No need to take that trip to grandma’s house — she may be coming to you.
A quarter of baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, will use retirement as an excuse to move closer to their grandchildren, according to Meyers Research. Some are even willing to move across state lines.
Meyers, which tracks the real estate industry, followed baby boomer and millennial migration patterns to create the “Meyers Baby Chaser Index” and found Charlotte, N.C., Austin, Texas, Raleigh, N.C., Nashville, Tenn., and Dallas were the top real estate markets for these generations. The firm looked at both generations because millennials will likely move to find a suitable job before settling down, and baby boomers looking to be near their current or future grandchildren will often follow, said Ali Wolf, director of economic research at Meyers. “As the digital age has grown, we have this pull-back to human interaction with who matters most in our lives,” she said.
Grandparents making the move to be closer to their grandchildren also try to check off a few more boxes for their new residence, like an appropriately-sized house, fun activities nearby and a budget-friendly town.
Many grandparents are looking to downsize, but not to a home that’s too small. On average, baby boomers opt for a space under 2,500 square feet, according to Meyers.
More than a third of baby boomers said they intended to move at some point in their lives, and 42% said they’d choose a smaller home, according to a 2017 report from the Demand Institute, operated by research groups Nielsen and The Conference Board. But baby boomers are also looking for homes with larger living areas, spare bedrooms or outdoor space for their grandchildren to enjoy, Meyers noted.
Older Americans may also be chasing tax benefits, including low or no state and local income taxes. Studies are regularly released analyzing the best states for retirees to live, and they often include a section dedicated specifically to taxes. New Mexico was recently listed as a top state to move to in retirement because of its lower-than-average cost of living and some of the lowest property taxes in the U.S.
(MarketWatch also has a tool to help retirees choose their next neighborhood).
Of course not everyone relocates in retirement for their grandchildren. Some choose to stay put. And some choose to move abroad, not only for the new experiences but the lower cost of living. Making such a move doesn’t necessarily mean disregarding time with family, especially as more digital tools are available, said Edd and Cynthia Staton, a retired couple now living in Ecuador who created a program to help potential expatriates find a new destination to live in abroad. Video chats are easy, especially when retirees move abroad to cities in perhaps different countries but the same time zone.