The Benefits of Multi-Generational Living (And How to Do it Successfully)
Multi-generational living is on the rise. In fact, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center, a whopping 64 million Americans currently live in multi-generational households, sharing their homes with parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and more.
In total, about one in five households is multigenerational.
It’s no wonder why, either. With home prices rising over the last few years, multi-generational living has offered a welcome way to split housing costs and reduce living expenses for all involved. But those aren’t the only benefits.
Multi-generational living can also:
- Reduce housing responsibilities. You don’t have to handle the cleaning, mowing, maintenance, and upkeep all on your own. You have trusted family members to step in and share the burden.
- Create stronger family relationships. Most adults only see their family members on holidays or special occasions. With a multi-generational household, you’re a part of your loved ones’ daily lives.
- Improve your home’s safety. Multi-generational households are rarely left unoccupied, and at least one person is almost always home. This reduces the chance of break-ins and burglaries and helps increase security on the property.
- Offer better elder and childcare. For the young and the old, multi-generational living has major perks. For one, someone’s always home. On top of this, there’s a whole wealth of caring experience to pull from.
Multi-generational living also cuts down on overall stress. By sharing the workload of the home, as well as spreading caregiving tasks amongst other family members, everyone enjoys a lighter load as a result.
Making Multi-Generational Living Work
Still, despite its advantages, multi-generational living isn’t perfect — nor easy. If you’re planning on moving in with family members, you’ll probably encounter some challenges along the way.
Here are some tips to help:
- Create private areas for each family member. No matter how much you love each other, you all need space once in a while. Even if it’s a small reading nook under the stairs or an office in a converted closet, make personal, divided space for everyone. It can make all the difference when times get tough.
- Dole out duties and set expectations. In a multi-generational household, everyone needs to pull their weight. Your 10-year-old might not be able to do much, but he can definitely take out the recycling, feed the dog, and help put dishes in the dishwasher. And your elderly parents? They can help with watching the kiddos after school or running the laundry. Have a schedule or chore chart to help everyone stay on track.
- Have regular family meetings. If you want to avoid major conflicts, then it’s important to talk issues through early — before they can grow and fester. Family meetings help ensure you’re all on the same page and that you each have an opportunity to voice your concerns on a regular basis.
- Establish financial boundaries. Don’t let money come between you. Clearly establish who pays for what and when exactly it’s due. You should also set up a step-by-step process for paying the rent, mortgage, utilities, and other bills.
- Respect each other’s privacy. Good personal boundaries are critical when living in a multi-generational household. Make sure to knock before entering a bedroom or private area, and recognize your family members’ needs for alone time. The more respect you give, the more you’ll get back in return.
- Create family traditions. Living with your loved ones doesn’t have to be just a logistical move. You can also make it fun. Come up with family traditions and rituals that everyone can enjoy. Start a monthly pizza and game night, or rent a movie once a week with just the five of you. Make it a point not just to tolerate each other’s company, but actually enjoy it.
- Be adaptable. You’re not going to get it right on the first go-around, so be flexible in your house rules, routines, and responsibilities. Use your family meetings as a chance to revise your approach as needed.
- Monitor your expenses and budget. Multi-generational living requires careful budgeting and serious financial transparency. For one, the constant presence of someone at home often means higher electrical, water, and utility bills — and it’s important to monitor these costs so you can budget for them (and even work to reduce them). Additionally, the costs are being spread across several incomes and bank accounts, and everyone needs to pull their weight. If one member of the household spends half their check eating out, it will affect everyone involved. Make sure there’s accountability for everyone to chip in their fair share.
The bottom line is simple: Multi-generational living has major perks, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Though it can save you money and hassle sharing a home with loved ones, you should also be prepared to put in the work — both personally and around the house — if you want things to go smoothly.
Are you interested in buying a house with your family? Contact an Embrace loan officer to learn more.