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Do Family and Friends Play a Part in Your Plans?
Written By : Dee Cascio 
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The Challenge of Keeping in Touch

Finances and the decision to either cease working or recareer seem to be at the top of most people's list when it comes to planning for retirement. However, the true constant in most of our lives, especially as we age, is a sense of family, friends and community. Many of us look to our families for support, whether it is our own immediate and extended family or our family of choice. As you ponder your retirement decision, are you considering the significance that family and friends play in your life? Are you planning to stay connected physically or can you honestly say proximity to friends and family is not that important to you?

Even though we have access to numerous forms of communication like cell phones, social media, e-mail, and Skype, we still need that personal, face-to-face connection. In spite of all the modern ways we stay in touch with loved ones, you can't play with your grandchild once a week when you live hundreds of miles away. You aren't able to have spontaneous, drop-in visits with friends and family. A virtual hug is never the same.

Is This Too Much Togetherness?

On the other side of the continuum, there are those parents who retire to where their children live. Sometimes this is the choice of retiring parents and sometimes it is at the request of the adult children. No matter who is initiating this move, each family should maintain some level of autonomy with healthy boundaries while interacting with and supporting each other. If a retiring couple needs medical support, being closer to their adult children could bring much more peace of mind for everyone.

We know the old saying that "it takes a village" when we're raising children. In today's world, so many of us are growing up without extended families that offer that kind of built-in support. Our Boomer generation, more than any other, has been called the sandwich generation because many of us are still raising our children while providing caregiving for aging parents. Where is the healthy balance if you are the filling in this sandwich? What is going to be best for you and your family as you make this important decision about your retirement lifestyle? Remember, the new concept of retirement defines this life stage as a Retirement Career. This transition requires the same thoughtful process that you would use if you were relocating to a new job.

Talk with your partner about how close you each want to be to family and friends. Invite your adult children and other family members to voice their opinions without letting their expectations dictate your retirement plans. Plan for connectedness just as you plan for financial security in your retirement years.

Find out more about: retirement
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