Move near family. . .or to where it's affordable?


We are considering a move closer to family. Unfortunately, they all live in expensive, well populated areas. How important is it for the kids to be near aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas if they have loving parents?

We moved away to raise a family in a smaller, affordable town, but now, my wife is getting lonely. I, however, like my work and the environment.

Don’t know what to do. Any personal wisdom is appreciated.

God Bless.

(Not exactly a “Catholic” question, but always appreciate the Catholic wisdom!)


*Well, in our case, we are looking to move to where it's more affordable. We live near family and it's nice and all, don't get me wrong, but the financial costs involved to live where we do is really breaking us. :o

I don't really have any advice. Family is important, I do believe that. BUT I also believe that in our case (my DH and I) having DH home more would be the most important thing in my kids lives. Right now he works 2 jobs just to make ends meet and we're praying that if we move to where housing (among other things) costs less, that we can make it on one income. :shrug: We've been looking into this for years and are just now getting more serious about it. *


My husband and I decided it was more important to live someplace that is affordable. We've been happy with the decision even though I do miss my family of origin a lot! When finances are tight everyone is on edge and it is hard to have a happy family, not impossible, but hard!


If they are family worth moving nearer too, they will pitch in the help compinsation for your living expenses, especially carrying some of the costs incurred raising your kids. If they cannot because they are impoverished, yet their hearts are in the right place, a little sacrifice wouldn’t hurt your fiscal element, kids and adults alike, benifet far greater from the simpler things then the grandios expensive ones. If they refuse to help out and are well off and you are expected to sacrifice just to keep up with them, then I’d stay put where you are at, chances are higher that your kids will have better positive roll models and people they are around, growing up by far then being in a situation where the status quo “of which you will only barely keep up with” reigns supreme.


We used to contemplate moving to a cheaper area too. We decided to stay near family. There were many reasons: First, we thought that my parents and dh’s parents would not live forever. It would break my heart to not see them often during their final years. I could continue making many new memories with them. Second, I wanted my children to have years of memories with their grandparents as well. Third, living near family provided free and worry-free babysitting. Fourth, grandparents can go to my kids’ concerts, award ceremonies, etc.

To us, if it meant living in a small small home and having family around, that’s what we would do as long as we possibly could.


If you can afford it then I don’t see a problem.

If it means you have riskier long-term employment prospects, would have to spend more time away from your family (e.g. a second job or work related travel), or if your wife would have to spend less time with the family (e.g. get a job, second job, etc.) THEN this is a bad idea. That would result in less time with your immediate family which is your primary responsibility.

Alternatively, how about visiting your family more often. How about them visiting you more often. How about speaking more often with them on the phone. How about using video chats and other technology?

If this is primarily about your wife’s loneliness and not family per se, how about her getting more involved with Church, sports (such as tennis), charity, etc.?


Thank you all for your posts. I really value what you have to say.

Thank you!


That’s how I feel but we’ve never that kind of help. In fact mom wrote us out of her will. So it just depends on the family. So we’ve been on our own for 2 decades and me for even longer since I moved out of my grandparents apartment.


To the OP, how far away do you live from family? Does it prohibit you from visiting on a regular basis? Is your wife involved in activities at your parish or in the community?

I do believe family is important, BUT I think you also have to make an effort to become involved in life wherever you live and not depend on just your family to fulfill your social needs.

If your extended family lives in much more expensive neighborhoods, how much are you also buying into the whole “keeping up with the Jones” as well? What kind of message would you be sending your kids? What would you be gaining, besides being close to family, and what would you be sacrificing if you move from your current neighborhood?


One part of living near family is that family supports each other. Maybe you can share a house? Put a mobile home on family land? Save $$ on daycare costs?


Can you have relatives visit with more frequency?
How far is far?
Are all our relatives located in the same town?
Will you have to change jobs or face a longer commute?

It sounds like you’re happy with your town. That means alot.

If the relatives are 30 minutes to an hour away get a minivan and get used to driving. Or take mass triansit where available. It’s a day trip. If there farther away, say by states then can you look into cheaper places to live? For instance, I live in New England. Boston and NYC are EXPENSIVE cities to live in or around, driving up realestate on Conniticut, RI and Long Island. However, when it comes to NYC you can find cheaper towns in NY…duchess county…that can be quite affordable. When it comes to Boston you can contribute to the urban sprawl. The T takes you out to Framingham, Lowell, Fitchburg, Haverill, Rockport, Providence (RI) Norfolk, Plymouth and Greenville (all with varying degrees of affordable living)

Sometimes, finding the right place is a matter of time and patience.


We moved away from family in Northern Illinois right after we married. My husband was recruited into an international company and sent to North Carolina, and we were glad. We wanted to establish our own home and family without family interference. We both had some difficulties with our families growing up, and we wanted a fresh start.

Our two daughters were born in North Carolina. We loved it there.

But we missed grandparents and parents.

By then, we had been married several years and were solidly established in our marriage and parenting style. We felt that we would not cave in if the family made excessive demands or was critical of us.

So when the opportunity arose to move back to Northern Illinois, we took it.

Yes, we saved some money by moving home. Those 1000 mile drives home every summer were expensive. And as grandparents got older, sicker, and eventually died, we would have been travelling back and forth to say goodbye to them and attend their funerals.

I agree with the "free babysitting." We usually preferred teenaged sitters to our parents, but every once in a while, we did drop the girls off at Grandma and Grandpa's house It was nice.

