC. My brother and his wife live in NJ, where we’re all from, and my parents live in NC, where they purchased property well before my sister and I scattered. We all love each other and are exceptionally close, but we’ve all built lives where we are now and my siblings and I have ties to our spouses’ families in the area we live.

    It’s definitely scary having my parents essentially alone on the top of a mountain as they enter their 70s, but for right now we try to ensure we can spend one of the major holidays together each year, and we find closeness by Skyping as a family once a week (in addition to talking on a semi-regular basis throughout the week). We get to talk like we’re sitting around the dinner table at home, and I get to see my Nephew grow up – and I like to think that he at least recognizes our faces.

    1. Jaybeetee*

      I used to work with a woman who lived with her partner in our city, her sister clear across the country, and their mother in… Mexico, or somewhere? (They were not Mexican, Mom had moved down there. Dad did not seem to be in the picture). But they were clearly all very close, seemed to talk very regularly, and were very involved in each other’s lives. I remember her narrating her sister’s relationship drama – “Her and Boyfriend are arguing a lot”, “Her and Boyfriend might be breaking up”, “Her and Boyfriend just broke up, but she needs to find her own place and rental prices there are insane…”. I think I especially recall that because I was neck-deep in my own relationship drama at the time, and my very local family knew very little about it!

  38. Tuckerman*

    My husband and I left our community of close friends and moved several states away, where we could afford to have a baby/buy a starter home. Part of our justification was that his sister lives here, and they’ve always been close. We have a toddler now, and the reality has been that she’s been pretty disinterested in getting together.

    I don’t regret moving because we would never have been able to afford a house/have a kid where we lived. But I often think about what it would be like to have a kid in old city, with lots of friends and support close by.

    Moving might turn out great, but it’s possible the family involvement may not be exactly what you picture.

    1. Marny*

      I strongly relate to this. We moved to our current city because of certain job prospects and thought the good friends we had in the area would be a great support system for our transition. Despite the impression they’d given us before we moved, it turns out they’re simply not available to be around much. It’s made us think seriously about moving back to our old city where we know with certainty that we have a support system.

      1. De Minimis*

        This sort of happened to me too, I moved back to my home state only to find I got to see family only slightly more than I did when I lived halfway across the country.

        1. Sabina*

          Yes, this happened to a good friend of mine. Turns out busy teenagers have little time (or interest, frankly) for spending with grandparents. Yes, she sees them more than she did, but not nearly as much as she expected.

    2. Grapey*

      +1 about not expecting family to be from a Currier and Ives picture, rightfully so. That whole women’s lib thing taught some grandmothers that they don’t need to be unpaid child minders the second time around. I got flak for not wanting to babysit my nephews/nieces (whereas my local male unemployed cousins of the same age never got asked, hmm.)

    3. Minocho*

      We moved away from friends and community to be closer to both parents’ families when I was in junior high school. We did see the family a lot more, but it honestly lowered our overall family life because one set of grandparents were not kind or loving people, and the parent that was the child of those parents has suffered a lot of unresolved trauma in the last 30 years, even after one of their parents is gone. The other side of the family is amazing, but the harm done on the toxic side is…heartbreaking to see. All of us kids wish we could help our parent accept that their parents’ approval is unimportant, because it never existed, and it never could exist – it was always unobtainable.

  39. C Average*

    I think the toughest approach (at least initially) is also the fairest approach and the one least likely to lead to resentment down the road: you all research this question together and you all move to a new place.

    As it is now, each of you would have to give up something valuable in order to move, and the person who didn’t move would get to keep something valuable. Which is fine if you’re all generous, forgiving, non-grudge-prone people who find good fortune in your new location.

    But what if you move and you all have a falling-out? What if there turn out to be no jobs? What if you hate it?

    I realize all these things could happen in a new-to-everyone location, but at least you’ll have equal skin in the game and there won’t be an element of “I moved HERE for YOU and it sucks.”

    Of course, if any of the places one of you lives appeals to the others on its own merits, this would be less of a factor, but I’m guessing you wouldn’t have written to Alison if that were the case!

    1. alienor*

      I’ve seen the falling-out situation in action. A while back, one of my close friends and her husband moved to a semi-rural area to be close to the husband’s son and the son’s wife and daughter. It was all good for a couple of years; then the son and wife divorced, and now they barely see any of them–the son because he’s out enjoying his new single-guy freedom, the wife because she doesn’t want to hang out with her ex’s dad and stepmom, and their granddaughter because the custody agreement doesn’t allow for a lot of visitation. They’re stuck in a place where they don’t fit in and haven’t been able to make friends (they’re very liberal and not religious, which…does not describe their neighbors) and they don’t have the family they moved there for, either. They do have a huge, beautiful house that they couldn’t have afforded in our home state, but I’m not sure how much consolation that is.

  40. CmdrShepard4ever*

    OP I’m sorry I don’t have any concrete solutions and this might be the kind of problem that no matter how much everyone wants it there might not be a great or even good solution for everyone.

    One thing to consider is first define what “close” means for everyone, is it all living 5 minute walk from each other, 1 hour drive, 3 hr drive etc….

    You could live close but still in different states if you live near the border.

    For example my partner and I live in major city 1.5 hrs away from my f/mil, and my bil lives in a small town next to a midsize city 1.5 hrs away from the parents and 3 hrs away from us. So the parents house is the perfect midpoint where everyone usually comes together. The 1.5 hrs is close enough that we can go back to visit for a quick weekend leave Friday after work or early Saturday morning and be back by Sunday evening. Even 3 hrs to visit my bil is close enough for us to make a weekend out of it, usually leaving Friday after work and getting back later Sunday evening. For certain special occasions, such as a big extended family get together we have even done a one day trip (6 hrs total RT) it was a pain but doable with two drivers. This is all just two adults no kids. I imagine young kids might change the feasibility of a 6 hr round trip drive in one day, but the weekend trips would probably stay the same.

    For comparison we live 45/60 minutes away from my parents, they live in a suburb next to the major city where my partner and I live. It is close enough to back for certain occasions during the week after work such as birthdays, for a quick dinner and cake cutting and then be back home by 9/10 pm. But again being busy with daily life we mostly go back to see my parents on the weekends still.

    While, 45 mins, 1.5 hrs, and 3 hrs are not super close I think they are close enough that in an emergency we could all drive to each other pretty quickly.

    For further comparison my mil lives in the same neighborhood as her two brothers less than 5 minute walk from each other, and she says they see each other about once a week. When her mother was alive she lived in the same neighborhood also and my mil saw her very frequently and was able to take her shopping with her, have dinner, take her to meet friends etc…

    1. Perfectly Cromulent Name*

      “One thing to consider is first define what “close” means for everyone, is it all living 5 minute walk from each other, 1 hour drive, 3 hr drive etc….”

      This is a great point. We moved back to our home state partly because our parents are getting older and we know that we are going to be the ones handling any elder care situations (We have siblings close by, but for a lot of reasons it will likely be us.) However, we chose not to move to our hometown (where both sets of parents live.) We live in a major city an hour and a half away. It’s a good in between. We could be there fairly quickly if needed, but we’re not so close that people can just pop in whenever. My best friend from high school’s parents moved to her new state when she had kids and live two houses down. That would be horrible for me, but it works great for them! You should check and see what everyone else’s feeling of “close” is. My MIL would love for us to move into her basement tomorrow, my parents are happy to see us in nearby major city and would hate for us to live with them. It’s so personal for each person, so you might check to see how everyone envisions this working, how much time you expect to spend with each other, etc and compare notes before you put htis into practice.

  41. Mary*

    Start in the future and work backwards. It’s 2025. What are you doing for work? What kind of jobs do your husband and your brother hope to be doing? How old are the kids? What kind of community do you want or be living in? What do you all value? What are your priorities? What are your nice-to-haves?

    If you start with the here and now, the only way to work it out is to talk about sacrifices and who gets to lose what. Start in 2025, with more general hopes and goals, and it’s easier to see where there are consistencies, possibilities and opportunities. If you can make it work like that, you can work backwards with the various steps.

  42. De Minimis*

    The onus should be on the parents to move closer. I don’t know if there’s a way unfortunately for both of the siblings to be as close as they’d like, and their work and that of their immediately family should be take precedence.

    This one gets personal for me, as I’ve seen a lot of people be pressured to give up their jobs/quality of life to accommodate aging parents who don’t want to move [not saying this is the case with the OP!] and it has always rubbed me the wrong way.

    1. 867-5309*

      Why is it on the onus of the parents to move? The networks they’ve created and lives they built are just as valuable as those their children are trying to build for themselves.

      1. De Minimis*

        They don’t have jobs to consider, or other family members with jobs. Not saying their networks don’t matter, but the younger generation needs to be able to earn a living and to have the same opportunities as their parents as far as building a life.

      2. FindThisVeryInteresting*

        +10000000
        Also, let’s not assume that the parents who are pushing the hardest to live nearby. They could like the idea of her being nearer, but not invested enough to make a big deal out of it.

      3. MissDisplaced*

        It depends hugely on where the parents live. But, if the situation was like my parents, there simply was no work in my field in that small town and finding remote work is still difficult. I had to move away to get work.

        So should a adult child in the middle of their prime earning career give up their opportunity to move to a place with limited career opportunities to care for retired parents who no longer need to work? IDK, but it is far easier for the parents to move. They likely won’t want to though, if like my mom, is uncomfortable with anything outside of that small town. But each situation is different. If the parents are wealthy, that totally changes things maybe. In my case, move back to a small town where my only work options are $10/hour will not help support anyone, let alone my retired mom.

      4. Daffy Duck*

        Because if the LW and her brother move they may never be able to build their own retirement fund or help their children go to college. They may even be unable to get a job that pays more than the local minimum wage. There are a lot of places (most of rural America) where decent-paying jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate. Jobs are increasingly centralized to large urban areas.

      5. Temperance*

        Because their friendships and relationships are nice, but if they want their children around to help *them*, they should be making the sacrifice. Plus, since Social Security will probably be long gone by the time that OP and her brother retire, they need to put their careers first.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I tend to agree that for practicalities’ sake, the parents need to move to be with the kid. I have seen this play out this way often enough.

      My most recent episode is an 80 y/o couple, where the Mom died. Dad is moving half way across the country to be with Son. Son is middle-aged, has family and has a lucrative career.
      Dad doesn’t wanna move. But he realizes with being 80 the road is shorter than ever and it is wise to move now. Dad has his own resources so he will be jetting all over the world and doing his own thing for the time being.
      One of his many changes is that he will now have a very small place compared to is Old House, no gardens, no animals, no fruit trees. And how does one fill up their time? Well that remains to be seen.

      For myself, I moved away from my parents. But I moved to an area where they had property about an hour or so away from me. When my mother died my father moved onto that property. (Long story very short.) It was enough because my father deeply loved his property and us being an hour away was close enough. He passed at 72, so not very old. I was glad about how it all played out, if he had been in his other house he would have been 3 states and several hours away. We would have had lawyers in each state to process the estate, it would have been a mess. As it was his last month was extremely difficult but at least I could get to the hospital every night to see him.

      My father chose a very rural area and his story is one of those stories where a person died on the way to the hospital because the distance was so great. (They did revive him in the ambulance on an entrance ramp to a major highway. OMG. He got to the hospital, continued to have problems and passed away after a month there.)

      Looking back on it we had ZERO planning as a family and yet we were all able to to work through it.

      I hope that you know, OP, that there is no perfect plan for staying together. Every plan has flaws. It’s important that those family members who are still employed remain employed. Because if there is no money coming in OR if there are budgeting problems, the adult children cannot be of much help to the parents. Think of it this way, if you have to work 70 hours a week at a low paying job because that is all you can find, you might as well live in Antarctica, because you have zero availability to visit/help your folks.

      I have a friend whose family lives on the opposite coast. They Skype every day or two and her son is constantly sending her things to help her sustain her life while on her own. He can do other things online to keep things in her life humming along. I think she sees more of her family than if they lived next door.

      Now I have a sad comment. When my husband passed family invited me to move down by them. I was 46 years old. I did not want to leave everything that was familiar to me. I hemmed and hawed. Within THREE years all of those family members DIED. If I had moved to be with them I would have ended up alone in a strange area and none of the resources I take for granted, such as friends, doctors, other professionals and so on.
      Everything is temporary, OP. Everything. I hope I can encourage you and yours to build sustainable plans independent of each other. Then work with each other’s plans and stay connected that way.

  43. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I… don’t think this is something you can decide at this stage, to be honest. Your parents are nervous about moving, your brother can’t, your husband just started his dream job. “Wanting to be closer” does not necessarily mean it’s feasible right now. Maybe start exploring remote work for your husband and/or yourself, just as a possibility in the future, and if he can’t do it at this job, make a plan of looking for something more flexible a few years down the line. Build the in-law suite as suggested above and plan long visits for your parents (like, two weeks or even a month at a time, which will make a long driving trip more “worth it”). But other than that, it sounds too much like trying to fit square pegs in round holes. If I were in your place, I would work on a visiting plan with your parents, plan to visit your brother for an extended trip, and focus on developing relationships in your community that will help you with childcare when the need arises.

