Life is filled with tradeoffs. The unfortunate tradeoff for a long, successful career can be less time for other things, including your family. Before you know it, your kids are adult children with their own careers and obligations.
That can be the irony of retirement: you earn the luxury of time but no longer have the things, or people, you want to spend it with.
This speaks to the importance of a financial plan. When you have a plan for the future, you can have more control over how you spend your time – and with whom – in the present.
But, what do you do if your children move far away? If you live in the Midwest, like many of our clients do, this is a real possibility. For instance, Michigan has more college graduates moving out of than moving into the state. And Illinois, including the city of Chicago, continues to see a sharp decline in population.
However, there are many ways to keep in touch with your adult children if they do not live nearby. They can also help you strengthen your relationship with them – and may be even make up for some lost time.
Schedule time to FaceTime or Skype
Instead of just speaking to each other, video chat applications such as FaceTime and Skype let you have a more immersive experience. It’s as if you’re speaking to each other from different rooms but still under the same roof.
These apps are available on any computer device. FaceTime is already preprogrammed on many smartphones. Be sure to schedule a weekly time so you don’t drop in at a bad time and so you can resolve any time-zone conflicts.
Create a blog
With a blog, you can share detailed stories about recent experiences – say, a vacation overseas – with your family. Write about anything you’d want your children to know, whether it’s how to change a car headlight, the importance of saving for retirement or the meaning of life.
A blog has many benefits. It can help you avoid having to tell the same story a hundred times as well as avoid forgetting key details you may otherwise forget while talking over the phone. It allows your children to get to intimately know you and your thoughts and learn more about their ancestors. Others can contribute and share their sides of each story. And, most important, all of it is preserved for as long as the site stays live so people can read it at their leisure.
Follow each other on social media
Social media is a convenient way to keep tabs on your children as well as for them to keep tabs on yours. Sites such as Facebook and Instagram let you interact on your own time. Share photos, videos, news articles and updates, and get important birthday reminders.
Thankfully, the myth that older adults aren’t online or don’t use social media has been debunked. Even among adults 65 and older, 71% go online daily and about half of those online use social media, according to the Pew Research Center.
Start a book club
A both creative and enriching way to stay in touch is to start a book club. Send your children the latest book you’ve read or one you highly recommend. You can even write personal notes in the margins. This creates an interesting topic of discussion as you both share what you liked or didn’t like about a particular book and talk about what you’ve learned.
Pen an old fashioned letter
In a time when cursive is no longer taught in schools, a physical letter written by your own hand is bound to stand out. For the time, effort and personalization that goes into a letter, your adult children will likely find it much more meaningful than electronic communication. You won’t be just writing a letter but creating a keepsake.
Play virtual games
A fun and exciting way to connect and create some memories is with a little competition. There are nearly countless games available online, from checkers to Candy Crush, so you can play against each other anytime, from anywhere and on any device. If you’re sports fans, consider even creating a fantasy sports league for the whole family.
Speak with an Advance Capital adviser who can help create a comprehensive financial plan for all your financial goals – no cost, no obligation. Fill out the contact form here or call 800-345-4783.