7 Midlife Scenarios That Can Herald a Move


Midlife is a time that invites us to pause and reflect on what we’ve done so far, to re-examine and re-evaluate our life’s purpose and passions, and decide how we want to spend the years ahead.

An important part of this exploration is to examine whether where you live and who you surround yourself with are in harmony with the vision you have for your life. In other words, does what’s on the outside align with what’s on the inside?

If the answer is “no,” then moving to a place that’s more suited to you and the lifestyle you want makes a lot of sense.

Often, a significant life event is what sets us off on this introspective journey. Other times, the causes are more circumstantial. I’ve combined both to come up with this list of 7 midlife scenarios that can herald a move.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Your kids have left the nest.

Your relationship to where you live can change once your kids leave home. Maybe you chose the house and location for your kids and, now that they’ve moved out, you want to move someplace new and different. You may want to downsize, so that you can declutter and free up your money for other priorities. Or, if downsizing isn’t your bag, you may opt to kick things up a notch and upsize. If you’re an empty nester – or soon to become one – and you want to a move someplace new, you’re in good company! According to a recent survey commissioned by AARP, one in ten empty nesters moves to a new city or town.

You want to make a career change.

Not everyone wants to stay in the same career forever. When you hit a career wall in midlife, you still have plenty of time to start a new career or business that brings meaning to your life. This is especially true considering the growing number of people who are postponing retirement. Adults over 45 are more likely to become first-time entrepreneurs than are adults under 45. With predictions that 50% of the labor force will be freelance by 2027, self-employment is another option for midlifers. Of the 59% of adults over age 45 who freelance, the majority are women. This midlife shift to freelancing and entrepreneurship opens up endless possibilities for moving to the location of your dreams – because you now have the freedom and flexibility to live and work wherever you want!

You’re single and footloose.

Marriage does not carry the same cachet that it once did. One in five mid-lifers are single either by choice or because of divorce. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate has doubled over the last 25 years among U.S. adults over 50. In midlife, it’s common to re-examine close relationships, including friendships. If your relationships are in flux and you feel like the social and dating opportunities leave something to be desired where you live, you may want to move someplace that’s more socially-compatible.

You’re caregiving an aging parent.

By the time you reach midlife, odds are you’re caring for an aging parent. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, 70% of parent caregivers are 50-64 years old and more than three-quarters are women. Most caregivers live in the same city as their parent, but the number of long-distance caregivers is growing. Almost half of long-distance caregivers are women. If you want to live closer to your parent, but don’t want to move to their city or town, you could still move to a location that’s within a reasonable distance from them that has more of the qualities you’re looking for.

You’re grieving the loss of a loved one.

The death of a family member, spouse, or close friend can be a catalyst for change in midlife. The experience of losing a loved one can act as a wake-up call, leading you to examine how happy you are with your own life and whether or not you want to make some changes. Starting over in a new place may be one of the changes you decide you want to make.

You’re becoming a grandparent.

Given that seven in ten adults will become grandparents and the average age for a woman to become a grandparent is 50, it’s likely you’re either already a grandparent or will become one. Statista reports that 43% of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their grandchildren, and one in five lives 10 miles or less from their grandchildren. Whether you decide you want to live in the same place as your grandchildren or just closer than where you live now, a move may be in your cards.

You want to change your surroundings.

It could be your reasons for wanting to move someplace new in midlife are more visceral. Maybe you don’t feel a connection to where you live, or you’re tired of dealing with crappy weather, or you long to be closer to the ocean or the mountains. Sometimes, you just know intuitively when it’s time for a change.

Should you move now?

Moving is a huge deal. You want to feel confident you’re making the right decision. Ready, Set… Move? is a unique decision-making tool that, along with one-on-one consulting/coaching support, provides you with everything you need to figure out if it’s time to move, or to stay, so you can take decisive action. Learn more about Ready, Set… Move? here.

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About the Author

I founded Your Place Finder in 2017 to help retirees and almost retirees like you anticipate and overcome the pitfalls and challenges – and reap the rich rewards – of finding the perfect location to move for retirement.


  1. Crystal Bisor on Sep 30, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you for a great article..I will be moving as an empty nester at age of 39 ready and scared at same time!

    • Margaret on Oct 1, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Crystal! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Congratulations on moving out of your empty nest; I’m excited for you! Yes, it’s scary and thrilling at the same time. If you’re unsure where you’re moving to, I’d love to help you figure that out! Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Maria on Nov 19, 2022 at 4:03 am

    Hi Margaret.

    I have only been in my home for 2 years, but lately I have had this urge to move. We are newly empty nesters and I just don’t have a sense of connection or belonging here. I’m not even sure where to begin.

    • Margaret on Nov 19, 2022 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Maria, thanks so much for reaching out! As a first step, I recommend taking time to identfy what it is exactly about where you currently are living that is leaving you with this lack of connection or belonging. What has changed? Has the place changed? Have you changed? It’s helpful to try to put your finger on the specifics if you can. Make a list. That will tell you what you need to be sure to look for in a new location. This is an important part of the work I do with my clients. Give this strategy a try and let me know how it goes or if you have more questions. Thanks again for reading my post and for reaching out. Here’s to loving where you live! Margaret

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