    1. cleo*

      I like this comment. Anther thing that has helped with my various scattered family members is vacationing together in a location that’s accessible to everyone. It’s not an option that will work for every family and budget but it can be really great.

      Renting a beach cottage with a lot of bedrooms every few years for my parents, me and my spouse and my brother and his spouse and 2 kids has been a great way to feel connected to my niece and nephew even though they live on the other side of the country from us.

  44. schnauzerfan*

    I agree that moving the folks may be the most doable part of this, or it may not. My widowed mom was perfectly happy to move to be closer to me, she worked for the Air Force for 25 years before retiring, so many of he work friends were widely scattered anyway. She’s pretty much an introvert. Most of her social connections were family. So she didn’t really miss “the club.” But for other people who are active and social in their church, a service club or other such group, moving away and severing those bonds is destructive. I like the MIL suite idea or some sort of snowbird type situation. Maybe they come for long visits (with their own nest) and build/maintain networks in both places. I admit I’m biased. I’ve lost two elderly friends in the last year at least partly because their kids plucked them up and expected them to bloom where they were planted… As for the brother situation? IDK

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      Some people can build new bonds in their new area with the same/a similar church or service group (most have branches all over the country). My grandma did.

    2. Temperance*

      FWIW, I’ve seen the opposite in my own family; a family member decided that they were going to kowtow to the elders’ wish for caregiving in their own home, even though the family member couldn’t get a decent-paying job there. 15+ years later, this family member has no career to speak of, no retirement to speak of, and they didn’t even do this person the goodwill of leaving the house/assets to them as a thank-you. (It’s being split between both of their children, one of whom is their caregiver and the other who lives a mile away and does nothing.)

      This person will now be elderly and destitute thanks to making bad choices encouraged by elders who wanted to have their cake and eat it, too.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        I’m sorry for your family member. I’ve seen this happen and it’s NOT pretty. Never ever give up your own career long-term for someone else. (I’m not talking about being a trailing spouse or staying home with the kids for a few years, I’m talking long-term.)

  45. gbca*

    I think maybe the first step is the acknowledgement that there are no perfect solutions here, and that any setup (including the status quo) is going to involve some sacrifices; trading some increased happiness for sadness elsewhere. I met and married my husband in his hometown, 2,000 miles from where I grew up. I actually thought we’d stay there forever, despite being close to my extended family. But after our second child was born we realized that in order to be happy we needed more day-to-day support from family than his family was able to give (due to having their own young children). So we picked up and moved back to my hometown. I love being near family, but it is bittersweet, as we left behind a bunch of cousins right around our kids’ ages, and there will be no cousins like that from my side of the family. But on net, between the family support and the better climate, we feel like we made the right choice.

    I would actually recommend waiting until you have kids to make this choice and see how your day-to-day life plays out. That may better inform what sacrifices you, your husband, your parents, and your brother are willing to make. Good luck!

  46. blink14*

    This is a tough one – pretty much my whole life my immediate family has been split between two different locations, and now there are 4. My sibling, who lives on the other side of the country, is the one more likely to get married and have kids, but is also younger and has a more flexible career path at this point. I’m tied to the East Coast for a variety of reasons, and I would never want to live anywhere else. The rest of my immediate family is in the Northeast, my family owns a small business here, and while we have relatives on the West Coast, most of us are East Coast. If this situation was happening to me at this point in time, it would be up to my sibling to move back out east.

  47. Colette*

    Some questions to consider:
    1) Who would find it easiest to build a network of friends and activities in a new place? Who would find it hardest? You don’t want to end up in a situation, for example, where your parents move to be near you and have nothing to do while you are not available.
    2) What are the relative locations like? How will moving affect the cost of living for all people involved? Would your parents have to sell your childhood home, or you move from a townhouse to a 1 bedroom apartment? What about the weather – would you be moving towards or away from cold winters?
    3) Jobs – what are the job markets in your various locations? Where could each of you find rewarding jobs? Are there locations where someone could not find a job? If there are fewer options in a different location, are you willing to take the potential career hit?
    4) Family – how would moving affect the other people involved (i.e. would your husband be moving away from his family/support system)?
    5) I think it was George Burns who said “happiness is having a large, loving, close family in another city”. If you all live in the same place, you will have more potential issues to deal with (such as your parents weighing in your financial or parenting decisions). Are you prepared for that?

    1. ILoveMyParentsBut...*

      I agree with number 5 as something to consider. We all love our parents and sometimes we love the fantasy of getting to spend a lot of time with them but then when we actually do spend every.single.day with them we are reminded why we moved out. We still love them but there is a reason we needed our own space, haha. And once you have kids there will probably, definitely be commentary on how certain things are handled.

  48. MsMaryMary*

    I think it depends on personalities. I moved to a Big City after college, and then moved back to myHometown 8 years later to be closer to my parents and brother. They all loved coming to visit me, but none would want to live there. My Dad is in his late 70s and still has monthly lunches with his high school classmates. My brother has known his best friend since they were five. My Mom has been retired for ten years and still gets together with her former coworkers. They all live in the same house where my grandparents lived. I don’t want to say they’re parochial, exactly, or unable to change and adapt, but they’re very comfortable where they are. I loved living in Big City but I’m happy back in Hometown too.

    I was talking to a client last week. She lives in a small city about 3 hours away from her daughter, who lives in Big City. She is retiring and wants to spend more time with her daughter and granddaughter, but she would never move to Big City. The traffic, the cost of living, the housing stock (condo/apartment versus a house), the (perceived) crime… She is just not a Big City person. On the other hand, I need to live in a decent-sized city. The country is nice to visit, but I would go bonkers living in the wide open spaces, deep in the hills, or on a mountain top.

  49. LegalBeagle*

    I did this and it wasn’t easy, but it was very worth it. Raising a child is hard, especially as two working parents, and I would really struggle to do it without any support network. It’s also incredibly rewarding to see my child growing up with grandparents and other family close by, which I didn’t have as a kid (and my parents have said they regret that now).

    My old job also basically doesn’t exist in the city where I live now, so I ended up changing tracks and doing something completely different. It was a huge adjustment and required some longer job searches, but I landed in a role where I’m really happy and I don’t miss my previous field at all. (I was starting to get burned out when we moved.)

    For the LW, I’d encourage you to think through the financial aspects (including the cost and availability of childcare, which really varies by location), and be realistic about how much hands-on help you can expect from aging parents. Overall I think this can work out really well if everyone is communicating about their expectations and willing to compromise. Good luck!! I hope it works out for you!!

    1. Risha*

      The hands-on help question is an important one, and highly dependent on individual health situations. When my brother and SIL had their son, they expected my parents to do a lot of babysitting and the like. The reality was that kids in my family are all huge and by the time my nephew was a toddler, my parents (both still in their 60s at the time but with bad backs and other health issues) couldn’t really lift him or keep up with him.

  50. Paralegal Part Deux*

    The one factor you’re leaving out is what does your husband want to do since you left him out in your letter. He gets a vote in this since this affects his life and dream job. Does he want to leave a dream job to be closer to his in-laws?

  51. Youth*

    It sounds like the timing just isn’t right.

    I think this is something you should keep in the back of your mind and wait for either 1) circumstances to change or 2) the distance to become so unbearable that it outweighs the benefits of the dream job, the good friends, etc.

    When your mom retires, she may feel less nervous about moving. Or your brother may change careers. Or your husband may look for a different job in a few years and you’ll find there are a lot of opportunities closer to your parents or your brother.

    I totally feel for you because I live close to my parents and teenage siblings, and I never want to live away from them. But my boyfriend’s career could take him out of state, so if we decide to make things permanent, I’ll probably have to move away at some point. (I can do my job from literally anywhere so that’s not a concern.) That’s not my ideal, but I believe that as long as we keep looking for opportunities to come back, I’ll someday be able to live close to my fam again.

  52. Quinalla*

    I don’t think there is a perfect solution here. I think you all stay where you are for now, but keep your eyes open for when it might make sense for someone to make a move.

    My siblings and I all moved away from home at least some amount, 2 of us stayed in reasonable driving distance (2.5 and 5 hours), one you basically had to fly and the other it was a long drive (8 hours). The two furthest flung have since move back to 2.5 hours and in town with my parents, but one is getting ready to move again to be about 7 hours. We’d all like to live in town with each other, but we all have careers and other family and friends and so on, so folks have done what they can when they can and we try to make visits happen as much as possible which for us means everyone takes part in planning things and those centrally located open their houses pretty much whenever for visitors. Personally, my family is not moving unless something drastic happens. We love our home, community, schools, jobs, etc. and I just keep trying to convince my siblings as their lives change to move closer to me :) My parents are likely going to move when my Dad retires (he’s slowly winding down), but they aren’t planning to move to any of us right now as they are big into their university and plan to move in town there.

  53. Laure001*

    Or you know, don’t do it.
    Maybe all living in the same state seems impossible because it is…. well not impossible, but because it would demand too many sacrifices to be worth it. Maybe everyone can stay where they are and have a community and/or jobs they love, and as soon as there are grandchildren in play, you all organise your life to maximise contact: like, the grand parents take the grand children during all major holidays and they come spent quality time at their children’s homes during the year…. Taking care of the kids while the parents can enjoy free evenings.
    There is something to be said for different beautiful words that intersect where and when you choose it. :)

    1. Llama Lady*

      Definitely agree, I was reading an article about maintaining long distance friendship and one of the points was the idea of focusing on intentionality. So even though you may not get to see your friend every day (and get to do mundane things together) you therefore have to be more intentional with keeping those contacts. So even if you all can’t move to be closer maybe what is good is that you have intentional family time. Pick a week to all gather together, which can have just as many benefits as getting to spend a small amount of day to day time together.

      1. CheeryO*

        This is an excellent point. I would argue that my partner and I have a closer relationship with his parents than mine, even though mine are physically nearby and his are a road trip away, because we intentionally keep up with his family with regular calls, and our visits are longer and more planned out due to the logistics of traveling.

        Of course, if you’re looking for regular baby-sitting or other concrete support, all the intention in the world won’t replace being in the same city.

  54. lazuli*

    I would caution you not to discount community/friends (for either you or your parents). Family and work are definitely important, but so much depression and other mental-health issues can arise from being socially isolated, especially as people age. We tend to be rather cavalier about building (and abandoning!) local community in the U.S., and I think we sometimes need to correct for that tendency in our thinking.

  55. kittymommy*

    I would think you all need to have a real conversation together and with your individual families regarding what is most important to each (non-negotiable) and what can be compromised on. Are people willing to switch career fields? Are you willing to move away from a community? IA lot of these are probably going to be questions your parents ask themselves. It can be harder for older adults, especially after retirement, to find similar communities in new areas, especially if they are the type of people who value those relationships outside of strictly familial ones. Will they live with you all or have a separate house and what will those implications be on your family?

    For your brother (assuming he is not married as I read it) would there be any locations that he could stay in his field but not necessarily be so far away? Maybe the next state over? If he is married and/or kids, what do they think and are the in-law families to think of?

    Finally, really examine how much living in the same state will actually affect your day-to-day life. I have a lot of extended family and the ones who live in the same state don’t see each other as often as one might think. All the stuff that keeps them busy now is still there and even travelling 2-3 hours away ends up being “a thing” when it happens a lot.

    Good luck!

  56. Pucci*

    One thing for the parents to consider – as their friends retire, many of them will move to be near their own children. They shouldn’t count on their friends always being there. Also, as the parents age, they will need to be near a child. Moving earlier rather than later allows them to get to know their new community before illness etc hits.

    1. 867-5309*

      Just a counter-point: Parents don’t need to be near children. While it sounds like OP’s family is especially close and perhaps that is the plan they all want (for the kids to care or help care for the parents when the time comes), many aging adults manage without kids nearby either because of choice or necessity.

      I think we have the wrong perspective to think as people age it’s their responsibility to make our lives as easy as possible for care. They are still valuable, contributing members of society and their choices, relationships and lives deserve as much consideration. In many cultures, it is considered an honor to care for the elderly and it’s not expected the elderly will acquiesce to fit into their children’s lives.

      –steps down from soapbox– :)

      1. Colette*

        Agreed. And if the parents have friends, hobbies, a faith community, a support network, that’s a lot to give up to be near their children – especially since their children have their own lives and won’t be able to fill all of their parents needs for socialization.

        It’s every bit as valid for the parents to want to maintain their current life as it is for the OP to want to keep hers.

      2. Pucci*

        I went through a very difficult, expensive, and time consuming process with a relative who lived far from all family but needed care. If I hadn’t have had a job flexible enough to accommodate a three year nightmare (and fortunately I have good PTO), the relative would have ended up in adult protective services. This relative, who had never been selfish on the past, was extremely so in this.

        Another relative, one the other hand, moved close to family, making addresses issues of aging so, so easy. It has been a gift to us, the children, And I make sure to thank them for it.

