Living With an Extended Family
Could You Share a House with Your Adult Kids and Their Kids?
Some baby boomers may be downsizing for retirement, but others are simply moving in with family. Actually, it is more likely that they are letting family members move in with them. Adult children are deciding to move back to the family home, and sometimes they even bring spouses and their own children. Would you consider intergenerational housing in order to help you and other family members save money?
According to an AARP article, multigenerational housing is probably back. Having multiple generations of families living together, or very close buy, was probably normal in most of societies through most of human history. The US became very mobile and families spread out, but may it is a good thing that they are contracting again.
Consider some data about multigenerational housing from the US Census:
- About 51 million Americans live in a home with more than one adult member of a different generation.
- The number of people who lived with at least two adult generations increased by 10 percent between 2007 and 2009.
- A recent study reported that about a third of adult children expect to share a home with at least one parent eventually.
The situation can work out well for both adult children and their older parents if it is managed well. Most “boomerangs,” or adult children who move back home were satisfied with their living arrangements. Almost half of them paid their parents some rent and almost all of them helped out around the house. Additionally, the majority of both adult children and older parents said that the situation helped stretch finances, helped with bonding, and even helped with care of either young children or elderly parents.
Some new home builders are even getting on board by designing new houses with two master suites instead of just one. They also add flexible space and rooms that can be converted to dens or bedrooms as needs change.
In an increasing number of cases, multiple generations are buying houses together. But in most cases, adult children come back to live in the home that they grew up in. Families are still finding ways to convert unused dens or formal dining rooms into extra bedrooms.
Is There Friction in Multigenerational Homes?
Not everybody’s situation is idyllic bliss. It can be hard for older parents to realize that their children are adults or even parents themselves when they still live in the same house. Some adult children may move back into their parent’s home and revert to teenage irresponsibility when it comes time to pay rent or do the dishes. Some grown children with their own kids resent their parents for intruding on their child raising. Additionally, everybody has to give up some privacy and family needs may intrude upon time for work or play.
This is some advice about ways to manage living with multiple generations under the same roof:
- Plan ahead, set boundaries, and keep lines of communication open.
- Organize shared expenses and housekeeping duties.
- Use space wisely to give everybody space.
- Try to go with the flow and adapt.
Some families benefit from sharing their home with adult members of other generations. Grandparents and grandchildren get a chance to bond, and it can help members of each generation stick to a budget. It isn’t the right solution for every family though.