We were lucky that our city in Northern Illinois has some of the cheapest homes in the entire country, so our house was cheaper than what we had in North Carolina, even though our property taxes are three times as much.

But--one thing that we failed to consider that cost us a FORTUNE--we failed to correctly assess the situation with the schools in our city. Oh, my, do we ever regret this!

When we first thought about moving back, we read about a pending lawsuit with the public schools in our city, but we ignored it, thinking that it was just some little blip.

Boy, were we ever wrong! It turned into a major deseg/discrimination lawsuit that put our public schools in so much debt that they will probably never recover. More importantly, the lawsuit and all the social experimenting that resulted from the lawsuit resulted in massive departure from the public schools by all the intelligent middle-class people in the city. Several private schools that had limped along for decades suddenly swelled and had to build new buildings to accomodate the hundreds of new applicants, and of course, this meant increased tuition at these schools. Several thousand children in our city of 150,000 are homeschooled.

We ended up sending our children to an expensive (ten thousand dollars a year tuition per child, more in high school) private prep school. It was and is the best school in the city, and we know that because our daughters tried some of other private religious schools and discovered that the prep school was several YEARS ahead of these religious schools.

We and our daughters loved the school, but oh, golly molly, it was expensive, and my husband and I saved nothing during those years of paying tuition. We had nothing saved for college, and we have virtually nothing saved for retirement. Our home is in sad need of repairs and we have no money and we don't have time to do it ourselves as we both work full-time plus call to try to pay off all the debts that we've incurred since moving home.

*So my advice to you is to scrupulously examine the school situation in whatever town you are considering moving to. If the public schools are a mess, then DO NOT MOVE THERE! * Even if you don't plan to send your children to public schools, I can tell you that tuition at the private or parochial schools will be more expensive because of the demand that exists for spots in those school due to a bad public school situation.

Another regret that my husband and I have about moving home has to do with our children's sport, figure skating. It's kind of involved for those of you who know nothing about figure skating. I'll try to simplify it, and perhaps the principle applies to other sports and recreational activities that your children might be involved with.

There are two "pathways" to figure skating in the U.S.---Competitive and Recreational. Competitive is much more expensive.

We moved to a city in Northern Illinois that did not offer Recreational figure skating opportunities. It was all about Competitive figure skating. So we ended up paying a lot more because our children had to do the Competitive skating and we had to pay for the Recreational skating separately. (This is a gross simplification.) We also faced a lot of scorn because we actually wanted our children to do recreational skating, and we led a lot of other parents into recreational skating! There was always a controversy and often, we were right in the thick of it. This caused strife, grief, headaches, stomachaches, sleepless nights, and lots of tears. Skating is without doubt one of the most political sports in the country!

When it comes to synchronized skating, our family's passion, our city was anti-synchro. The coaches actually told students that they wouldn't coach them if they got involved with synchronized skating. Grrrr! So for seven years, we ended up commuting 65 miles one way into Chicago so our daughters could skate on a team. This was not cheap. And once again, there was still more controversy as I worked feverishly to try to get synchronized skating established in our city so that future children would not have to commute to enjoy this wonderful sport.

*So here's my other suggestion to you--examine scrupulously whatever hobbies/sports/arts/parks, etc. are available in the city that you are considering moving to and make sure these things are available on YOUR TERMS. * Of course, recreational pursuits are not vital to your happiness and family joy, but they sure are nice!


30 years old, bachelor here-I love my parents, sister, and nieces and nephews more than anything, and I live about 45 minutes away from them. I talk to all of them often, in particular my dad-easily once a day through email, phone, etc.

I strongly think that we need to develop and live our own life-live apart from them, be ourselves, etc. No, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with people who don’t do this, I don’t think any less of them, it’s just, in my opinion, not the best thing to do. Most of my friends live like i do-they love their families, just live away from them. Same with the women I’ve dated-very independent.

Again, just my thougthts.


Thanks again for the responses.

We live 12 hours away from the majority of our family who live within a 1.5 hour radius! That means, to visit we usually have a two day drive their and two back.

Therefore, we cannot really visit more frequently.

To move, I would have to change job locations but not jobs. Unfortunately, it would probably not be as nice a work environment as i have now. I have it really good at my job currently.

We could afford to move, but only to rent. no buying for us.

The wife is pretty involved in the community, but for her it’s not the same. Christmas and Thanksgiving, Lent, etc. can all be fairly lonely for her. We have some very dear friends here and have established a good life. But, we ask, if something terrible were to happen, such as losing a family member, spouse, etc. what would we do and where would we go?
The answer is invariably “go home” , i.e., back to where our family is located.


I wouldn’t condemn yourself to renting just yet.

Buy a big map. Note on it your realtives. Then draw a radius from them. Use Google maps or other things to determine the towns that would work. Sometimes you can find a small, underrated town. I think the only exception would be in Flordia/Georgia if your family lived in the middle of Flordia. Or southern Cali, as there really isn’t much in Nevada. Otherwise, some research is in order.

If you were 2 hours away things would still be easier on your wife. You don’t need to be next door.

In the end it comes down to happiness. I choose to live on coastal New England. My parents are about 5ish hours away. My brother is moving to 21 hours away to be in a place where his wife can be employeed and employment is easier for him. Eventually, however, they hope to be in X state which will be 9-10 hours.

They like that way of life. I, too, understand their feelings. I LIKE living near Coastal New England. I couldn’t ever move back inland without a killing a bit of my heart. Also there’s a poster on here (who hasn’t commented) who moved for a job and closer to a realitive. She misses the state that she came from dearly.


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