        Granted, the relative in question are much older that OP’s parents, but health issues take over more rapidly than people expect. Responsible adults need to plan accordingly.

      3. Daisy-dog*

        Yes. My grandfather is not interested in leaving his hometown no matter what. My mom makes it work from a distance.

  57. almost empty nester*

    My husband’s family is facing this, with elderly parents and 4 kids in different locations (including one who lives in another country). Only possible advice is for the parents to pick a kid and move. If not directly near one of them, at least move to an area that’s somewhat evenly split between the kids. There are no easy answers to this one.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      My mom had a friend with two children – one lived in her town, and one lived 14 hours (driving) away. She chose to move to an area that was halfway between them, but found she didn’t see either child very often (because 7 hours is a LONG DRIVE) and ended up moving back to her first town.

    2. Colette*

      Moving to an area split between the kids has all of the downsides (moving! having to build a new support network!) and none of the upsides.

  58. FormerProducer*

    This is really tough! OP, I would think about doing a weighted decision matrix. Basically, make a list of everyone’s criteria, and then assign a weight to each value. For instance, maybe you would like living somewhere with 4 seasons, but it’s not that important in the scheme of things so it gets weighted a 3 instead of a 10.

    Then make a column for each scenario, and rate how well each scenario delivers on each criteria. Then you multiply rating by weight, add it up, and see the score for each scenario. (There are better explanations floating around the internet, I’m sure.)

    A weighted decision matrix isn’t the final say, but it helps you get really specific about what is non-negotiable, what is really important, what is nice to have, and what is sort of negligible. It’s a great discussion starter if you do it together.

    Also, congrats on having wonderful relationships that you’re all trying to nurture thoughtfully! This is really sweet. I hope you find a good solution.

    1. "Should I stay or should I go?..."*

      There’s also doing a pro/con list for both options. Usually you do a pro/con for one option but this would be doing pro/con for both an option and it’s opposite. Though you’d have to take it with a grain of salt because you have a lot of options so maybe you’d just do a simple version of stay vs go. The pro/cons for staying and the pro/cons for going. At least writing things down will help get some clarity on all the ideas bouncing around in your head.

  59. Wherehouse Politics*

    As part of three siblings who had to pitch in for ailing, now deceased parents, no option is easy. That said, if parents want and expect ongoing longer term help, they need to relocate to the places their children are growing their lives and careers.

  60. Chronic Overthinker*

    If your folks are still fairly able-bodied and have a decent retirement savings, it might be easier for them to move to you. My other thought, as other commentors have suggested, is seeing if your work could be done remotely. Technology makes it surprisingly easy to work from home but it would depend on your field of work. I too understand how nice it is to have family close by. It’s much easier to drive for two hours to visit my parents than to have to fly.

  61. GreyjoyGardens*

    My parents, uncle, and grandma had a somewhat similar version of this, minus the unicorn jobs. Mom (the older sibling) and Dad moved to my state. Uncle followed when he attended college, and decided to stay. Because Mom and Uncle were in childbearing years, Grandma decided that she would be the one to sell her house and move to where her children lived. She did, and it worked out well, and I am a better person for having my Grandma as another caregiver. My uncle was a single dad for a time and it helped to have Grandma available to him as well. Then when Grandma declined, Mom took care of her (without Uncle lifting a finger, but that’s typical of siblings).

    In my parents’ and uncle’s cases, it was easiest to have the retiree – Grandma – move. For those worried about older people giving up their social lives, doctors, etc. it worked for Grandma, because she was a church member (she just found a new church in her same denomination and it was a breeze to integrate herself), and pretty adaptable and had a lot of interests. And she was still healthy when she moved AND the area where she lived had plenty of doctors.

    OP, how healthy are your parents and how adaptable and social are they? Do they do OK with change and making new friends, do they have hobbies and interests that translate well to a move? Or are they set in their ways and have few hobbies or interests? Unless you think they will really wilt in a new place, the best solution may be to stay where you are (because your DH probably won’t want to give up his unicorn dream job for YOUR parents), find a condo close to you, or an in-law unit, and move your folks in with or near to you. And then the family can help Brother fly out to see you if he needs the financial help (save up your frequent flyer miles to donate).

    Good luck! Keep us posted. This is going to be a growing conundrum for a lot of families as we become more scattered around the globe.

  62. blackcat*

    This might sound really harsh, but I don’t recommend making plans based on a hypothetical baby (either first or second). I’ve had too many friends buy a big house, move, etc for a potential kid and then have difficulty conceiving that kid, and the sacrifices they made for a potential kid make infertility that much harder. Heck, with one person, the simple single to double stroller she bought became a really painful thing when she wasn’t able to have a second for a long time.

    So my advice is to wait. Once you’re actually pregnant or have a baby, reevaluate. Things seem really good right now! You’re trying to make plans for a future that may not come to pass, so avoiding making decisions for a couple of years may be easiest. Then you’ll have more information.

  63. Jayne*

    My question to you are what you are missing living in different areas and is there technology to help rather than move people around? Not meant meanly–(Disclaimer: my family is not that close at my level). A friend of mine has a phone call roundup each week where on a rotating basis one person calls around and gather the family news and pass it around. She also Skypes with her grandchildren and reads them bedtime stories on a regular basis. I acknowledge that it not the same as living nearby, but she had three children that are still in the mobile phase of jobs, including one in the military.

    If proximity is a higher priority for your family, you may have to work out either who would have the hardest time getting a job outside of particular parameters (your brother and the sea/husband with one-of-a-kind dream job?), who is the most set in their locality (your parents?) or who has the hardest time making friends/getting settled. Getting everyone to agree on the priorities with resentment would be the key here. How honest can everyone be in those types of discussions in your family?

    A final gut-check question I have for you is that all of the people are on the board of wanting to live close, but it is easy to speculate about moving and how wonderful it would be. However, once things come to brass tacks, there might be some resentment, especially since it seems like there is not a “just-right” Goldilocks solution.

  64. remizidae*

    Flying once a month doesn’t actually sound that expensive–especially if the 5 of you can share the expense. If this is important to you, you can likely cut other expenses in order to come up with a few hundred dollars a month. I don’t know what your budget is like, but you might decide that you’d rather spend money on this and cut spending on the new cars, dining out, long commutes and expensive housing that are typically big portions of a family budget.

    1. new kid*

      Where are you flying that it’s a few hundred dollars for two plane tickets?? (3+ once kids are involved)

      I just have the one ticket for me but when I fly back to see my folks in the midwest it’s pushing $300 even in the off season and it got over $400 for Christmas.

      1. remizidae*

        If it’s $300-400 per ticket, it’s from 300-400 if one person flies to 900–1200 if three people fly. Divide that by the five people who can split the expense, and you get $60-240 per month. Not very much at all!

        Obviously I don’t know the exact numbers, but OP should give the frequent-travel option some thought instead of ruling it out for financial reasons.

    2. Temperance*

      What you’re suggesting here is that OP, her husband, and her kids give up all basic comforts in life to visit family on a monthly basis, and in ways that don’t really work. If you don’t pay for “expensive housing”, you’re either going to be completely cramped or have a long commute to work. A shorter commute is a tradeoff for higher cost of living housing.

  65. Apfelgail*

    Things I personally would worry about and want to factor in:

    -Accessibility and aging. Staying mobile and active is so important, but most US cities are designed for driving, not walking. You also want places with things to do that you can get to relatively easily. Are museums things your folks enjoy? Hiking? Music? Public transportation adds a lot to overall quality of life.

    -Healthcare system and aging/raising family. You want a state with good outcome numbers, transparency in things like hospital-acquired infection rates, maternal/infant mortality rates, and to be close to emergency services. That alone rules out a lot of rural areas and states.

    -Cost of living, especially since your parents will at some point be on a fairly fixed income.

    -Educational system.

    -Future career opportunities; not everyone wants to work remotely or is suited to it.

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      Hospitals are closing down left and right in rural areas. I’m reading about patients who have to drive for hours just to see the ONE doctor for fifty miles around. Aging in place in a rural area is just not do-able these days except for the very lucky few.

  66. Jellyfish*

    If the brother gets married and has kids, his spouse’s desires will need to be considered too.

    There are a lot of competing values in this situation, and I don’t know that anyone is going to be completely 100% happy. Everyone involved needs to figure out what they value the most. There aren’t any right or wrong answers here. Fulfilling jobs, good communities, and family are all important and all potentially worth making sacrifices for. Each person needs to make a cost / benefit analysis of what they want and what they’re willing to give up for it.

    If some value family more than community / jobs, then they are the ones who will move. If no one does, then it becomes important to plan family reunions and save for plane tickets.

    1. Jellyfish*

      Oh, I misread on the brother. It says he “also wants to live close once we have kids.” Thought it said once HE has kids. Still, the rest stands.

    2. button*

      I agree with this. When it comes right down to it, each party needs to decide what’s more important to them and act accordingly. You can’t get your parents or brother to move because you decided on a plan, after all–they have to want it.

  67. Arctic*

    I would strongly advise you not to move without a lot of forethought. Both you and your husband are in good places right now. And resentment could easily bubble up in your marriage and even toward your family if you move and are unhappy.

    At the very least, make sure you’d have a community there (outside family) and good jobs. Not just any job.

    A co-worker’s adult son and his wife recently moved coasts to be with her and her husband because they were planning on having a baby. They are all very close. Baby came and grandparents were over the moon. But the son and wife were miserable. They missed their life and their friends and their old jobs. Just this month they moved back to the other coast. They are giving up a lot regarding family support and babysitting. But they were really unhappy. (Co-worker totally understood.)

    And I’d say this to everyone involved. Family is so important. But you have to all be sure a move makes sense for you. It sort of seems that your parents will be in the best place to move.

  68. Ruth (UK)*

    Honestly, my opinion is that there is not actually a solution to this exactly. There’s not really anyone in a situation where they seem better placed to be the ones who move, and really I think it will boil down to individuals deciding which thing is more important to them – the living closer to family, or the things they don’t want to lose from their current locations.

    And because there are certain unknowns involved (such as whether people will be able to find another/new career/job they’ll find [as] fulfilling in the new location and so on), it makes it impossible to know what’s the best choice… It’s a matter of weighing it up at the time and trying something (or not).

    1. Ruth (UK)*

      Ps. to add, I have some personal context to help me relate to this as my mother is American but moved to the UK shortly before I was born, and so I and my immediate family live on a different continent to everyone else in my family – and my American family is spread over multiple states so even when I have managed to get across the Atlantic (most recently in 2014), I haven’t been able to see everyone.

  69. Another name*

    If you move forward with this plan, is everyone willing to stick to the place you all choose to move and never ever move again though, for any reason, no matter what?

    Here’s how this played out in my family.

    When I was 30, my family all lived in the same state, then I moved to another state for work, and a couple years later my sister moved to a third state for her husband’s job. My Retired parents left the community they had lived in most of my life to follow my sister because she had kids, and I visited on vacations and holidays. Sounds great right?

    Then my brother in law got a job transfer and they all moved cross country. A few years after that he changed jobs and they moved to yet another state. My sister and brother in law are my aging parents only support system now after several moves, and it’s really been tough on my sister to raise her kids and be responsible for my parents too. And now, a decade after all this started, they are looking at the possibility of yet another move for his job, and my parents do not want to move again. They all want me to move to where they are now, which is not somewhere I am going to move my family (I married since all this started and now have a family of my own to consider!).

    I say all this to say it’s hard to predict what is going to happen in the future, so you and your husband need to do what you think is best for your own little family.

    1. Frankie*

      This is where I end up. So much can change between now and when this would come to fruition. If it all ends up working out, great!

      But particularly establishing a new family, that’s something that in every way possible LW and husband need to do on their own terms, where they both feel like they can name their deal-breakers and make choices. Doing a big move oriented around LW’s family and then establishing a family of their own seems like it would be more difficult than vice versa. Starting a little family changes a lot of things in ways that are impossible to predict.

  70. bunniferous*

    I am in my early 60s, all grandkids out of state, but my friends are HERE and so is my life. In this scenario I would be staying put and advising my kids to stay put for now.

  71. Family Time All The Time*

    Let me just say, kudos to you for considering this. I think this doesn’t happen enough in the world!
    I married into a family that has lived by each other for a long time. We lived away from them for a short 7 months, and the remainder of the 21 years we have been married has been spent living in the same neighborhood and even the same street. We live 4 cul-de-sac’s down the street from my in-laws, and my sister-in-law and her family are a block away. It’s been amazing. We’ve given our kids an amazing childhood with going to grandma’s after school, being in the same school classes as their cousins, family dinner every Sunday night, sharing carpooling, etc. We live in a town of 350k so it’s not huge but not tiny either. We all have jobs that we like and my in-laws have since retired. If we were to move to a larger area we could make a lot more money, but we also have free childcare, as well as so much support and love. I say DO IT! It’s not always perfect, sometimes there is some overstepping, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. My sister-in-law and I call our kids “couslings” because they are cousins but raised like siblings too. When our kids were younger, it was so nice to have someone to trade off with, so we could go run errands and such.

    My husband’s other 2 siblings live 2 -5 hours away, just straight up the interstate. We see them several times a year for family events and our yearly camping trip. I have 3 siblings on my side of the family in our town and 3 siblings out of state. So between our two families, it’s a lot of time spent together. I love it though.

  72. Llama Lady*

    I initially was going to say maybe you all can compromise by picking a great central vacation spot. Like, buy a vacation property somewhere in the middle and commit to an extended vacation once a year. But if the idea/want is to be able to spend “average” days together, like have regular Friday night dinners then you would need to move near each other. So I would say that’s the first thought, do you all want to be close together to spend your day – to-day together or maybe its just to have some good quality family focused time that you can all commit to a couple times a year? In addition, I agree that having someone close to your parents is probably ideal but depending on their age may not be necessary now. From my experience parents in their 60-70s are usually fine on their own, but once they get 80-90s it is really helpful to have family near by. So I would factor that into your game plan. I agree that this is something that (depending on what you really, really want) can be a long term game plan. If your husband just started his dream job and your parents are okay on their own for now, and your brother is tied to a location specific job maybe you all make a 5 year plan for moving closer to each other. Or maybe decide to buy a vacation property in the middle, or maybe buy the vacation property as part of your transition plan so that you all can see each other. I don’t have children, so those that do feel free to tell me if this is true or not but my assumption is that moving babies shouldn’t be too hard unless their in school. Once their old enough to be in school than it would be bummer to move them since they’ve made friends and you’ve made ties to other parents. I can see that the stress would probably not be fun, juggling a baby/toddler and moving but at least they’re small enough to pretty easily go along for the ride. But most of these things it sound to me like these are not things that make this move a move that has to happen RIGHT now. Let your husband suss out his new job, let your parents see how retirement goes, wait to see when you get pregnant, wait to see how your brothers job goes. You have time to figure out what your plans will be.

  73. TootsNYC*

    Re: parents, and their friends.

    Friendships are important. but in a few years, they may find that their friends are themselves moving to be near the grandkids, or to warmer climes without snow, or are becoming less fit, or are moving into nursing homes or passing away.

    They’re in their 60s, so that might be way in the future. But it will happen. So maybe they can look around at their friends and make some predictions. And evaluate how close those friendships are, and whether some of them are really more a matter of proximity.

    The mother of a friend of mine found that all her own friends were moving out of Queens, NYC, to be closer to their kids. And she really had very few people around anymore. So she sold and moved to near her daughter.
    She did it while she was young enough to get out of the house and join in activities where she would make new friends. She bought a house near enough, but not THAT close.

    So that’s something for your parents to consider–at what point might it make sense to shift over to finding a new friend group in a new town? (Because they need things of their own, not just grandparent duty.)

    Can they visit for a bit, and try out some activities, or spend some time looking at the newspaper’s website, or Chamber of Commerce, etc., and see if there are things going on that they’d find interesting to be a part of?

    I think their life could be easier to move than yours–but truly good friendships are a richness that shouldn’t be discounted either.

    1. Frankie*

      Agreed, this is huge. Maybe it’s a community where people tend to stick around, or maybe the parents’ friends will start moving, too.

      That can happen for LW, too, honestly. I lived in a big city and loved it until jobs and friendships stopped aligning. I ended up deciding to move around the same time that several close friends moved, as well. It was good timing for all of us and I’m not sure I’d move back even though I loved living there.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I have lost every friend I had in earlier years in NYC.
        In fact, I’m fresh out.
        They moved away at different times, or they died.
        And it’s not that easy to make new ones; I pretty much don’t have time, or it’s hard to find them.

        So communities of friends are not permanent.

        1. LilySparrow*

          Especially in NYC. The turnover in our social circle was about 25% per year, we figured.

          It’s a very transient place.

  74. CorgisAndCats*

    Life sometimes throws curveballs…the best laid plans…all those familiar sayings about things unexpectedly changing…however, I really hope you find a solution that is workable for you all!! But please keep in mind that circumstances change and even if you do all end up in the same place it doesn’t mean that can’t change.

    My advice would be to break down the elements of living close to family and then determine which elements you most value. Is it the casual hang out time? the holidays celebrated together? the trusted childcare? etc. Once you identify what you most value then you can try to figure out how to get more of those elements even if you aren’t all in the same place.

  75. OperaArt*

    I’m like you, but 30 years down the road.
    I’m in my early 60s, like your parents. My mother is 85. My mother, sister and I live in three different states. I’m about 1000 miles away from both of them, and my sister is about 250 miles away from our mother.

    It’s a very good thing that you are thinking about this, but I want to point out that you (probably) have a lot of time to let the decisions get sorted out.

    I had an aunt snd uncle who RV’d around the country for a couple of years to test out potential future hometowns.

    In our case, it’s only been 2 or 3 years since my mother has started to need help. We will be helping her move to a wonderful senior living facility in her hometown when an apartment opens up. She really doesn’t want to leave her friends, activities, and lifestyle.

  76. Jennifer*

    Another thing to consider – is your husband close to your parents? Would they like to live closer to you one day or vice versa? What about his siblings? Same questions.

  77. Annie Porter*

    Just my two cents, as I’m lucky enough to live near my hometown and most of my family also stuck around so I haven’t experienced this exactly — but, if you’re thinking at all about this in terms of both your parents eventually helping with Be-be and you eventually helping with their needs as they age, you’re probably going to want to live REALLY close. As in same city/surrounding ‘burbs close. Even living a 45-minute drive away kind of prevents easy childcare and later, eldercare.

    That said, I think the working folks always get priority over the retired folks in terms of location, because working folks would be uprooting much more to make the move. In theory, you and your brother should decide between you what is most ideal (or least not ideal) and then your parents, if they want to move close to both of you, would abide by that decision.

    Good luck! It sounds like your family is pretty awesome.

  78. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Similar spread, dissimilar goals. My sister lives in a HCOL place, I am L/MCOL. My parents will be moving to where I am. This is expected to happen in 2021 probably. Please send patience.

  79. nnn*

    Two thoughts, neither of which are solutions:

    1. Having a baby is going to raise considerations that you haven’t anticipated yet, and retiring is probably going to raise considerations that your parents haven’t anticipated yet. It might be an idea to wait and see what these considerations end up being before making any permanent decisions.

    2. When assessing the idea of living close to each other, remember to keep in mind actual door-to-door travel distance, not just flight time or being in the same state or same region. For example, in my city, it’s possible to have a two-hour commute within the same city. It’s also possible (depending on your starting point and ending point within each city) to fly to another city several hundred kilometres away in less than 2 hours door-to-door. Similarly, when assessing travel costs, keep in mind gas, wear-and-tear on the car, etc.

    You did mention that you can’t afford frequent flights and I’m not trying to convince you that you really can. I’ve just seen people make decisions without taking into account the fact that local travel takes a non-zero amount of time and money.

  80. Librarian1*

    Ugh, I don’t know a good solution to this. I’d love to move back to my home state and be near my favorites and some close friends, but where I live right now is much closer to my brother. It’s hard. We’re not at a place where anyone is talking about moving though.

  81. AngelWings*

    No advice per se but I think everyone involved would have “being near family” as their highest priority. If your job cannot take place, either physically or remotely, near your family you have a decision to make.

  82. Me*

    I think you all have to figure out what you are and are not willing to do. The simple fact is it’s not going to be a dream scenario for everyone. Someone, and probably everyone is going to have to give up something. So what are each of you ok with giving up? Only you all can answer that. Frankly your brother sounds like he would have to completely career change – that’s a HUGE ask of someone.

    Sometimes what we want isn’t compatible with life so to speak. So what ways can you be close without physically having to be in the same space?

  83. Snow globe*

    I remember watching a Ted Talk a while ago that was about how studies have shown that the most important predictor of a long healthy life, more important than diet or exercise or genetics, is having good friends and an active social life. I’d be very hesitant to move my parents away from the friends they’ve had for decades, unless your parents are the really outgoing types who can make new friends easily. When they retire, they’ll have time to visit you and your brother, and you can visit them as well. In the meantime you and your partner can keep your eyes out for potential job opportunities closer to where they live; maybe something will come up.

  84. YA Author*

    My mom and sisters are my best friends. We’d love to live near each other! But we’re in four different states with our families. Here’s what we do:

    – Go home for holidays at the same time. We’re all married with children, so there are in-laws to consider. We have Thanksgiving with the in-laws and Christmas with our family, then switch the next year. We also choose other holiday times to get together (e.g. Easter, Labor Day).

    – Rent a beach house on Lake Michigan for a week each summer.

    – “Cousin Camp” for the kids together one week each summer at someone’s house. (Saves a week of day camp/daycare costs for the other two sisters!)

    – Annual Sisters’s Weekend in a city roughly between us.

    – Retired Mom drives to visit at least one of us a month. She’s into audiobooks, which help on the long drives!

    We’ve also taken other trips together as a group of 15 (e.g. Disney).

    1. Lizzo*

      +1 to this. This is how my super close father-in-law’s family handles all 20 of us being spread out coast-to-coast across six different states. We actually enjoy our time together a lot more by doing it this way–quality over quantity!

  85. Madeleine Matilda*

    Two thoughts here. My mother always says that grandparents shouldn’t move to be near grandchildren, because often the children/grandchildren may wind up moving again. With phones, social media, and periodic visits she has a great relationship with her many grandchildren who live across three states.

    On the other hand I have seen this work really well. The parents of four friends of mine moved to where my friends live. The grandparents have been a great support system for my friends and their children, helping with child care, driving to activities, and just being additional people close by who really love the children. If your parents do move, one thing to consider is that they build their own community of friends and activities outside of you, your spouse, and children. They can do this by joining local clubs, a church, volunteering, etc., which will help them build a life outside of you and your children.

  86. new kid*

    When I realized it was time to move on from oldCity, I definitely considered moving back to family. But the reality was that I never would have been happy in the 250,ooo pop. midwestern town my folks live in. Less job opportunities, less lgbt community presence, less to do in general, harder to meet friends my age. So ultimately I moved across the country to the big east coast city my best friend lives in and it’s been wonderful so far in the 8 months I’ve been here. What used to be a spontaneous 3 hour road trip to see family now has to be a carefully planned 3 hour plane ride though, and that’s definitely been an adjustment. But my parents often travel in their retirement and will likely move in the next few years to the coast somewhere, and my niece (my other family in the area) is 13 so will be heading to college in the not too distant future and might be moving for that as well. So while it’s difficult to be away from them, I know it was the right thing for me personally and I never look at is as a black and white ‘I chose work over family’ decision.

    tl;dr – If you do stay, please don’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty that you’ve ‘chosen work over family’ because that’s not what it is at all! Lots of things impact your happiness, but community/work/environment are all huge pieces of that and only you can weigh your own circumstances and know what’s best for you.

  87. Jake*

    My wife and I both had to take a substantial pay cut to move back home to a place with similar cost of living.

    It just comes down to if it’s worth the cost.

  88. nnn*

    Another thing to think about is what does life look like 10 years from now? 15? 20?

    For example, do sea captains keep going to sea for that long, or do older sea captains end up with desk jobs managing fleets? Is your husband in his one-of-a-kind dream job at the peak of his planned career path, or does he eventually plan to move up to something else? Once he has a decade’s experience in his dream job, will he have built up the capital to work remotely (if that’s possible in his career), or start a Dream Job Branch Office in another city, or work independently as a Dream Job Consultant?

    The answer might not lie in where you should all move now, it might lie in which direction you should all be pointing yourselves at for the future.

  89. I coulda been a lawyer*

    I had a friend whose parents were nomads in retirement. They’d spend December thru Feb with a son in the mountains (they all skied) and it would end with all siblings skiing together, then one taking mom& dad home with them for a few months, everyone together for a long weekend or week, another kid took them home with them, … repeat all year. They had seasonally appropriate clothes at each house, just travelled with a suitcase or two. Might not work with only 2 of you, but how many siblings do your parents have lol.

  90. Goldfinch*

    Super-niche concern: what are the filial responsibility laws in the states you’re considering? There are a few states that have draconian precedents, South Dakota and Pennsylvania in particular. If you are considering moving your retired parents away from their lifelong home/community support system, it could be argued that you are accepting responsibility for their long-term care. Down the line, this could mean that if their estate runs dry due to eldercare needs, you’ll have to foot the bills.

    This could get incredibly complicated. You need advice from an eldercare attorney.

  91. Chris*

    You mention you have good friends where you’ve been living for five years – your parents probably have friends they’ve known for longer than you and your brother have been alive! You have to weight their friendships more heavily than yours in this. When they agree to “Gee, we wish we all lived closer,” they’re probably wishing you and your brother would move closer to them.
    Maybe you could all rent a cottage or something and spend summer holidays together.

  92. Middle Child*

    I’m glad I don’t have to make this decision. My parents are still in their 50s and working…my dad and stepmom moved out of town over 10 years ago because his job relocated. They still live in that area and he still works for that company. I live 20 minutes from my mom and stepdad, but my other siblings left the area because our hometown isn’t a great place to build a professional career. I was lucky to find a job in my field here, but I’m considering changing to a path that doesn’t have jobs widely available around the country. (Remote can be done, but the remote jobs in the field are very competitive.) The brother may be saying he wants to move, but he may also be saying that because he wants to keep the family peace. I know I would not pack up and move if I had a job that couldn’t be remote or replaced in another location.

    And do the parents actually want to move or is OP trying to demand it?

    1. Middle Child*

      To clarify: Just because the husband and/or brother’s jobs can be done remotely doesn’t mean they will get to. They may not be able to find a remote job or their company may not have that kind of culture.

  93. Librarian1*

    I’m curious about what your husband wants with regards to HIS family, too. Does he want to be close to his parents/siblings/other families?

    1. Paralegal Part Deux*

      I want to know this, too, because he gets a say too in all this. It’s not just what LW wants to do.

  94. GrisewaldFamilyCrossCountryMove*

    Reading through other posters I agree that this is a situation that is better as a long term goal. To me it seems that your brother has the most “flexibility”. I’m curious if their location specific job is also seasonal. Maybe he doesn’t move but you all can find a way for him to get an off season job where you guys live or visit during the off season. Maybe he lives with your parents during that time. Instead of a granny flat maybe its a son flat, haha. Then you and your parents are in similar boats to determine where you would want to move/stay. You’re both looking at the infrastructure of the cities/states you want to live in. If you have children that would be comparable to the infrastructure your parents will need as aging adults. So you would need to see what location (either where you two are currently living or a new location) holds up on those sorts of infrastructure – community, cost of living, taxes, educational options, transportation, laws, etc.

    1. Middle Child*

      That sounds too much like middling in the brother’s work life to me. Unless he of course said he doesn’t mind living with the parents. I think OP can ask him to consider it, but interfering and finding a way for him to get a job isn’t OK.

  95. Free Meercats*

    I have no advice here. I live in the far upper left corner of the continental US and closest immediate family in Phoenix. The rest of the siblings and families are mid-Missouri and the east coast. We all like it this way.

  96. M*

    My husband and I live a 6 hour drive from my family and a 2-3 hour flight from his family. We got an airline credit card and use the points for airline tickets to see his family. We signed up for the frequent flier program which is great. When you open one you get extra points that usually amount to one or two tickets. We have the money to pay it off (so don’t just get one to get into debt!). We also use our miles to bring his parents out. If you book things early enough you can get great deals!

    Could you buy a place with an in law suite or more space if your parents helped with the down payment? Could they downsize and to a smaller place by them and spent half time with you half time with their family? Just thinking of some ideas.

  97. Not in US*

    I have not read the comments yet but this is what happened for us. My parents started to talk about moving 3-5 years ago. Where they were looking at moving did not make sense if the only reason they were moving was for us and to help out with the grand kids (and that was the only reason for the move). That was not an easy conversation to have but it was NECESSARY.

    About 1-1.5 years ago we talked to my parents and basically said that if they were going to move for us, we would be willing to help pay for a house in or very close to our neighbourhood because the costs are higher here than where they lived. We looked at lot over about 6 months and my parents never found anything they really liked. We kind of all gave up and then last June, they decided over a weekend they were moving and they were buying something in the condo building 3 blocks from our house – they had an offer in the following Tuesday and moved in the fall last year. Its been really good for everyone. If you had told me 5 years ago it would have been this good for all of us, I wouldn’t have believed it. My relationship with my parents has at times been a little rocky so this was a leap of faith. (My parents are excellent grandparents – that was never an issue).

    What I would say I learned from this is that in your situation, it likely does not make any sense for you to move – your parents should BUT they have to make that decision and be in the driver’s seat. My parents have no friends here – although they are making some slowly and are young enough to do so. We’ve also very clearly agreed that we will not move for work now that my parents have moved here. It was a condition of them moving and in my opinion fair. So you need to consider if you are willing and able to stay in the community you are in long term – whatever that means for all of you. In our case, pretty much means until my parents die. The decision for you or your brother to move – well I would lean towards your brother because its uprooting one person not 2 but there’s really nothing to say it should be that way or the other. But make the expectations clear on what this means and how long it is expected to be honoured.

    Also my parents made it clear that they wanted to do after school care for us – we talked out what that looked like, what costs we would cover, etc. We’ve both been really clear when something is a “we’re the grandparents and we want to spoil our grandkids” thing and when it’s something they expect us to pay for. They originally wanted to do 5 days a week – we started with 3 and we are all sticking with 3 because that works best for everyone. I would say our communication has never been clearer and we all make decisions regularly to not worry about the small stuff.

    Good Luck! I hope it works out for you.

  98. Phillip*

    Oof. As someone in an LDR for almost ten years that only recently was able to close the gap, I can only say it is really difficult even when only one person has to move. Based on your unique predicament, it sounds to me like the most likely outcomes will be either you moving to your parent’s state OR you moving to your brother’s state, but it’s super hard for me to imagine everyone being able to coalesce to a single location. Possibly everyone in brother’s state when your parents get much older.

  99. Jaybeetee*

    So my entire immediate family, and essentially entire extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins), all live within a 3-hour drive range, containing two large-ish cities (1 million, 2 million), a few smaller cities (10 000 – 200 000), and a whole lotta boonies. My dad’s side in particular has lived on farmland in this region for generations now. My dad lives rural, my younger brother and his partner live with him, my older brother and his family in a nearby town about 20 minutes away. I’m the “one that moved”, to a nearby larger city about a 45 minute drive from the lot of them. My mother, who grew up in this city, moved back after splitting with my dad, and she and I are about a 5 minute drive apart from one another. From my own doorstep, the furthest-flung relatives are about 2 hours away, but generally we meet in either the small town where most of my immediate and some of my extended relatives live, or on old family farmland that’s about 90 minutes out from me, but very convenient for other family members. Some relatives did live further away at times, but everyone has eventually moved back. It’s sort of a funny value system, especially when you come up against people who just assume everyone just sits down one day and chooses a city to live in, or people who are willing to move across the country to a place they’ve never even seen for their career. I have friends who get “itchy feet” and want to move cities every few years, and we all love each other, even if we don’t entirely “get” each other.

    Anyway, coming from this kind of background, and knowing the privilege of having a couple larger cities in the mix that can accommodate a lot of careers, I find, perhaps subconsciously, most of us chose careers that we wouldn’t need to chase across the country. My city is a govt town, I, my mother, and several cousins work for the govt in some capacity. My two brothers work together at my brother’s business. One of my cousins also owns a business in the area. Some cousins have PHds or other advanced degrees, and they’re lawyers, psychologists, and researchers who have been able to get jobs locally, even if they moved away for schooling for awhile.

    So it you really, really want to do this, and assume your husband and your brother both really, really, want to do this – is it worth them giving up the “unicorn” jobs for still-good jobs that allow everyone to live near each other? If your brother works on boats, is it a situation where he can live elsewhere, and commute in when he needs to be working? (i.e. is he someone who is at sea for weeks, then home for a period of time, or is this like a “daily river cruise” sort of job? I understand the “sea captain” thing probably isn’t the literal truth, but is it a job that works that way?)

    Alternatively, what sort of “togetherness” works for your family? I mentioned above a colleague I used to have who lived half a continent away from her sister, and a different half-continent away from her mother – and they were SUPER involved in each other’s lives. The distance didn’t seem to impede anything, though there were no kids in the mix in that situation. I feel one thing you or your relatives might regret, would be making all these sacrifices to all move to the same town or within a few hours of each other, only to find each family unit gets so caught up in their own stuff you all don’t visit much more often than you do now anyway.

    1. Frankie*

      That’s a really good point. I finally live “close” to my brother and his kids but we’re all so busy with jobs & family that we don’t see each other more than once every few months. It’s not on purpose, it’s just how it happens.

  100. Frankie*

    As others are noting, it’s hard to see coming out of this situation where everyone has their ideal.

    Frankly, if you are planning to try for a kid, I would absolutely wait until AFTER the child is born to make this decision. Children can have a huge impact on family dynamics in very unanticipated ways. You both might want job changes after that point, who knows? You might have to make choices differently based on what’s best for your child once they’re born. If you like what you’ve got where you are, have the kid in that context and then make choices from there.

    You all could make some hypothetical plans for the future while still allowing some time to enjoy what you have now. Particularly your husband’s new job–who knows where that will be in 5 years.

    But my guess is that people are going to have to make sacrifices. You’d want to be careful about trying to get people on board with things they might later resent.

  101. Mac&Cheese*

    Im 32 and moved to be closer to my husbands family at 27. Here are the issues and pitfalls we experienced.

    Work.
    Im the primary breadwinner and was able to get a job to move. But now 5 years later, I am feeling trapped. There arent jobs higher up for me here. Ill either have to commute or settle for a while. Thats a lot to ask of someone, and even a couple years of work sacrifice for your family can mean years of lower income in the future for your spouse.

    Friends:
    We had moved a lot prior to this last big move, so we were shocked at how hard its been to make friends. We basically havent made friends since moving. Now that people are older, suddenly we arent making friends.

    Kids:
    We moved into a big house with a large yard to grow our family. 5 years and a 2nd trimester miscarriage later, we are still childless. I highly caution folks our age to evaluate if they would move if they didnt have kids. If the answer is no, then wait until you have a child to move. Babies are portable! And babies and toddlers dont require a lot of space. Dont spend money on something not a given. I know so many people struggling with fertility in our cohort. We regret the large yard and house and the costs both in money and time its draining from us.

    Family events:
    Everyone loved the idea of living near each other! Now we do and its not as nice as we all thought. We get along really well! But we all had different ideas of what living near each other would be. And while visiting is always all about you, living close is not. We frankly had fewer family events then we did when we lived apart for a year or two. My husband and I had to pick up the event planning slack to get back to doing things as a family.

    Family moves:
    Things change and its hard to predict the future. We moved for our family, but his mothers finances have changed and her spouses parents are ailing. There is talk of them moving. Keep that in mind, the parents might move too.

    Not a family member:
    As the “in law” I dont have the shared history and family memories. While i get along with my in laws very well! My grandma in law is like the grandma i never had. But im not a family member and it comes out in subtle unintentional ways. From not being able to chime in on the “remember when” conversations to feeling like a low priority it can wear on you.

    Community:
    We never grew a sense of community here. We miss that.

    Spouses perspective:
    I think your spouse and you need to reflect on what they are being asked to give up. Personally I feel that losing my career and being the “in law” is too much. What would i have left if I didnt have my career after losing my friends?

    Benefits:
    Even with all the pitfalls Im glad we moved. Those 5 years with his grandma are priceless! Ive made some amazing memories. Ive grown closer with almost all of his family. And its so nice to have a support network. Had a bad day at work? Call the inlaws over for cocktails! Unexpected travel? Family will take care of your pets.

    No one can make this decision for you. Evaluate your wants and needs. Good luck!

  102. AnonToday*

    This is my personal story, which ends with Someone Is Going To End Up Not Happy.

    When I was in my early 20s, my only sibling left our home state for spouse’s job, and they took my only niece/nephew with them (obvi), who were toddlers at the time.

    A couple years later, our parents retired and moved (from our cold clime) to sister’s warm clime, and enjoyed watching their grands grow up (and had very close bonds with them, as it should be).

    I always hated Warm Clime, and my spouse’s family is local (and close), so there was no way we would follow my family south.

    Result: I’ve spent my entire adult life separated from my family. It hurts, I regret it happened this way, but there was nothing for it. No way they would/could move back, no way we would move to them.

      1. AnonToday*

        Exactly. At least we have the closeness of spouse’s family, here, to enjoy.

        But honestly? If I think about it too hard, I weep at the years we’ve spent apart. Can’t get that time back.

  103. MoopySwarpet*

    I think this is something that can be discussed in more detail, but it sounds like the point(s) you are in your lives is not quite where you need to be to uproot 2-3 households. When the time is right, the pieces will fall into place. Right now, it sounds like you all want to be closer to each other, but you each want it to be in your own current place. Obviously, when your parents are both retired, they will have an easier time of just moving since they don’t have to worry about employment.

    I would probably wait until your employment situation changes and/or your kid(s) get to school age and hope the answer becomes more clear between now and then. Whenever any one of you has an opportunity to make a change like that, you can all discuss options at that time.

    It does sound like your brother might be the sticking point, though, since his job can only be done in a small number of actual locations. That might be the easiest starting point. Which locations are within a reasonable physical distance of his opportunities? Of those, which are the most retirement friendly? And of THOSE, which have the best schools and the best job opportunities for you and your husband? I would also take int consideration where get togethers are most likely to happen and be sure that location is centrally located and easy to get to/from for everyone else.

    My family is fairly close emotionally, but my sibling with kids is definitely the hub. All major celebrations are at their house. Which makes a lot of sense since both spouses have family in the area and everyone is invited. Our parents and sibling’s in-laws all live within 30 minute of each other. Myself and my other sibling are each about 4 hours drive from them and in opposite directions of each other.

    However, my family unit is planning to move to the hub in the next couple years. Just waiting for my boss to realize this can be done remotely. That will leave the final sibling still removed, but I think when/if job circumstances change, the hub may call (job is definitely not something that can be done remotely and is fairly specialized).

  104. Onerous Amorphous*

    I relate so hard to this. My husband and I are in our late 20s and living in an expensive coastal city, where we have a lot of friends and professional networks. But the cost of living is high, and we have transferable careers, and our families are scattered to the wind, thousands of miles away and hundreds apart from each other. Most of our vacation time in any given year is spent traveling to go see them and that gets tiring. We want to buy a house and have a baby, but can afford neither of those things in our current city. We’re trying to decide when and where to move but it’s been hard!

    My parents have been hinting for grandkids, but they’re the ones who moved to one of those retirement villages in Florida… ugh.

    I don’t have a lot of advice but I definitely sympathize, and I think this is slowly becoming more common.

  105. HeronByTheLake*

    I recently heard about Grandma Pods (or Granny Pods). They’re similar to tiny house that can be set up on property where your parents could have their own living space — but nearby. Might be an idea for when the parents have retired and maybe want to maintain 2 residences. Of course, the cost may be too prohibitive.

  106. LPUK*

    I empathise with this one. My parents live an hour away from me ( so not dauntingly distant, but further than I would want to travel every day if needed). Their house is lovely but very rural, no buses, no pavements even on a narrow twisty road, no nearby shops or medical facilities. Nothing without a car basically. I wanted them to move closer to me ( I am in an edge of town location where everything is easily walkable and had even earmarked a couple of houses in their price range which had everything they wanted) about 11 years ago.Mum was eager to come but Dad didn’t want to leave the house. Got them to agree to putting the house up for sale, but the comments from early viewers were that living room was too small. I paid for room to be extended to make house more saleable, thinking I’d get the money back when it sold, Dad liked it so much he changed his mind and here we all sit 11 years later, them over there and me over here. Dad is 80 now in poor health and reliant on Mum to get him to a succession of different hospitals and clinics; he’s too infirm to look after the large extended garden he loved and do the maintenance on the old house he used to do, so that falls on my Mum also, and the retirement fund that was for travel and fun is spent on tradesmen…. and I can provide limited help as I’m still in full time work an hour away. Plus they never see the grandkids because they are young adults now they don’t want to go visit at weekends when it clashes with their weekend jobs ( and frankly my parents are no longer up to overnight visitors). And it’s too late to move them because my Dad is now enmeshed in a complex web of different consultants for his many different illnesses, plus clinic and blood tests and infusions, and my Mum is depressed and we’re all stressed… and I wish I’d pushed more because it could have been so much better for all of us

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      This is a crystal-clear example of why, if the grandparent generation moves, it has to be done in one’s 60’s rather than one’s 80’s. And also, unfortunately, some people can’t bloom unless they are planted in very specific soil, which it sounds like your dad is.

  107. Ellie May*

    LW never really says that her husband is onboard with this plan – she talks about her parents and brother. And LW talks about her husband leaving his dream job …. for her permanent family reunion?? Um, what about his family?

  108. MoveApartTogether*

    I had a former neighbor that was in this same situation, her siblings were spread across the country and wanted to be together while raising kids.

    Here’s what they did:

    Each of the 4 siblings researched cities. They looked at things like cost of living, activities they enjoy, job market, weather, etc. They then each picked a city they thought met their needs and created a powerpoint presentation on why that city would be best for their entire family family (4 siblings, their spouses, kids, and the grandparents). They then held a party where they presented their cities and “pitched” their other family members on their choice.

    In the end, they chose Denver, Colorado (2 of the siblings chose Denver to present on). She and her husband moved from Atlanta to join the family in Denver and they seemed really thrilled!

  109. Safely Retired*

    This could turn out really, really badly. Let even one of the movers have a rough time of it and “I did this for you and now look at things” will loom large over it all.

    I suggest staying put, and continuing to wish you were closer. Make your own friends, make your own way, and live your own lives. My family (my siblings and I) gets along fine. We are in three different states, NJ, MI, CT. My sister’s family gets along fine, spread across NJ, VT, CA, NC. We all wish we were closer, but we all are living where we want to live, and enjoying our lives where we are.

  110. TooTiredToThink*

    I was seeing a lot of fussing in the comments so decided not to keep reading – if I mirror/echo anyone else, sorry…..

    One of the things that popped in my head: Why does it have to be one of those 3 areas? Maybe there is a 4th area that you all can thrive in ?

    Personal Bias: I do think its easier for the parents to move than it is from you or your brother to move.
    Things I’ve noticed as barriers for moving for older generations:
    They love their doctors (and honestly, as you get older this is really kind of key).
    They need friends/community.

    Your parents sound like they’ve found their friends/community. Do they make friends easily? If they do, then take a look at the area’s senior community. Is it something they can plug into? What about religious organizations (if any?). What about the environment – do they have any medical challenges (or are at risk for challenges) that make the climate of any of the places a factor (i.e. history of congestive heart failure makes places with high humidity more difficult or severe allergies to the pollen of the region). Also, what are their post retirement plans? Do they plan to travel, or are they hoping to be full-time grandparents?

    Your brother having a specialized local job is what made me wonder if there might be a 4th (or more) locations out there that makes everyone happy. What is his support structure like where he is? Is he happy there?

    Also – does he *really* want to move to be closer to everyone or is he secretly happy that he has a built in excuse that he can’t move because of his job?

    Can your husband’s dream job become a telework position? You can teach dance anywhere, so I don’t personally believe that to be a hurdle to consider.

    What if you all just start *selectively* applying for positions to see what happens?

  111. Qwerty*

    Retirement can result in a lot of lifestyle changes, so wait until after your parents retire before making the big family move. In the first couple years of retirement, my parents’ hobbies and activities changed, as well as what they were looking for in a community. No one would have imagined them moving to their current location if you had brought it 5yrs before.

    As parents, your needs will also change in the next few years. Maybe you’ll want to be more in the suburbs, or in a better school district, or find a different work/life balance for parenting, or even just the dream job won’t shine like it used to. Maybe your brother will start wanting a more indoors-y job or will need to move to a different state.

    I’ve done the move for family twice. I do not recommend it unless you have other things drawing you to that location. You need to also be happy with the life that you’ll be living when you aren’t with your family. I’m very happy in my life now, but I know if I had made my move a year earlier before I came to love my current city, I would have been very unhappy.

  112. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

    I’m going to be Debbie Downer here and ask whether y’all **really** want to do this. A branch of my family did this a few years ago, first my uncle, then my great-aunt, then my mom, all going to a Southern state from a Northern state, leaving behind a fair chunk of the rest of that family. In that time, uncle has clashed with great-aunt about her spending habits, mom turned into great-aunt’s caretaker (after having moved expressly to be on her own and stop having to take responsibility for other people), and mom has discovered a nasty controlling streak to uncle that she doesn’t like. Meanwhile, mom has strained ties with the members of the family still up North and has already talked about coming back.

    Do you know each other well enough to know that uprooting your entire lives to cluster together is not going to cause any tension amongst y’all? Are you absolutely certain that none of y’all will resent the rest of the family for giving up the places and people you’ve developed roots in/connections with?

    1. Sc@rlettNZ*

      Yeah, I was wondering about this too. The perfect extended family life fantasy may in fact end up to be very, very different in real life when everyone is living in close proximity.

      1. PicoSignal*

        Nah, a big family full of cousins growing up together is awesomesauce. Nothing beats it! We’re doing it, we love it.

  113. Artemesia*

    Here is what we did. When we retired, my husband and I moved to our daughter’s city; she had the grandkids and was lease likely to move (and in fact our son has lived in 3 cities during this time) It has been perfect. We have created a new social life here in the city and have plenty of friends after 8 years here. We are a constant part of our grandkids’s lives — I am an asst Scout leader for my granddaughter’s troop and have her overnight one night a week regularly. We have family dinners or outings several times a month and we can step in for emergency baby sitting. It has been glorious.

    I don’t think you can expect a young family with two jobs that are good and career building to move; it is on the older generation. And with siblings spread around well that makes it perhaps impossible but if anyone is fairly mobile in their career they can at least look in the area where the more established people are and perhaps find something.

    My parents missed out on being grandparents because they refused to make the move. Their choice and everyone’s loss.

    My daughter’s MIL has a busy social life where she was, but at retirement she moved to the city where her two daughter’s and 7 of her grandchildren are and has also loved being more a part of their lives.

  114. Interviewer*

    Everyone seems okay with this plan, but everyone also has reasons they shouldn’t be the ones to move. So, are you sure everyone is actually okay with this plan? Financially, it may be tough for people approaching retirement to consider buying a new home, or single people to save up enough to move to an area, especially without a lot of job prospects. People who spend enough time in their towns/jobs get attached for all kinds of reasons. Uprooting them for the possibility of family togetherness may not be enough motivation (yet). If you can’t get any traction now, wait until an actual baby is here and see if that spurs action.

    But my in-laws have been telling us they are house-shopping in our city to be closer to the grandkids. They started that chatter 15 years ago. I’ll believe it when they show up with a moving truck.

  115. Robin*

    we have this issue. My inlaws are in the deep Midwest, not many jobs there. I am on the East Coast with a great job and a good social life, and my husband I bought a house here. My sister in law is in entertainment, with a tenure track university professor husband. Tied to a west coast state. My other sister in law and brother in law are in a tenure track on the northern east coast. The way we handle this is traveling. I am looking forward to visiting the west coast this year. It isn’t likely to change, unfortunately. there are a lot of places where there are very limited jobs, and especially if you have a specialized field you HAVE to live certain places.

  116. JessicaTate*

    After reflecting on my own journey and reading through the comments, I’m having a kind of zen moment. My advice is to focus more on the NOW, and ease up on deciding an exact path for the future since the short- and long-term pieces of your puzzle are not fitting together. I’m reminded that the only constant in life is change (and usually unexpected change, at that).

    A lot of the if/then scenarios you are gaming out rely on your expectations and assumptions of what will happen in several (or more) years’ time – a baby, retirement, brother’s relationship status, etc. If you make a bunch of big changes now that are predicated on all of those assumptions occurring exactly as you envision them… I don’t recommend it. You won’t be as happy as you can be now, and rarely does the future (and our feelings about it) play out exactly as imagined. Circumstances change. Feelings change. Shift happens.

    Remind yourself that no decision is forever (OK, a kid is forever, but other than that). I agree that everyone should think critically about priorities. Right now, those sure as heck point to you all staying where you are, in very happy lives, and just suck up the annoyance of travel/videochat. For now. Meanwhile, everyone should keep reflecting, reassessing, and communicating about it, particularly as things change. Make decisions based on the accurate information as you live your lives. There are always trade-offs, and from someone who’s been there, you can’t foretell what will be more important until you’re closer to the thick of it.

    Yes, moving is hard. But, much like having kids, if will never be the perfect time. Make the best choices you can in each moment. No choice is truly forever, particularly moving. If you have the kid and are like, “Ugh, our support system locally just abandoned us because they all hate kids! We are so alone!” Reassess then. Does moving to family now seem more important than jobs? You won’t know that until you are IN it. Maybe your local chosen “family” will fill the gap, and you’ll be like, “Whew! Glad we didn’t uproot!” Same for grandparents. I’ve seen friends’ folks move to be near their grandkids, get burnt out on being “free grammy daycare”, and actually move back to their hometown. You won’t know how you’ll really feel until you’re in it.

    For me: I moved to the other side of the country in my 20s because I didn’t think being near family was important to me and I was ready for adventure. After a year, I realized I didn’t want to be next door to family, but I wanted to be driving distance. So, I reassessed my job/life situation, my priorities, and I figured out what mattered, laid the groundwork, and moved. Later, I made my “lifelong dream” of living in NYC happen. It was great for years, until one day, I realized it wasn’t. I changed, and I was sick of X, Y, and Z about it. So, I reassessed, talked with my partner/family, and we moved to what was the right-spot-right-time at that point in my life.

    I know it’s hard. I’m a planner/solver too. But I’ve absolutely learned that my worst life-choices (particularly around geography) came when I focused on maximizing some assumption-fueled future life, at the expense of my immediate understanding of myself. And the best choices reflected my priorities and needs right now. Good luck.

    1. CaliCali*

      This is a really, really good comment. Choose what works for you currently. The future is very unknown.

      1. Original Letterwriter*

        I agree. Reading it eased some kind of stress deep in my chest, even though you don’t shy away from the “this is hard and you can never know for sure” stuff.

        Thank you.

    2. Jack Russell Terrier*

      Fantastic reply! I’m a planner too and I’ve learnt (with the help of yoga) to me go with the flow

  117. Be Kind, Rewind*

    In theory and on paper it sounds wonderful, but in reality, it will take a lot to make it happen. My parents were going to retire early and spend 4-6 months a year in the city I live in. Except my Dad took his retirement and then the economy broke down for a while, so my Mom continued to work. Dad did other things. Now they are fully retired, but my kids no longer need a babysitter. They visit 3-4 weeks a year and my kids visit them 3-4 weeks in the summer. One of my siblings (considerably younger than me) shortlisted a college in my city, but then decided to go somewhere else entirely and wound up living there for a few years post college- and a few hundred miles from everyone else- met a girl, got married and now lives near her family.

  118. Little Beans*

    I don’t know how anyone else can make this decision for you! It’s such a personal thing. But I will say that I left a job I loved to move closer to family. It was a little bit of setback for my career progression – first, I ended up taking a job that was a lateral move and not a great fit because it was too difficult to keep up a long job search from a distance. That first year was tough and I spent a lot of time missing my old job and my friends. It also took me a few years to reestablish my reputation in my new organization and feel like I was back to where I had been professionally before the move. I still regret the loss of friendships, people who I was really close to and no longer keep in touch with, and it was harder to make new friends in my new city. BUT I’m now expecting my first baby in a few months and so, so thankful to have both my parents and my sister nearby, I’ve been around to deal with the start of my parents’ health issues, and I’ve also moved into a new job that I’m really happy with. So overall, I don’t regret my decision at all. I don’t know how you decide who makes the move, but my advice would be to just do it – it’s going to be hard to transition no matter when, but the sooner you do it, the sooner you can start to build new networks and feel reestablished. Good luck!

  119. Been There...Done That*

    I am older and have had several friends, upon retirement, move to where their children are located – only to have their children move from that area. So….I totally get wanting to be near family…in fact one of our children did just that….the job promotion was the main reason, but the fact that grandparents were nearby helped factor into their decision. HOWEVER, if someone is contemplating moving near their children, leaving an area where you have lived for many, many years….make sure you are moving somewhere you would be willing to live, even if your children move. Also know that the older you get, the harder it is to make friends – when your children are home, you are able to make friends a bit more easily because through their activities and school, you get to know people.

  120. adk*

    Make a 5 or 10 year plan. I’m currently in year 6 of my 5-year plan. The plan for 2019 was to move to Colorado, the Denver area, to be with the family I want to be old with (in my case it’s cousins.) I put my parents on a 5 year plan too. In year 2, my sister had her first kid in California. If, by year 5, I had moved to Colorado, my parents would have no reason to remain in their giant empty house in Illinois. I put my sister on a 10 year plan to move to Colorado (her husband loves Colorado and would move in a second, but has a job he loves keeping him in California for now). In year 5, right on schedule, my parents sold their Illinois house and officially moved to California; they’re in a bowling league, and my mom joined her local Elk Lodge. In year 6, I am still in Illinois, but Colorado remains on my radar. I’m doing things like “saying goodbye” to Chicago by going to our favorite places, restaurants, and fests with the hope that we will move in the next couple years. I want to move now, but my husband isn’t ready yet with his job, his friends, and our house. So I’m enjoying what I have while I have it; making sure not to live for the future too much, but enjoy the present.

  121. Lizzo*

    We are facing similar conversations here, though the parameters are a bit different. Here are some specific things you might want to consider:

    **What is the timeline for your parents’ retirement? If they are not retiring within the next 2-3 years, you have time to think about this, and you should take the time. LOTS of things can change, and if you have this idea of wanting to relocate, when the opportunity for change organically comes up, you can hopefully make changes that will move you in the direction you want to go.
    **What kind of access to medical care will your parents need in their later years? How geographically convenient do you want this medical care to be?
    **What expectations do your parents have as far as who will look after them when they need daily care? Is that a physical or financial responsibility that will fall to you and/or to your brother? What sorts of long term care facilities might they need?
    **^^^How will this impact your family, and what do your spouses think? (Because this will have a very strong impact on their lives, too!)^^^
    **What kind of financial situation will your parents be in when they retire? Will they need to co-habitate with you or your brother, or will they be able to live independently (assuming their health is good)? How much would their monthly budget allow them to spend on housing?
    **What are **your** priorities as far as relocating? And I really mean yours! What do you personally need in order to thrive? For me, I need: cultural activities, diverse neighbors, good public transportation and cycling resources, a strong running/triathlon community, near both a larger body of water and a major airport. All of those things are ways that I feel a sense of community, and are things that I need in order to do my (remote) job well. What will it take for you, personally, to thrive?
    **How do ^^your priorities^^ match with your husband’s? With your brother’s? With your parents’?
    **What are your professional priorities? Looking back on my 20+ years of work, flexibility has been a key attribute to being able to thrive professionally and financially. How can you explore the possibility of being flexible for future work opportunities? This could include freelancing, going back to school to diversify your skill set…any number of things that broaden your potential opportunities. Same goes for your spouse.
    **What are your expectations for your relationships once you are all in the same place? Family dinner every Sunday? Someone to watch the kids while you and your husband both work full-time? Casual drop-bys on a daily basis? How do those expectations line up with how your relationships are now?

    Alternative scenarios to the “all in one place” option:
    Your parents move to be near either you or your brother, and the other sibling (& family) come to visit as many times as they like.
    Your parents have some sort of living situation where they spend significant chunks of time with each of you (think 1-2 months at a time), and then the remaining time at home.
    Nobody moves, but you create family traditions that help you maintain strong relationships despite the distance, and then make sure to have in-person time throughout the year to enjoy each others’ company.

    As others mention above, I think that someone is going to have to make some sacrifices. Take the time to ensure that those sacrifices are being made without resentment.

    Hope this is helpful! Best of luck to you as you navigate this very tricky and emotionally complex problem.

  122. Sc@rlettNZ*

    Just be very, very sure that you won’t move again for your jobs. My friends moved from one end of NZ to the other for her partner’s job – her parents sold their house and followed. A little over a year later, he got transferred back here and by that time the market had moved and her parents weren’t able to afford to buy again and ended up having to rent.

    1. Anonymous at a University*

      +1. My aunt moved to be close to her kids and grandkids, who at the time were all living in the same city. One of my cousins now lives across the country, another in a completely different part of the state, and one is pretty much nomadic because her husband keeps uprooting them all based on “visions” he has (long story). My aunt built a great community of friends in the city she’s in now and it has good resources for healthcare, so she’s decided not to move again, but her life is not the way she envisioned it being 10 years ago.

  123. not that Leia*

    I second (or third, or…) the recommendation for a decision-matrix. You don’t need to abide by the results, but it’s a hugely useful tool for having a discussion. I think one of the benefits is that it forces everyone to rank values/priorities in relation to others. So while in the abstract everyone says job, hobbies, commute, family are all important (and they are), if you have to put a number to things, you might realize that actually, for you, family and hobbies are more valuable than job. And your husband/brother/parents might actually have a different ranking. The matrix lets you see where there might be some compromises possible. We actually use this A LOT at work when there’s many stakeholders that need to agree on priorities for a project. The process of going through the matrix can be as valuable as the results.
    I’d also (since you’re not on a strict timeframe) start looking at possibilities in a more concrete way–like peruse job listings, real estate, etc. Even why not apply to jobs in other places, or take some group vacations to check out other cities. Hypothetical options tend to be harder to evaluate than concrete ones. So maybe you all start testing the waters in different (slow) ways, and see how you feel about the (real) options that surface.

  124. Lauren*

    I have several suggestions. 1. Have you been calling each other on the phone? If so, can you switch to video chat and can you do it more frequently? It’s by no means the same as living near someone, but it can help. 2. Can you all commit to taking one giant vacation as a family once a year? Maybe a long one, like two weeks or longer? You won’t be living in the same town, but you’ll certainly see a lot of each other in those two weeks and one giant trip can make up for smaller weekend trips that you can’t afford the flight tickets for. 3. If you do want to fly to see each other more often or just indulge in that big vacation, can you get a travel credit card with a great points bonus? Those points can help cover travel expenses. (But make sure to pay it off in full and on time every month, or the points won’t be worth it.)

  125. RagingADHD*

    There are a lot of important parameters that can’t be summarized easily in a brief question like this. This just gives us the status quo, which is exactly what has to change.

    What I would look at is the other factors that can give each person the best quality of life. Such as:

    –Weather and geography. This makes a big difference, especially for retirees who want to stay active and not be housebound due to difficult driving conditions.

    –Access to good quality healthcare. Very important for young families and aging parents.

    –Schools, especially the affordability of homes in a good school district.

    –The housing market for homes that enable aging in place. There are some regions where it’s hard to find homes without lots of stairs or a steep dropoff in the yard.

    — Demographics & resources of possible social networks. Isolation is especially hard on older folks and can affect their health. There may also be considerationd like cultural or religious communities.

    Not exhaustive, but those are the kinds of things each family member needs to consider to identify their needs and what would make a good tradeoff.

  126. For the Love*

    I live in a major metropolitan city, near my folks who live in the suburbs of my major metropolitan city. My sister lives about 4 hours north of us and my brother lives 5 hours south. My parents basically alternate visits every 6 weeks to see their respective grandchildren. (They are retired) As a family, we also convene upon the family home about 4 times a year for family bonding (and holidays).

    I don’t have children, so I generally go where needed, when needed (if I’m able). That being said, I have made it very well-known that I would gladly leave my major metropolitan city. My sister and I are very close (though much love for my brother) and so I basically look for jobs in her neck of the woods. (I am not doing this seriously, it’s definitely casual job searching as there are benefits that will help me in the long run if I stick it out in my city for another year or two. That being said, my parents have said if I move north, they will as well. (To be fair, I think if I moved South, they would move there… its a majority rules decision based on how many children live in a single geographic area)

    I’m not sure if this ramble of mine has helped. But, my parents seem pretty comfortable with how things are in terms of their regular interaction with their grandkids. I can guarantee that my mother will not be comfortable with moving, even if it was her decision and I wouldn’t blame her. It’s difficult starting in a new place after you’ve lived somewhere for nearly 50 years. But I also think she would acclimate and adjust to the situation and very much enjoy seeing some of her grandkids more frequently.

    In the end, I think the decision you make as a family has to work for all of you. And the option may not be that you live nearby, but that you live close enough and trade off on the challenges of travel to see each other somewhat frequently.

  127. CS*

    Lennar NextGen houses may be a good option for your needs to get your parents in your house but everyone to have their own living suites with separate entrances & kitchens. Richmond American has the Modern Living collection, which includes some of the second living suite homes too.

  128. K*

    My husband settled in my home city, not exclusively because I wanted to live here and close to my parents (although I did) but because the job opportunities were better than in his home city. It has still been difficult for him, and anytime he complains about the weather or traffic or whatnot, I think guiltily, “You only moved here for me!” (He would never say this.) And by this point I feel moving would be a bigger deal than when I was a younger adult. I’m attached to the place, much as my parents are. And, yes,my job is sort of tied to this region.

    One thing I’ve learned since we had kids; it is possible to be an involved grandparent even if you don’t live nearby. My in-laws travel to see us regularly and are fully part of my children’s lives. And when they’re here, they’re HERE: it’s not just a few hours. But if I moved anywhere it would be their city.

  129. Blue*

    I would try to all get together, and each make a list of your top needs, wants, and nice to haves about where you will live.
    Like, NEED access to healthcare. Want to be near friends. Nice to keep my current job. Etc.

    Then you compile all those into a ranked list to see which place fits the bill the best and serves the most of your needs. If living nearby is the top priority for all, I feel like this could help make a group decision.

  130. Tracey*

    You all have to write pros and cons for moving to you, moving to your brother or your parents. Meet up and compare.
    My guys says Mom and Dad need to move as you and your brother need to be financially stable for years moving forward with children.
    If your brothers job is that unique and you move to him see if your husband can work remotely and fly into his office maybe a week here and there.
    You could also consider having your folks go back and forth between you and your brother before your making a big move or him. Good luck!

  131. Marie*

    I was in a similar boar several years ago. At 29 I graduated from grad school and had many opportunities in a big city (with all my friends) on the opposite coast from my sister and a plane ride/8 hour car ride from my parents (and entire family). I ended up moving home with my parents. It was definitely hard at first – starting over professionally in a new place and making friends. And sometimes I get a little jealous of my friends in big cities with their cool jobs – but to me, family is more important than any job. I have a good job now and I can thrive here (bigger fish in a smaller pond). To me it’s priceless to see my extended family on a regular basis. And the further I get away from grad school, the less I see my career as defining who I am. Who I am is who I am outside of work!

    So my thoughts are you need to make a decision on what’s more important: family or career. Nothing is every perfect! You just have to keep your eye on the prize and live with your decision.

  132. Emmex*

    First comment ever.

    OP, if you can make it work I recommend it. We moved close to family 10 years ago for very similar reasons. At that time my 3 sisters and our parents lived in 5 different cities and most of us were long plane flights away.

    Somehow we all ended up in the same city at least most of the year. It’s pretty great.

    And having family in town when kids are ill or various other emergencies is pretty darn great. Or just for fun. I can take all our 5 kids for a day of cousin based chaos and then I get a day off!

    Anyhow, if you have the right family, it’s worth it.

  133. PicoSignal*

    My family did this. It took about 5 years from the time the first 2 nuclear families co-localized to the time all of the siblings’ families relocated. We just… decided to live in the same area and job searched accordingly. One sibling was already there, another had a good opportunity to move for a job, and the rest of us moved when we found positions. It can take time, so maybe don’t wait!

  134. George*

    I think it really has to be a bunch of separate decisions. Yes, you’d all like to be together. However, there is a different cost and benefit for each person/pair. The parents, for instance, have to decide what will ultimately be best for them: to stay if nobody can move to them or go to one of the other locations. Similarly for others. If the family closeness is a stronger driver, then one branch can make that choice.

    I think the big thing is not to feel like it has to be. It may or may not work out, but ultimately, you don’t want anyone to feel pressured.

    I would love be to have had my parents closet when my kids were young. They decided to relocate…. But to a place with a lower cost of living and no snow. For them, the lack of snow, affordability, and presence of golf was what they wanted… And they would be miserable where I am. .. just as I would be miserable where they are.

  135. Perpal*

    Ah, the two body problem (or rather, 3-4 body problem?)
    LW I don’t think you can come up with the right answer here. It’s sort of on each group to decide where their priorities lie and I don’t think you can force it without people being super resentful. If parents value being close to you over their established spot, they will make it a priority to move; same with brother. LW and hubby sound well situated and trying to turn all that around while also maybe having a baby sounds like a recipe for super stress and unhappiness. /unless something opens up near the parents that seems just as good/. So you can look but I wouldn’t force something, especially if LW and husband are just a few months into your dream jobs?
    I’m aware in-law suites are a little rare these days and can be pretty expensive to build or buy (because I had to figure this out!) but if it’s an option to do that agree having a good guest suite is perhaps the best of everything, outside of brother and parents deciding they want to move to you, especially if the parents are willing to come by and stay for long periods of time if / when you have a baby.

  136. There's probably a cat meme to describe it*

    What I would add to your ‘checklist’:

    For your parents:
    1) I’d suggest they make a list of all the friends in their current city and work out how often they actually see them in person. Put a number on it. If they’re only seeing each friend a few times a year, but they want to see you once a week, then it’d make more sense for them to live near you and fly home once or twice a year for a few weeks to catch up with everyone. If it turns out your parents are very social – seeing friends on multiple days a week – then this will be illuminating also.

    2) What kind of interests and hobbies do they have, what would they like to do more of in retirement, can they do that in New City and are any of them a way to make friends?

    For your brother:
    3) Ask him to consider how he sees his involvement as an uncle. Is he a show up for family gatherings and birthdays kind of uncle, or a drop in every Sunday afternoon to play with the baby while you have a nap kind of uncle? We tend to look at the arrival of babies in a very romantic light, but realistically, not everyone turns out to be as kid-friendly as we expect, and even loving family members have their limits. Your relationship as siblings will change once you become a parent. You are not going to be able to do the same activities, or talk on the same deep level you do now. Once your focus is on your baby, you will suddenly have less in common with him. He may find spending time with you in the midst of toddler-chaos stressful or boring or exhausting or unfulfilling. And that’s ok! That’s a normal thing for a lot of people close to new parents to feel. It’s not that he won’t love you or his niece/nephew, or understand why it’s like that, it’s just that spending time together will be vastly different to how it is now and his interest level in it may change. So be realistic about that, because the level of uncle involvement he wants needs to be weighed against the anyone’s decision to move. If you went through the upheaval to move to his city and then only saw him once every month for an hour, you’d probably have regrets, right?

    4) Consider the improvement for your brother just by having you and your parents in the same city. Would it be alleviating enough that not moving might make more sense for him?

    For you:
    5) As others have said, be very, VERY sure your husband wants this as much as you do. I adore my in-laws, and I would love if they moved to our city. But asking me to give up my dream job, my friends, basically my whole life outside of my marriage to go live near them..? That’d be a very big ask. Make sure you know where he stands because you don’t want to move to Resentment-ville.

    For everyone:
    6) Write an honest list of all the things you feel about moving, the things that you might not say to each other out loud because they feel too embarrassing or minor. Eg: change stresses me out; the thought of cleaning out the garage gives me hives; I hate the kinds of houses available in that city; I’d have to see more of my brother’s friend who I can’t stand; it’d mean driving on snowy roads and that makes me nervous. Stuff like that. If you find yourself at an impasse, it helps to know what the real pain point is, not the one that is being verbalised to cover it. Some of them may be dealbreakers you hadn’t considered. Some of them may help you to see where extra kindness, understanding and help is required.

    Hope this helps and good luck with the decision :)

  137. LLG612*

    Since I’m also in this, I think it’s a no-win situation and haven’t seen a commenter who has changed my mind, despite all my hoping. My husband and I are both only children and we grew up in different Northeast states about 75 minutes from one another. My parents have a robust social life and have refused to move. They’d be our biggest supports when we have a child (mid-IVF…so hard). His dad just…doesn’t care, even though my husband cares about him. Neither my husband nor I are happy in the northeast any longer but no parents will move. We are now in the position where we must stay where we are to have grandparents in the picture and we are both resentful even though we love our families. I wish there was a good solution, but unfortunately, I fear there isn’t. My guess is we will stay where we are not happy to be near family.

  138. Original Letterwriter*

    Hi all – I just want to say that I have gotten so many helpful ideas from these comments already, and I’m so grateful! I had a crazy thirteen hour day today so haven’t read through each one yet, but I’m excited to do so tomorrow. I agree that no matter what, of course there’s going to be some kind of compromise – there’s no perfect, everybody-wins situation, but it is SO great to a) just take a deep breath and remember that so many of us are going through these same thoughts and decisions, and b) to consider different facets that I hadn’t thought of, being so deep into it. I’ve gotten a lot of great specific ideas. And I think the many, many votes to not try to overplan too much, and to maybe wait until we both successfully conceive (fingers crossed) and my mom retires, will help clarify some of the decision points. And I’m also really excited to talk through some of these comments and ideas with my family, and to do some list making and deep thinking together. : D YOU GUYS ARE WONDERFUL

    1. Daisy-dog*

      It’s so great that you’re all having this conversation at least! We moved (with no children and from crappy jobs) to be closer to family/friends and then lots of them ended up moving based on their own circumstances. So the fact that you all have the same general goal is a great first step. You don’t need to make the second step until everyone is ready.

  139. Cleopatra*

    OP, so many people are facing the same kind of situation. I live in a whole other country than my parents, a country where I built up great friendships, started a career, met with my future husband, and eventually got the citizenship… And it looks that I want to stay where I am. My parents are a four hour flight (and a good 500$ per trip) away. I see them about three times per year (quite costly and this does not ligthen my carbon footprint…).
    In a few years from now, I think what can be good is if they can spend a part of the year in the country where I live, and the other part in their current country.
    This can be an option for you too. They can stay with you for about 3 or 4 months, and 3 months with your brother, and the rest of the year in their current city.
    I am aware that this is not ideal, because you won’t all be in the same city at the same time (with your brother) but it can be a good compromise in order to preserve your career, and for them to keep contact with their local community.

  140. Daisy-dog*

    I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re gonna have to get real comfortable with things being a little messy. Obviously you’re not okay with this because you’re asking this question before you’re even pregnant. The short answer: you’re not gonna solve this right away. It will be a process.

    Some of these things may solve themselves. The circumstances of husband/brother’s job may change to a point where they want a career change. Your parent’s friends may all move closer to their grandbabies and suddenly they have no social network there. Or your friend situation may change in other ways too.

    But it’s more likely that you’re just going to have to gradually make some changes. And things will not be the way that you want them to be, but everything will be perfect in its own messy way because it’s life. Good luck! Enjoy the process!!!!

  141. A tester, not a developer*

    Re. your parents having friends and activities where they live now – I’d suggest a bit of research to see what sort of senior’s groups/clubs/events there are in your city. My in laws are snowbirds, and they’ve actually discovered they’re more social in their winter home because there’s so many more activities for them to join – now they’re in everything from book clubs to competitive cycling, whereas at ‘home home’ they mostly just see their old friends for dinner and sometimes a movie.

  142. ExpatKid*

    So as a third culture kid, I have experience with family being spread out. We’re super close and love each other very much but realistically understand that living in the same country (right now, my parents are a 14 hour flight away from me and my sister is on the opposite side of the country). My dad is in an industry that he needs to basically work out of the Middle East or Asia to make good pay and to get the Immigration work permits necessary. My sister and I lived in the same city for university but I left a year after graduating After realizing my dream career would not be possible in that city and my sister decided to stay since she loves the city.
    It might not be what you want to hear, but you accept it and make your peace with it unless everyone is 100% on the same page. It’s not fair to ask anyone to sacrifice something so major such as a dream career (in my dad’s or my case) or quality of living and proximity to friends (in my sister’s case). Making friends in retirement age is hard and finding a dream job or a very specialized one outside of where any of you are based are also tricky and huge sacrifices. Someone will need to sacrifice their career for this to happen. The best advice I haven is to take turns visiting each other and stagger your vacation so that only a few months go by without seeing each other. Also take advantage of things like weeklong Christmas closures to see each other for an extended period of time.
    I won’t lie, it’s not easy, but this is the reality for a lot of expat families and it’s what all my friends from high school do, and typically we’re at least an 8 hour flight away from our families.

  143. Rockin Takin*

    I have a similar situation, and I don’t think there is a way to make everyone happy. You have to decide what your priorities are, and what sacrifices you’re willing to make.

    My husband is from Asia. His parents and the majority of his family still live in his home country. My family is from the midwest, and we live ~40 min from my parents and 3hrs from my brother.

    My husband’s sister and her husband moved to Australia. They are definitely not going to move back to the home country, and are resolved to stay in Australia.

    My in-laws are very embedded in their community in my husband’s hometown, and have only been outside of Asia 1 time. They haven’t even visited us yet in the states (it’s been over 10 years that my husband has lived here).

    This is a no-win scenario. I doubt his parents would be willing to move here permanently, because it would be so difficult for them to transition to the US. My parents are stuck in the mid-west, and definitely could not live in my husband’s home country due to medical needs. My husband sometimes wants to move back to his home country, and sometimes just wants to move to a US state that is no where near either of our families. I’ve kind of accepted that we will only have vacations that involve visiting family, because we never see anyone otherwise.

  144. ImTherapizingYou*

    This sounds like a tough situation! That being said, it sounds like everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too – to have both their very specific lines of work and all be together. I don’t know if that is possible (without more information) and a choice needs to be made and someone will need to be the one to say “We’re going to move to X to be closer” or “we can’t move because of Y position.” Its a compromise but if nothing changes, then nothing changes and this will all just remain a wish. Letter writer, have you and your spouse had a conversation with you parents and your brother (and his family?) about this and possible solutions? If not, I’d start there. At first blush it sounds like your parents may have more flexibility since they are retiring soon, but then another decision as to where they go once they retire. I’m rambling… the take away is that something needs to change in order for things to change and compromises will need to be made.

  145. BigCityLibrarian*

    My family recently went through some of these decisions after my sister had a baby. Previously, we were scattered around Lake Michigan (Milwaukee, Chicago, rural Michigan) My parents decided to move to Milwaukee for several reasons. The first was to be closer to the baby. My sister was 38 when she had him, and my parents are in their 70’s so they wanted as much time as possible with him. Secondly, after caring for my grandmother as she aged into her 90’s my parents were very realistic about what responsibilities my sister and I would eventually face and wanted to minimize as much of that as they could. By moving closer to us while they could still do it all themselves, we don’t have to face the prospect of managing a health crisis from hours away or trying to move them ourselves. My parents did have to leave family and friends (they still lived near their hometown) but a lot of their friends were making similar moves, and quite frankly, it was more important for them to be near daughters and grandson than anyone else. We were very lucky that my sister and I already only lived a 1.5 hour car trip away though. I can make it to visit them once month with no hassles.

  146. Rose*

    Take this to the bank: ALL senior adults need to be physically close to a RESPONSIBLE/ENGAGED adult child (or at the very least responsible/engaged relative if they have no children). Because you & your husband are working, your parents need to relocate near you. Maybe not immediately, but BEFORE they start having health issues. Of course they will miss their friends, but as harsh as it sounds, the friends will start to die off, have health issues and move away too. If they have health issues as they inevitably will, they aren’t going to be able to support your senior parents’ journey – doctors appointments, becoming less mobile, etc …

    As for your brother, I have no advice.

  147. Ralph Wiggum*

    I find this question fascinating in the context of David Brook’s recent Atlantic article “The Nuclear Family was a Mistake.” Between cultural changes and aging baby boomers, I imagine extended families will be trying to move near each other more and more in the next few years.

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